Buffalo had its chances to pull off the upset and nearly stunned the CenturyLink Stadium crowd into silence. However, the Bills came up 15 yards short against the Seahawks and lost 31-25 on Monday night.
Buffalo had its chances to pull off the upset and nearly stunned the CenturyLink Stadium crowd into silence.
However, the Bills came up 15 yards short against the Seahawks and lost 31-25 on Monday night.
Or maybe they were few inches off as Tyrod Taylor’s pass sailed just wide of Robert Woods in the end zone on what would have been a go-ahead touchdown reception in the final seconds.
Taylor, who finished with 289 yards on 27-of-38 passing including a touchdown and an interception, had been so good against a Seahawks defense that had difficulty containing the six-year veteran out of Virginia Tech.
Despite five sacks, he constantly eluded pressure and repeatedly burned Seattle when he turned broken plays into big gains.
On Buffalo’s final possession, the Bills got the ball at their 40 before Taylor orchestrated a drive that ended deep into Seahawks territory.
He connected with Woods for a 10-yard gain on the first play of the series and found him for two more receptions. Then Taylor scrambled for 8 yards to set up first-and-goal at the 10.
“He played lights out,” said running back LeSean McCoy, who finished with 85 yards on 21 carries. “He did everything. He did the small things like play action. Getting the ball out of his hand. Extending plays with his timing.
“He played really well today. It was probably one of his better games. It sucked that we couldn’t get him the win.”
After a 3-yard run by McCoy and consecutive Seahawks sacks, Buffalo needed to convert a fourth down at the 15 with 20 seconds left.
Taylor drifted left out of the pocket and spotted Woods cutting across the end zone. He fired into tight coverage, but his pass went wide of Woods and bounced off free safety Earl Thomas’ hands as strong safety Kelcie McCray closed in.
It was a deflating ending for Buffalo, which outgained Seattle in yardage, 425 to 278, held the ball twice as long and ran 82 plays – 40 more than the Seahawks.
“It felt like we were doing whatever we wanted,” left guard Richie Incognito said. “We were going up and down the field. I was gassed on some of those drives. But we got to get points. We got to close out drives.”
The Bills (4-5), which dropped their third straight game, lamented their mistakes (11 penalties for 115 yards) and inability to convert in the red zone. Two drives inside the Seahawks 20 failed to net points.
“We were trying to take that team to deep water. I thought we did,” Buffalo coach Rex Ryan said. “We made way too many penalties and way too many mistakes. We still had a chance to win the game and I thought we should have.
“We gave everything we had and we came up short.”
Ryan also had choice words for the officials, who botched a call before the half that might have given Buffalo a field goal and consequently negated the need to go for a touchdown on the final play.
“Ridiculous,” Ryan said. “Absolutely ridiculous. … It’s clear what happened. The guy roughed our kicker. Jumps offsides and roughs our kicker. And then because we had to go out and attend to him – and it wasn’t called roughing the kicker – then we had to spike the ball so we could come back in and kick.”
On the play, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman jumped offsides and ran into kicker Dan Carpenter on a 53-yard field-goal attempt, who crumpled in a heap.
Dean Blandino, the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating, later said on Twitter the officials should have also called a personal foul on Sherman, which would have allowed Carpenter to stay in the game and moved the Bills 15 yards closer.
As it were, the game officials only gave Seattle a 5-yard offside penalty and Carpenter needed to leave the field for one play because he required medical assistance.
After spiking the ball, Buffalo lined up for a 49-yard field goal, but was penalized for delay of game.
Ryan chastised the officials for not getting the special kicking ball on the field in time, which led to the delay.
After the penalty, Carpenter returned and missed a 54-yard field goal as time expired.
“That was crazy,” McCoy said. “Never seen anything like it.”
Ryan and his brother Rob, Buffalo’s defensive coordinator, barked at officials and Sherman.
“He’s mean mugging like he’s doing and whatever,” Ryan said. “The guy is a great player, but I guess it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I thought he roughed our kicker. It was a ridiculous play. No question. Then he’s over there on the sideline basically taunting us.
“So I had some words. I think I said you’re good of a player to act like an ass. I think that’s what I said.”
After the game, Blandino discussed the mayhem with NFL Networks’ Cole Wright. Here’s a transcript:
Cole Wright: Dean, we saw that call. It looked to have been unnecessary roughness by Richard Sherman. Why was that call not made?
Dean Blandino: The officials were in the process of shutting the play down. Sherman jumped offside and he was unimpeded to the kicker so we shut that down. The referee didn’t think that the contact was severe enough. He felt that players were coming together and he just didn’t think it was a foul. We looked at it and it is a foul. It is no different than a defender coming offside and hitting a quarterback after the whistle blew, so it should have been unnecessary roughness.
Wright: You said the official did not feel, Carpenter was down and writhing in pain, so once again, why was there no call for unnecessary roughness?
Blandino: Again, the referee in looking at it was coming in to kill the play and didn’t think the contact was enough for unnecessary roughness. Obviously when you look at the tape, that is not the case.
Wright: Moving forward, is this something that needs to be addressed along with some other calls in the National Football League?
Blandino: Obviously whenever it comes to player safety, we want to look at these fouls. It’s something that we stress with our referees when it comes to the quarterbacks and the kickers with roughing the kicker and roughing the passer, so we certainly don’t want to miss calls like that.
Wright: Dean what about the delay of game call? We are watching the play clock tick off to zero and then it appears as if six seconds later that delay of game was called. Why the delay there?
Blandino: Well it was definitely more than 40 seconds and there was a conversation on the field between a couple of officials and the umpire was actually over the ball. Any time the play clock goes down under 20 seconds we want to reset it if we are still over the football. It looked like the play clock had run down probably to five or six seconds so we want to reset the play clock there when the officials are actually conversing and delaying the snap. I think that’s what happened there.
Wright: Do you think this is something you will address further?
Blandino: We are absolutely going to address it. Anytime you have a sequence like that at any point during the game we want to see what happened and just walk through the steps of where the breakdown was. Regardless of the outcome of the game, we are going to address the situation with our crew.