Monday, January 22, 2018

Buffalo Bills vs Seattle Seahawks Week 9 Recap

bills-seahawks

Under the bright lights of Monday Night Football, the Seattle Seahawks’ faithful never seemed more loud. It took every single down for the ‘Hawks to pull out the win, and it would be hard to argue that the crowd noise was not a factor.

And man, what a game it was. 

Photo Credit: Seahawks.com

The Seahawks, coming off of an extremely close loss to the New Orleans Saints and two weeks removed from that peculiar tie game against the Arizona Cardinals, were at home for the first time in three weeks and the home crowd definitely energized them, especially on the defensive end.

On the menu for the night was the Buffalo Bills, featuring LeSean McCoy at tailback and Tyrod Taylor taking the snaps, with the uncouth Rex Ryan at head coach playing opposite of the affable Pete Carroll. 

On the first drive of the game, Seattle was forced to punt 75 seconds in, and on the kick Jon Ryan was painfully blocked as the ball rolled out of bounds at the Seattle three-yard line. Four seconds later, Tyrod Taylor strolled into the end zone to give Buffalo their easiest touchdown of the year, and a surprising 7-0 lead after a minute and a half of game play.

It was a very disappointing start for the home team, one of those beginnings that usually sucks the life out of the crowd, setting the pace for the rest of the game. The Bills were traveling from the opposite side of the coast, and were no doubt giving it their all knowing that they had a tough Seattle team to play against in the toughest stadium in the league.

Yet, despite the early setback and the hill they would soon have to climb, the unflappable Russell Wilson and his crew showed no discouragement and on the next drive opened with a 43-yard kick return from Tyler Lockett to put the Birds in excellent position. Two plays later, Wilson threw his finest pass of the season, a 50-yard bomb to Doug Baldwin on the Buffalo three-yard line. Then, the next play, he ran his finest run of the season, a three-yard touchdown off of play action that completely bamboozled the befuddled Buffalo Bills.

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Photo Credit: Seahawks.com

And all this happened after two and a half minutes of game play.

Tyrod Taylor and the Bills then hogged the ball for ten minutes on their next drive, which calmed the game down from its frenetic start. The ten-minute drive resulted in a Bills touchdown, but since this is SEATTLEITE and not NEW YORKITE we don’t need to get into the specifics of that drive, so let’s talk about Seattle instead.

After some plays for positive yardage, Wilson ended up on the Bills’ 30-yard line and, facing pressure, appeared to throw the ball away. But lo and behold, he knew what he was doing, and instead threw an absolutely perfect pass to Mr. Seaplane, Jimmy Graham, as he extended his right hand and let the ball gently drop in, resulting in yet another one-handed catch for the explosive tight end (his left hand was being held by the defender, and Carroll obviously did not accept the penalty).

After a Bills field goal and a nice Christine Michael touchdown, the Bills punted to Seattle. Wilson completed some passes and then once again threw to Jimmy Graham in the end zone, who decided to show off and catch it with one hand again in a play that looked very similar to his earlier one-handed catch. 

https://twitter.com/NFL/status/795823875095281664

The Bills then missed a field goal to close the half after some shenanigans from Richard Sherman. Rex Ryan and his crew were calling foul on Sherman for running low into the kicker, and all the alpha defensive back could do was shrug it off. Sherman isn’t necessarily one to be trifled with, as he showed the Bills after the half.

Coming out of the locker room, the Bills faced a 17-28 halftime deficit on the road against one of the most dangerous teams in the league. Taylor came out guns blazing, and led Buffalo deep in Seattle territory before suffering a miscommunication with one of his wideouts. Perhaps it was the 12th Man or maybe Taylor was spent, but whatever it was, his pass was to no one in sight except the aforementioned Richard Sherman, who picked the ball off in the end zone and questionably ran it out before being tackled out of bounds in front of Rex Ryan, staring him down in the process. I’m sure they greeted each other and asked how their respective families were.

After a Bills TD and a Seattle field goal, Taylor found himself in the fourth quarter with the ball late and his squad down by six. With 2:41 left in the game, the burgeoning star was in the perfect position for a signature drive, on the road, and against a good team in a hostile environment. After backing up Joe Flacco for four years in Baltimore, it was now Taylor’s time to shine and prove himself as not only a starting quarterback, but a star.

And he played well. If he was at home in Buffalo, there would probably be a different outcome. But he was in Seattle, in a roaring atmosphere, with people screaming at him and a defense ready to rip him limb-from-limb if it would keep him out of the end zone. 

After a sack on second down, he faced a third and long and a defense ready to eat him up. Carroll drew up a blitz. Taylor knew it was coming. Rex Ryan knew it was coming. Everyone knew it was coming, but Taylor stepped up and threw a 22-yard pass to keep it close. Then, some plays later, with Buffalo threatening ten yards away, Taylor got sacked again leaving the game on a 4th and 15, with 20 seconds left.

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Photo Credit: Seahawks.com

The last stand was an ultimate testament to Seattle’s defense. They were in a situation where if they gave up a score, they would surrender the game, a hard fought one which saw the Seahawks claw back after being down by seven after a minute and a half of game play. 

They rushed Taylor, who was forced to sling a pass too early to Robert Woods (who had 162 yards receiving on the night) which fell incomplete. 

Wilson stepped out in the victory formation, and the mighty Seattle Seahawks took the win. Russ looked like himself, for the first time practically all year, as he finished with 282 yards passing and a rushing touchdown. Jimmy Graham made two one-handed catches, because that’s what Jimmy Graham does. Richard Sherman picked off a pass in the end zone, because that’s what Richard Sherman does. And the Seahawks won at home, because that’s what the Seahawks do.

It was a shootout early on, which calmed down in the second half, and was won by Seattle’s defense under the bright lights of Monday Night Football. On one of the most important nights of the year, the Birds were victorious, and hopefully that victory foreshadows THE most important night of the year (tonight, obviously).

The Seahawks travel to Foxborough this Sunday, to take on UGG-wearer Tom Brady and his Patriots during Sunday Night Football. Hopefully, they’ll hand Brady his second loss of the week after the loss he’ll suffer on Tuesday.

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Photo Credit: UGG.com

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