After putting a beating on the Arizona Cardinals last week, the Seattle Seahawks decided that wasn’t quite enough of a statement. Heading to Toronto to take on the Buffalo Bills, they proved too diverse an offense to be stopped, while the opportunistic defense was ready to capitalize on any of the inevitable Ryan Fitzpatrick mistakes.
It means Seattle is right in the hunt for a postseason spot, while any reservations the Bills have about changing direction at quarterback continue to look foolish. Let’s take a look at the key performances.
Seattle – Three Performances of Note
Russell to the Ready
In all the talk of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, one man has a right to be slighted. He has led his team to as many wins as either, has more touchdown passes than both, has thrown just nine interceptions, and just added his first three rushing touchdowns of the year. Of course I’m talking about Russell Wilson (+3.0), who once again added to his strengthening case for rookie of the year.
There wasn’t much wrong with his game at all, outside of three overthrown passes, but you could look past that given the ease with which he took this game away from Buffalo. With a drop and three throwaways he walked away with an Accuracy Percentage of 75% while averaging 8.9 yards per attempt. Yet it was his work on the ground, where he rushed nine times for 92 yards and three scores, that stuck in the mind with five of those runs designed to take advantage of his mobility.
He’s getting better.
Clemons Still Producing
With the arrival of Bruce Irvin (-1.0) there was a lot of speculation that Chris Clemons (+2.1) could find himself surplus to requirements. If that proves to be the case in the future, his agent would be wise to use this game to highlight how disruptive he can be. On 28 pass rushes he walked away with two sacks and two hurries as he gave rookie Cordy Glenn one of his toughest tests to date in the NFL. Nothing quite highlighted his dominance like his strip sack with 8:05 to go in the third, and it went a long way to eradicate the memories of his missed sack with 4:11 to go in the second quarter.
Stout Offensive Line
The Buffalo Bills’ defensive line appeared to be rounding into form heading into this game. Mario Williams was starting to justify his price tag, while the duo of Marcel Dareus and Kyle Williams were beating guys up in the middle of the line. Well, Seattle put a stop to that, ensuring that their quarterback faced pressure on 10 of 29 drop-backs, with the line responsible for only five combined quarterback disruptions. It will be of particular note that Breno Giacomini (+2.1) put forth his second strong performance in a row after a season where he had at times looked a major liability. Kudos.
Buffalo – Three Performances of Note
Stevie J, has his Way
There’s just something about Stevie Johnson (+2.7). He runs the kind of routes that defensive backs just don’t seem to see coming, with Richard Sherman the latest to find out how hard going man-to-man with him can be. Heading into this game, Sherman had our highest grade in coverage for any cornerback, but after allowing 69 yards and a touchdown on the seven balls aimed to Johnson, that is bound to change. Nothing quite highlighted how the Bill was able to win this battle (and it was a battle with Sherman tracking him throughout) like his touchdown with 1:16 to go in the first half, with the Seahawk defender all over the place as Johnson picked up the score.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, on his Way
Another Sunday, another bad performance from Fitzpatrick (-2.7). He wasn’t helped with six dropped passes, but it was another example of why teams shouldn’t hand out big deals on the back of less than half a season’s worth of work. Fitzpatrick averaged just 5.7 yards per attempt (a number that was at 1.3 when under pressure) and threw two crushing picks that ended any hope of a Buffalo revival. He’s not careful with the ball and all too often inaccurate (he was 2-of-9 on passes over 20 yards), so you’ll understand why the Bills will be looking for some help at the QB spot come the offseason.
Making the most of Spiller
With the game turning into something of a blowout, we’ll never know just how much the Bills wanted to use C.J. Spiller (+2.8), but his 17 rushing attempts and five targets in the passing game were encouraging. He, as expected, responded with a healthy yards per attempt (6.1), some forced missed tackles (five) and a touchdown. In a season that has been disappointing all too frequently, Buffalo should have at least learned that they’ve got one of the leagues’ most explosive playmakers in Spiller. That bodes well for the future.
– T.J. Graham caught three of eight balls aimed for him. Unfortunately, he also dropped four.
– Running with a point to prove, Marshawn Lynch forced four missed tackles on his 10 rushes. Two of which were by Ron Brooks, with the cornerback quickly benched after the second.
– The touchdown Richard Sherman allowed was only his second of the year.
If you’re going in any direction other than Russell Wilson you’re wrong.
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