On Sunday afternoon in Buffalo there was a role reversal of the most extreme proportions, because it was the Buffalo Bills who looked like the playoff regulars while the Seahawks looked like the team without a clue on offense. For Bills fans it was a nice change of pace, for Seahawks fans not so much. The only thing that looked familiar to the Seattle fans was the steady rain in the first half, as it reminded viewers of Seattle weather in the fall.
Bills fans leave the game very optimistic about their team, especially with the news of Tom Brady’s injury. The Bills have gone from potential wild card contenders to actual contenders to win the division. On the other side of the country Seattle fans are acting out the famous movie about their city, “Sleepless in Seattle”, as there is no way they can sleep after this opening day flop.
When you view two stats that often tell the tale of a game it looks like the game was pretty even, as the time of possession was very close and Seattle actually had three more first downs. Unfortunately for Seattle 7 of those first downs came in garbage time in the 4th quarter after the game had been decided.
Buffalo’s revamped defense was stout all day. Even after the Bills went in prevent mode in the 4th quarter Seattle managed only 252 yards on the day. They ran for only 85 yards, with Julius Jones the leader in that category with 45 yards on 13 carries. The normally dependable Matt Hasselback had a miserable day, completing only 17 of his 41 passes for 190 yards and 1 TD to go along with 1 interception.
A good share of the yards were in garbage time, as Hasselback was out of sync with his receivers all day. In his defense the only name that was recognizable amongst the receivers was Nate Burleson, and he was injured for the game in the 2nd half. Without Deion Branch, Bobby Engram, and Burleson the Seahawks were using their 5th and 6th receivers, and it showed.
The Bills on the other hand had a very efficient day. Trend Edwards completed 19 of 30 passes for 215 yards and 1TD. Marshawn Lynch had 18 carries for 76 yards including a 21 yard TD run in the first quarter that put the Bills on the board. Lee Evans had 4 catches for 102 yards, proving that Trent Edwards can throw the deep ball, and the tight-end made an appearance as Robert Royal caught 6 balls for 52 yards and a TD.
After the Lynch TD run in the 1st quarter the Bills special teams unit took over, as Robert Parrish returned a punt 63 yards for a TD in the 2nd quarter. From a blimp he must have looked like human pinball, as he spun and bounced all over the field before he finally hit paydirt. The Seahawks rebounded by having their only reasonably decent drive capped off by a 20 yard Nate Burleson TD. The Bills closed out the 2nd quarter scoring with 2 FG’s as the Bills went into the locker room with a 20-7 halftime lead.
In the 3rd quarter the Seahawks started the scoring with a 45 yard field goal to pull the Seahawks within 10 points, but in a matter of seconds the game was virtually over. Seattle was looking alright as they had forced the Bills into a 4th down situation, but the Bills proved once again that they are not afraid to run a risky trick play with their special teams. As the Bills lined up for a FG Ryan Denney snuck to the sideline, and as Brian Moorman (who is the master of Special Teams trick plays) took the snap he immediately through a 19 yard TD pass to Denney. On the ensuing kick-off the Seahawks fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Rian Lindell. The Bills offense took the field and Edwards through an immediate 30 yard strike to Robert Royal for a TD, and that was essentially game, set, match as the Bills suddenly lead 34-10. For the rest of the game and all through the 4th quarter the Bills tried to run out the clock while the Seahawks tried to unsuccessfully walk away with some dignity. Mike Holmgren’s face said it all, as he looked like he wished he decided not to return for one last season.
In the end it was a great day for Bills fan as they hope this is the start of a season in which the playoff drought will come to an end, while the Seahawks go home wondering if they’ll visit the end of year tournament that they’re accustomed to participating in.