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Buffalo Bills 44, Seattle Seahawks 34: Rapid recap and notes

The Bills decisively won against the team with the NFC’s best record.

A matchup between the 6-2 Buffalo Bills and the 6-1 Seattle Seahawks promised to be one of the highlights of the season, and the game did not disappoint. Josh Allen heard about Russell Wilson’s MVP campaign and used the occasion to stunt against the league’s worst defense. With 31/38 passing (81.6% completion), 386 net yards passing, three passing touchdowns, a rushing touchdown, and no turnovers, this was the hottest game of Allen’s career. The Bills asked him to run the show, with a 23:3 pass to run ratio at halftime, and he delivered everything they wanted and then some.

Equally fired up to play the league’s best offense: the Bills defense. The unit, despite a steady stream of injuries, is starting to gel. Defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Leslie Frazier and head coach Sean McDermott dialed up an extremely blitz-heavy game plan this week and it worked to perfection. With the Bills attacking him at every turn, Wilson threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles. He had more turnovers than touchdowns—that’s a rare occasion in his storied career.

The tone was set right at the start, when Andre Roberts returned the opening kickoff 60 yards. Three plays later, before some fans had finished prepping their TV trays, the Bills were in the end zone. The Bills would use all three phases of their football team to stake out a 17-0 lead, then a 24-10 halftime margin. Their relentless offense eased the pressure on their defense, opening up more opportunities for blitzing, which created more turnovers, which created more favorable field position for their offense.

Wilson did his best to keep the game close, but the game was essentially over after A.J. Klein’s strip sack and fumble recovery with 6:30 remaining. The Bills extended their lead to 44-27 after that point, and Seattle couldn’t make up the difference.

At 7-2, the Bills now have a commanding lead over the rest of the AFC East. With all their tiebreakers, they effectively only need to win against the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins to clinch the division title. Instead, the conversation moves toward whether the Bills can challenge for one of the AFC’s top seeds. It’s a difficult path, but this team has the potential to make it.

The Bills travel to Arizona next week to play against the (currently 5-2) Arizona Cardinals, before heading to their bye week.

Injury report

Cody Ford, finally back in action from his knee injury, didn’t last long. A painful ankle injury took him out of the lineup in the first half, with Ike Boettger replacing him. Ford remained on the sidelines after a visit to the locker room, but didn’t have his helmet on and never returned to the game.

Brian Winters, also dealing with a knee injury, exited the game briefly in the first half. With Ike Boettger already in the lineup, Ryan Bates took over at right guard. Winters later returned to action.

Daryl Williams (yes, the third offensive lineman on this list) also left in the first half. Ty Nsekhe took over at right tackle, and Williams was back before long.

Tre’Davious White twisted his ankle in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter. He kept his helmet on, stayed on the sidelines, but was replaced by Dane Jackson on the field. The game ended after that drive came to a close, when the Bills successfully recovered an onside kick.

Miscellaneous

  • What a day of redemption for Buffalo’s maligned linebackers. Tremaine Edmunds had two tackles-for-loss, a sack, a pass defense, and led the team in tackles. A.J. Klein had two sacks, and forced and recovered a fumble that all but sealed the Bills’ victory.
  • Speaking of redemption, Tre’Davious White finally landed his first interception of the season. Jordan Poyer also shut down a drive in the end zone with his own pick.
  • Today’s blitzkrieg left both quarterbacks battered. The Seahawks had seven sacks, and the Bills had five. Per the broadcast, the Bills knocked Russell Wilson down a whopping 16 times—the most of any QB this season.
  • John Brown seems healthy again. He caught eight of 11 targets for 99 yards.
  • One of those catches might look familiar. Facing an all-out blitz, Josh Allen audibled “Gold Rip” and threw a bubble screen to Brown, who scampered almost to the end zone. The Bills used the same audible and play call in the season opener against the New York Jets.
  • Just another day at the office for Stefon Diggs. Nine catches for 118 yards, leading the team yet again. With 813 yards this season, he’s right up at the top of the league.
  • Gabriel Davis had a nice day: four catches for 70 yards and a touchdown. He should’ve had a second touchdown, but the referees said he ran out of bounds, and Buffalo didn’t challenge the call.
  • The Bills ran for a measly 34 yards on 19 carries: 1.8 yards per attempt. Devin Singletary was almost an afterthought in this one. He had two carries for a single yard, plus three catches on three early targets for 33 yards. Zack Moss, mainly used in short yardage and clock situations, led with nine carries, but for only 18 yards.
  • Tyler Bass, the man with the cannon for a leg, attempted his first 60+ yard field goal at the end of the half. He had the distance, but his kick sailed to the right. That kick aside, Bass was perfect on his other field goals and extra points.