What figured to be a defensive slogathon, was anything but, on Monday Night Football. The Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills are both in possession powerful and intimidating defenses, and with the struggles of the Seahawks’ offense in particular, a low scoring game was expected. As is often the case in football, the match didn’t turn out that way, with the Seahawks surviving 31-25.
For the first time all season, Russell Wilson looked healthy and his movement and confidence inside the pocket suggested that he was. On the other side, Tyrod Taylor and offensive co-ordinator, Anthony Lynn utilized various running formations, using unbalanced lines and multiple back sets to keep the Seahawks pass rush at bay and the run defense on its toes.
The Bills’ struck first, blocking a Jon Ryan punt on the first drive of the game, that lead to a Tyrod Taylor touchdown only minutes later for a 7-0 lead.
Any concerns about Russell Wilson’s mobility and arm were disregarded as he responded equally quickly, with a deep strike to Doug Baldwin, followed by play action fake that he carried into the endzone.
Buffalo responded well however, putting together a meticulous and complimentary drive, that featured LeSean McCoy’s outrageous lateral movement skills. Taylor missed a wide open Woods in the endzone on a broken play, but made up for it a few plays later when he connected with Justin Hunter on 3rd and goal to make it 14-7 Buffalo.
At this point former Saints tight end Jimmy Graham took over the game. There was genuine concern for Graham’s future after he suffered a serious season ending patella injury last year. But those fears amounted to nothing, as Graham turned in his best game in Seahawks colors. Graham’s box score of, 8 catches for 103 and 2 touchdowns doesn’t really indicate just how brilliant he was. On the first play of the second quarter Graham went up in the right corner of the endzone and made a simply spectacular one-handed grab, despite clear pass interference from the Bills defender.
He backed up that stunning snare with a second at the end of the half, practically taking the game away the Bills then and there.
Not to be outshone, Tyrod Taylor took his offense back down the field into Seattle’s redzone. But this time the Seahawks defense rose to the occasion, with a Frank Clark sack forcing the Bills to settle for a field goal.
The main feature of the Bills’ offense on these scoring drives was a healthy LeSean McCoy, whose cutting acceleration prowess are as sensational as ever. On one occasion McCoy faced Richard Sherman on the edge, and he simply ran round the All-Pro cornerback for the first down.
After a scoreless 3rd quarter, a Steven Hauscha field goal, a Dan Carpenter field goal and a Mike Gillesee touchdown (with a failed two-point conversion) sent the score to 31-25, to set up a thrilling finish.
Tyrod Taylor played one hell of a game, but now with 2 minutes on the clock he needed one last touchdown drive. On 3rd and 21 from inside his own half, hope appeared bleak as he wheeled out of the pocket, but then remarkably he somehow found Robert Woods just beyond the 1st down markers, with an incredible throw (and equally incredible catch).
Several plays later with only 20 seconds on the clock, and on 4th down, Taylor once again wheeled out to the left of the pocket searching desperately for an open receiver in the endzone. He found one. But before he could connect ball to receiver, the Seahawks’ brilliant safety, Earl Thomas made a diving play to save the day and send the Bills home with a tough loss.