SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2008
RALPH WILSON STADIUM
ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK
1:00 PM EDT
FOX / FOX HD
PLAY-BY-PLAY: Ron Pitts
COLOR ANALYST: Tony Boselli
SIDELINE REPORTER: Charissa Thompson
DIRECTV NFL Sunday Ticket:
Channel 710 / Channel 710-1 (HD)
Seattle Seahawks Radio Network
PLAY-BY-PLAY: Steve Raible
COLOR ANALYSTS: Warren Moon
SIDELINE REPORTER: Akemi Takei
Sirius Sunday Drive:
Channel 91 (Buffalo feed), Channel 125 (Seattle feed)
SERIES RECORD: Seahawks lead, 6-4. Just two of those games have been played in Buffalo, with each team winning once.
LAST REGULAR-SEASON MEETING: November 28, 2004 – Bills 38, Seahawks 9
Buffalo was 4-6 and on a six-game road losing streak. Seattle was 6-4, on the way to their first NFC West title since moving over from the AFC in 2002. Plus, they were playing on their home turf, where they’d won 12 of their last 13 games.
So of course, the Bills stomped the playoff-bound Seahawks, making their own wild-card hopes a little brighter in the process. While the defense was busy throttling league rushing leader Shaun Alexander, holding him to 39 yards on 13 carries, Willis McGahee ran wild, becoming the first Bills back to score four rushing touchdowns in a single game since Roland Hooks did it in 1979. He finished with 28 carries for 116 yards, his fifth 100-yard performance of the season.
Josh Brown’s opening kickoff sailed out of bounds, giving Buffalo the ball at their own 40, and Drew Bledsoe wasted little time marching the team down the field to McGahee’s 2-yard touchdown. The teams traded field goals early in the second quarter, but Brown’s three-pointer marked the last time the Seahawks would see the Buffalo side of midfield until late in the third quarter. Bledsoe ran the two-minute drill to perfection, tossing a 3-yard touchdown pass to Lee Evans with just 10 seconds left in the half, and the Bills took a 17-3 lead into the locker room.
Mike Mularkey wanted more. Rian Lindell stunned his old teammates by recovering his own onside kick to open the second half, but Bledsoe’s third pick put a temporary halt to their momentum. That lasted all of one play before Terrence McGee got the ball back, stepping in front of a pass meant for Darrell Jackson to put the Bills back in business. McGahee’s second touchdown made the score 24-3, and the rout was on. He added his third on a 30-yard jaunt early in the fourth quarter, thanks to a nifty fourth-and-1 “sneak pass” perfectly executed by Bledsoe, who faked a dive into the line before pitching the ball back.
By now, the Seahawks were thoroughly rattled. They muffed the kickoff, only managing to get back to their own 9. Sean Locklear picked up a holding penalty on first down, moving the ball even closer to their own end zone. They did manage to pick up one first down, but two plays later, Ryan Denney sacked Matt Hasselbeck, forcing a fumble recovered by Pat Williams at the 15. The Seattle defense wanted no part of Willis, but they got him anyway. With Bledsoe done for the day and J.P. Losman now in at quarterback, three straight runs put the ball at the 1, and the fourth finished in the end zone for McGahee’s final score of the afternoon.
Hasselbeck did manage to put together a late touchdown drive to make the final score a bit more respectable, but the Bills’ domination was complete.
NOTES: Travis Henry was injured on a first-quarter reception; he would never play another down for the Bills ... Bledsoe enjoyed the trip to Washington for his first NFL game in his home state. While he did throw three interceptions, he also completed 25 of 37 passes for 275 yards and a touchdown ... Eric Moulds and Lee Evans combined for 14 catches and 163 yards.
LAST TIME IN BUFFALO: November 18, 2001 – Seahawks 23, Bills 20
Even Jim Kelly’s Wall of Fame ceremony couldn’t coax more than 60,836 spectators to Ralph Wilson Stadium to watch a brutally bad 1-7 Bills team ... and let’s be honest, most of the people who did show up were probably there to see No. 12, not Alex Van Pelt’s first start since 1997.
Van Pelt actually played well, throwing for a career-high 316 yards, but his late fourth-quarter fumble set the Seahawks up for what would prove to be the game-winning field goal. Travis Henry had a brutal day; three of his first six carries went for no gain or lost yardage, and two fumbles (one lost) earned him a seat on the bench for Buffalo’s next two possessions.
Seattle scored first, when Brian Moorman, punting out of his own end zone, couldn’t get the ball past his own 38-yard line. Their drive stalled quickly at the Buffalo 22, bringing in Rian Lindell for the 40-yard field goal. Following the Bills’ third straight three-and-out, first-year starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck put together an efficient series, hitting Koren Robinson in the back of the end zone to run their lead to 10-0.
The offense finally managed to get on track early in the second quarter; Van Pelt found Eric Moulds deep downfield for a 51-yard completion, and capped off the drive two plays later with a 16-yard strike to Peerless Price. Jake Arians’ 25-yard field goal just before halftime sent the teams into the locker room tied at 10.
The Seahawks regained the lead on Shaun Alexander’s 1-yard touchdown run on their opening drive of the second half. Arians connected on another short field goal but missed a 45-yarder, and Lindell’s second three-pointer made the score 20-13.
Then, with the clock ticking under 5:00, linebacker Chad Brown sacked Van Pelt, forcing a fumble that the defense recovered at the Buffalo 33. The Bills D didn’t budge, but Lindell hit the 51-yard attempt to give the Seahawks a seemingly insurmountable 10-point lead.
Van Pelt rallied the offense one last time, throwing a 6-yard touchdown pass to Jay Riemersma to pull the Bills back within a field goal. However, they couldn’t recover the onside kick that followed. Hasselbeck knelt twice to send Buffalo, once unbeatable at home, to their seventh straight loss at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
NOTES: Peerless Price must have enjoyed playing Seattle. He led the team with 10 catches for 138 yards and a touchdown, marking his third straight 100-yard game against the Seahawks ... Henry finished the game with just 29 yards on 13 carries ... Hasselbeck managed the game well, completing 16 of 23 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown, while not turning the ball over ... The Bills lost despite outgaining Seattle, 372-246 yards.
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