It’s been a while since the Seahawks played in Buffalo, New York. How long? Well, the last time the Seahawks were there, the game’s first touchdown was scored by none other than Marshawn Lynch … against the Seahawks.
This was 2008, Lynch’s second year in the NFL playing for Buffalo. He scored on a 21-yard run in the first quarter to give the Bills an early lead in a game they would win 34-10. Two years later, the Bills traded him to Seattle, and a few years after that Lynch helped the Seahawks win a Super Bowl.
But, anyway, we’re here to talk about the Bills. Because the Seahawks play the Bills this week, in Buffalo for the first time since that 2008 game.
The Seahawks did travel to play the Bills in 2012, Russell Wilson’s rookie season. Russ was really cookin’ that day, running for three touchdowns and throwing for another in the Seahawks’ 50-17 victory. The catch? That game was played across the border in Toronto as part of the Bills’ experimental agreement to play one game each season in Canada.
The halftime entertainment for that 2012 Seahawks-Bills game in Toronto was South Korean pop star Psy, who performed his hit “Gangnam Style.” No word on whether he’ll be in Buffalo this Sunday for the Seahawks’ first game there since 2008.
The weather forecast, by the way, calls for a high of 68 for a mostly sunny Sunday.
Three things to know about the 6-2 Bills this week:
They’re good, and they’re streaky
The Bills are having their best season in quite some time. Their 4-0 start was their best since 1992.
After opening the season with wins over the Jets, Dolphins, Rams and Raiders, the Bills then lost their next two games, 42-16 at Tennessee and 26-17 at home to Kansas City.
They’ve rebounded with back-to-back victories — 18-10 over the Jets and Sunday’s 24-21 victory at home over the Patriots. It was something of a milestone win over New England, snapping the Bills’ seven-game skid to their AFC East rival.
“It gets me emotional,” Buffalo coach Sean McDermott said after the game, via The Buffalo News. “I try to go through it one day a time, process, process, process, but we know what this game means to our fan base. We wish they could have been in the building to experience it. It would have been crazy, I’m sure. I hope everyone at home enjoyed it.”
The Bills are seeking their first division title since 1995 and hold a 1.5-game lead over Miami.
Josh Allen, MVP candidate?
Josh Allen, the Bills’ third-year QB, was drawing some early MVP buzz while leading Buffalo to that 4-0 start. In those first four games, Allen had 12 passing touchdowns, three rushing touchdowns and only one interception.
“He’s a competitive sucker, and he loves to win,” McDermott said this season, via NFL.com. “I can’t say enough about him. He loves to play the game, loves to win, and he puts his heart and soul and body into everything in this game. How could you not love him as a teammate?”
Allen is one of the most fearless running QBs in the league. At 6 feet 5 and 237 pounds, he’s bigger than a lot of the linebackers trying to tackle him, and he’s not afraid of contact. He has rushed for 227 yards and four touchdowns on 58 attempts, and he has been sacked just 13 times in eight games.
His passing numbers have cooled off considerably since the 4-0 start. In the past four games he has thrown as many interceptions as touchdowns (four), with a QB rating south of 78 in three of those games.
Overall, Allen is completing 67.1% of his passes for 2,172 yards with 16 TDs and five interceptions. His QB rating of 102.4 ranks 10th in the NFL. (Wilson is No. 1 at 120.7.)
Allen has benefited from the arrival of star receiver Stefon Diggs, acquired in an offseason trade with Minnesota. Diggs ranks among the NFL leaders with 48 receptions for 603 yards and three touchdowns this season.
The Bills rank 19th in the league in scoring at 24.8 points per game.
A 50-50 run-pass offense in 2019, the Bills are passing on 56% of their downs, but they did rely more on their run game in the win over New England. Zack Moss, a rookie out of Utah, had 81 yards and two TDs on 14 carries, and Devin Singletary had 86 yards on 14 carries.
A regressing defense
The Bills clinched their win over New England much like Seattle did vs. the Patriots. The Seahawks tripped up Cam Newton near the goal line on the game’s final play in Week 2. Buffalo knocked the ball away from Newton in the red zone in the final minute to secure its victory Sunday.
Buffalo’s defense has regressed since 2019, when it ranked as the NFL’s No. 2 defense (at 298 yards per game). The Bills rank 16th this season in allowing 358 yards per game.
QBs have a 97.7 rating against Buffalo. Seattle’s defense, for comparison, has allowed a 93.1 rating to QBs.
Football Outsiders’ DVOA ratings has Buffalo as the 23rd-ranked defense in the league. Seattle’s defense is 21st.
“Being able to play man coverage, we’ve struggled with that a little bit. And we’ve even struggled in our zones at times,” Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said last month, via ESPN. “You need a combination of rush and coverage to work together in order to have success in pass defense. We haven’t been able to consistently put that together yet.”
The Bills like to bring pressure, blitzing on 35.7% of opponents’ drop-back passes. Buffalo has 19 sacks through eight games.