Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 44-34 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at Bills Stadium:
This is strange to say about a team that scored 34 points and gained 419 yards, but it was a rough day for Seattle’s offense. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson turned the ball over four times, throwing two interceptions and also losing two fumbles on strip sacks — two of those turnovers in particular came at soul-crushing moments. The turnovers were caused in large part by the fact that, according to the television broadcast, Wilson was knocked down 16 times, the most times any quarterback has been knocked down in a game this season. Seattle was able to create some quick-strike touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but TDs scored in the waning moments when trailing by three scores have to be graded on a curve.
Well, the Seahawks sacked Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen seven times. But that’s what happens when an opposing team is able to move the ball at will through the air, necessitating blitzes on just about every snap. Allen sliced through Seattle’s defense like a hot knife through butter in the first half, throwing for 282 yards and three touchdowns as Buffalo built a 24-10 halftime lead. There was modest improvement in the second half, when the Seahawks forced the Bills to punt twice, but Seattle couldn’t get the third-down stop at the end when there was still a glimmer of hope. And the 44 points allowed were the most in a game during the Pete Carroll era.
The game’s tone was set by the opening kickoff, when Buffalo’s Andre Roberts fielded the kick deep in the end zone and proceeded to return it 60 yards into Seattle territory. After that there weren’t any major issues, with Jason Myers continuing to be money on field goals of 40-plus yards, and punter Michael Dickson was only called upon once. But the special teams didn’t do anything to turn the game in Seattle’s favor, including not coming close on any of the onside kick attempts late in the game.
Give the coaches at least some credit for trying. With the defense completely ineffective in the first half, the Seahawks sold out on the blitz the entire second half, and that changed things to an extent — though the Bills countered with some well-timed screen calls. Seattle also aggressively went for it on fourth downs, though that was dictated by being in a deep hole early in the game. However, the initial game plan didn’t work in any fashion, and the coaches never devised a way to prevent Wilson from getting hit. Before the game news broke that Carroll had signed a contract extension through 2025, but this didn’t end up being a good game for trumpeting that.
Normally, a 10-point loss in the eastern time zone against a division leader wouldn’t be cause for all that much consternation. But even Carroll acknowledged during his postgame press conference that this was an unrecognizable performance by the Seahawks. The defense may have taken a small step forward last week against San Francisco, but it took a big step back against the Bills, and Wilson seems to be feeling the pressure to be perfect in order for Seattle to have a chance. That train horn going off constantly at Bills Stadium pretty much summed up the day.
– Nick Patterson, Herald writer