Heading into its Monday Night Football match-up with the Buffalo Bills, the Seattle Seahawks were the only team in the NFC West with a winning record. And what that meant was, even though Seattle had not played particularly well in its last couple of games, the Seahawks still had a comfortable hold on first place in their division.
But, first place or not, Seattle was still in a minor, two-game winless slump, which left the Seahawks and their fans with a sour taste in their mouths.READ MORE: Supply Chain Issues: 'There Really Are Problems Everywhere,' Even For Small Companies
Monday’s game against Buffalo offered Seattle the chance to put an end to all that negativity. With a national audience watching, it offered the chance to show the rest of the league that the Seahawks are in fact one of the best teams in the league.
The Seahawks lived up to that billing with a 31-25 victory, which was good enough to earn high marks on our weekly game grading scale.
The Seahawks only had the ball for 19 minutes and 43 seconds on Monday, and they only gained 278 total yards. But, Seattle still managed to score 31 points, 21 of which came in the second quarter, thanks mostly to a brilliant night by quarterback Russell Wilson and tight end Jimmy Graham.
Wilson has been battling all types of injuries this season, and it’s been a real mystery trying to figure out exactly how banged up he is. But, on Monday, the fifth-year pro and three-time Pro Bowler looked like his old healthy self. He threw for 282 yards, two touchdowns passes, added a touchdown run, and had no interceptions or fumbles.
Both of those touchdowns came on sensational one-handed grabs by Graham, who also looked healthy for the first time in a long time. He caught eight passes for 103 yards and the two scores.
The one low spot for the offense was again its lack of a run game. Seattle had just 33 rushing yards on just 12 carries total. Fortunately, Wilson, Graham and the rest of the Seahawks passing attack was able to deliver just enough to get a win.
For most of the game on Monday, the Seahawks defense seemed to be a step behind the Buffalo offense. The Bills aren’t exactly known as one of the best offenses in the league. But, with a talented dual-threat player at quarterback like Tyrod Taylor and a former league rushing champion in LeSean McCoy at tailback, Buffalo does present a number of challenges to every defense it faces.
Those challenges seemed to get the best of the Seahawks often on Monday, especially early in the game. But as the night wore on, Seattle managed to make a few key plays to shut the Bills down when it had to. The biggest of those moments came in the final minute of the game when the Seahawks stopped Buffalo on third down inside their own red zone. The Seahawks also sacked Taylor five times and forced the game’s only turnover to earn themselves high marks.READ MORE: Fourth Stimulus Check: Is Another Relief Payment Coming?
Special Teams: C-
Return man Tyler Lockett was sensational again for the Seahawks, averaging 21.0 yards on three returns, most of which came on a 43-yard kickoff return and helped set up Seattle’s first scoring drive of the game.
Kicker Steven Hauschka also had a good night, going 4-for-4 on PATs and connecting on his only field goal attempt. The field goal proved to be key as that forced Buffalo to need a touchdown on its last drive instead of a possible game-tying field goal.
The reason we gave the Seahawks ST units a barely average grade though, is because the punt team didn’t look good at all, especially when it allowed the blocked punt, which led to Buffalo’s first score of the game.
The offensive game plan was sound for the Seahawks, leading to the club scoring its second-highest point total of the season.
Defensively, the Seahawks struggled to get Buffalo off the field, which led to the Bills possessing the ball for more than two-thirds of the game. But, we did like how Seattle’s defensive stars came up big when they had to at the end to hold on to the slim six-point lead.
The Seahawks have definitely been in that position before and they looked poised, even under the greatest angst and pressure late in the game against the Bills.
Next Up: Seattle (5-2-1) at New England (7-1), Sunday Night Football on NBC, 8:30 pm EST
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Post Author: Cedric Williams.