NFL GAME RECAP

Seahawks’ defensive stand ends Bills’ bid for upset

The Sports Xchange

November 08, 2016 at 12:01 am.

Nov 7, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril (56) sacks Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) during the fourth quarter at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Buffalo, 31-25. Photo Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 7, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril (56) sacks Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) during the fourth quarter at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Buffalo, 31-25. Photo Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

SEATTLE — The offenses stole the show on Monday night, but the Seattle Seahawks’ defense had the final say in the end.

Thanks to a sack by Cliff Avril on third down and an incompletion in the end zone on fourth, Seattle stymied the Buffalo Bills’ final drive with less than a minute to go to escape with a 31-25 win in front of a record crowd of 69,084 at CenturyLink Field.

The Bills converted a third-and-21 on their final drive with a completion up the sideline to Robert Woods, and a roughing the passer penalty on Seattle moved the ball all the way down to the 23-yard line. Buffalo had first-and-goal from the 10-yard line before the game-saving stop by Seattle.

Russell Wilson finished 20 of 26 through the air for 282 yards passing and two touchdowns and also tacked on a rushing score to lead the Seahawks (5-2-1).

The Bills (4-5) consistently mounted long drives against a Seahawks defense that entered the game ranked sixth in the NFL, finishing with 425 yards of offense. Too frequently, though, they didn’t turn into points.

Such as Buffalo’s first possession of the second half, which Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman brought to an end with an interception in the end zone. On the Bills’ next drive, though, Mike Gillislee punched in a 1-yard touchdown to finish off a 13-play, 82-yard trip down field. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor ran in the two-point conversion to make it 28-25 with 14:26 to play.

Seattle stretched its lead to 31-25 with a 49-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka that capped an eight-play drive.

It took fewer than 90 seconds for Buffalo to make a game-altering play, when defensive end Jerry Hughes blocked a Seattle punt after the Seahawks went three-and-out on their first possession. On the next snap, Taylor ran it in from the 3-yard line to give the Bills a 7-0 lead.

Only 1:11 ticked off the clock before the Seahawks responded, tying the score with a 3-yard scamper by Wilson. The run was set up one play earlier, when Wilson found Doug Baldwin streaking down the middle of the field for 50 yards.

After that torrid start, the Bills took their time on the next possession, eating up 10 minutes with a 17-play march that covered 75 yards and was capped by a 5-yard touchdown toss from Taylor to Justin Hunter.

The Seahawks tied the game at 14 on the first snap of the second quarter with a one-handed 17-yard reception by Jimmy Graham. The tight end made a similar play just before halftime, hauling in an 18-yard toss from Wilson going up the seam to make it a 28-17 game at the break.

Wilson finished the first half 14 for 17 through the air for 229 yards.

The first half ended with Buffalo’s Dan Carpenter missing a 54-yard field goal, capping a bizarre series of events. With 3 seconds left, Sherman was penalized for being offside as he tore off the edge and rolled hard into Carpenter. Referee Walt Coleman could not call roughing the kicker because Sherman was offside, and chose not to call unnecessary roughness.

Carpenter went down in pain, causing the trainer to come out and by rule forcing the Bills to replace Carpenter for one play. After Buffalo spiked the ball, the Bills were called for delay of game as Carpenter’s 49-yard field goal attempt sailed through the uprights even though it appeared the play clock was not set properly.

After the 5-yard penalty, Carpenter was wide right to end the half.

NOTES: The Seahawks entered the game with 10 straight wins on Monday nights, the second-longest streak in league history. … Seahawks DE Michael Bennett (knee) missed his first contest after undergoing arthroscopic surgery. … Bills RB LeSean McCoy began the night averaging 110.7 scrimmage yards per game since the start of 2010, the most in the NFL, and gained 60 yards in the first half. … Bills WR Percy Harvin was one of Buffalo’s five captains against his former team. … Only two possessions in the NFL this year have been longer than Buffalo’s 17-play touchdown drive during the first quarter. … Tyler Lockett finished the first half with 17 receiving yards, 13 rushing yards, 43 kick-return yards and 20 punt-return yards.

 

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