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Week 15 Game Recap: Seattle Seahawks 50, Buffalo Bills 17


Seattle Seahawks

QB Russell Wilson, Pass: 14 - 23 - 205 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 9 - 92 - 3

As if Wilson's rise to prominence wasn't bad enough for Bills' fans, getting to see what he can do live had to be awfully rough. After opening the game with a seven-yard loss, Wilson and the Seattle offense shredded what had been a much-improved Bills' defense. Wilson's first completion came on the game's first 3rd down, a 17-yard toss to Sidney Rice. The throw was not on line, but Rice made a great diving grab to instill some early confidence in the QB. Two plays later, another 3rd and long and another conversion as Wilson threw a dart to Zach Miller for eight yards. Wilson went play fake on the following play and dumped it off to an uncovered Michael Robinson in the flat for 20 yards. After another completion, this time to Doug Baldwin for eight, Wilson brought out the secret weapon. Running the read option with Marshawn Lynch, Wilson kept the ball and ran completely untouched into the end zone for the 14-yard TD run. The following drive was even easier, as Wilson opened with a 14-yard screen to Lynch, before going back to read option and picking up an easy 19 yards. Buffalo was able to get to Wilson after a play fake the next play, but two plays later Wilson killed the Bills with his feet again. Another 3rd down, Wilson dropped back to pass, but was unable to find an open receiver. The field completely opened up and while Wilson is not necessarily one to look to run, the vast amounts of open space were too much to pass up. Scrambling left; again completely untouched (no one within five yards) Wilson ran the ball in from 25 yards out. The onslaught continued, as Seattle used a strange variation of a flea flicker off a toss to Lynch (who in turn threw it back to Wilson) as Wilson connected with a wide-open Golden Tate for 44 yards. After throwing his first incompletion on 2nd down, Wilson threw a strike to Rice over the middle, but he was brought down just short of the goal line, forcing a FG. After an incompletion to kick off the following drive, the read option reared its ugly head, this time with Wilson giving it off to Lynch. Deep into Buffalo territory, Wilson used play action on 1st down before finding a wide-open Miller in the end zone for the four-yard TD pass. Buffalo finally held the read option in check as Wilson was stopped for no gain on the next drive, but a mix-up in coverage had Rice completely uncovered on a shallow crosser on 3rd down. With all the coverage on the opposite side of the field, Rice ran untouched all the way to the Buffalo 10 before finally getting shoved out of bounds. Two plays later, Wilson went back to the read option, killing the defense again on his way to his 3rd TD run of the half. A little more work this time; Wilson used his outside blocks perfectly on his way to the end zone. With five consecutive scoring drives (and 31 points) under their belt, Buffalo finally managed to force the offense to punt on their last drive just before halftime. Wilson threw consecutive incompletions before Wilson was dropped for a one-yard loss on the read option. Certainly Wilson and the Seattle offense didn't need any help (five out of six scoring drives, including four TDs in the 1st half) in the 2nd half, but the Bills gave it to them anyway. Wilson's first possession came at the Buffalo 20 and he opened the drive with another positive broken play. With solid coverage in the secondary, Wilson turned up field and picked up six yards on a scramble setting up another TD. Taking over in Buffalo territory after another turnover, Wilson threw consecutive incompletions to kick the drive off, the second of which should have been a TD to Robinson in the back of the end zone. Robinson was uncovered, but Wilson's throw was high. Wilson went to Baldwin on 3rd down, delivering a perfect ball, but DB Justin Rogers made a great play on the pass, jarring it loose before Baldwin could secure it. Finally forced to work with a long field in the 2nd half, Wilson and company easily went down the field for another scoring drive. Facing a 3rd down, Wilson escaped the pocket to ensure more time for his receivers down field. Miller was able to get loose, picking up 14 yards and first down on the completion. Wilson hit Tate on a quick slant for nine yards before smartly throwing it away on the next play. Two plays later, Wilson booted right and was met in the backfield by Mario Williams. However, like he had done all afternoon, Wilson easily won the one on one battle with Williams and turned what should have been a loss (or throwaway at worst) into a 13-yard scramble. Wilson completed two more balls before throwing incomplete in the end zone to Rice (who nearly made a tremendous catch) to conclude his day. Wilson was unstoppable on Sunday, leading his team to eight scoring drives in nine total drives with three rushing TDs and one passing. With the offensive shackles finally off, Wilson put on a tremendous performance in Toronto, including rushing for 92 yards on nine carries.

RB Robert Turbin, Rush: 10 - 31 - 0, Rec: 1 - -3 - 0 (1 targets)

With Wilson and Lynch dominating the 1st half, Turbin took over the rushing attack to burn the remainder of the clock in 2nd half. Turbin was held to a much more respectable 3.1 yards a carry, but did so as Seattle made no attempt to hide their intentions when the game got out of hand. Turbin also caught one ball, but it went for a three-yard loss.

RB Marshawn Lynch, Rush: 10 - 113 - 1, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (1 targets)

Facing his former team for the first time since his trade, Lynch (in only ten carries) stomped all over the Buffalo defense. The true antithesis to C.J. Spiller was vicious through the hole, using minimal cuts and punishing potential tacklers. Using the success of the read option (namely the defenses shift in attention), Lynch was able to break off a game high 54-yard run through the middle of the defense. With the defense set on the edges and the interior compensating, a gaping hole opened for Lynch as he ran straight ahead. Not even needing to cut or shift, Lynch wasn't touched until he was tackled just short of the goal line. With the game quickly out of hand, Lynch only received one carry in the 2nd half, but he made sure to make it count. Running left, Lynch easily got the edge and ran untouched into the end zone for the 14-yard TD run. Lynch also caught one pass on a designed screen for 14 yards and used a nice cut just after he caught the low pass to avoid a tackle and get up field. It's easy to see there was much more out there for Lynch, but there was just no sense is walking him out there with such a massive lead.

RB Michael Robinson, Rush: 1 - 29 - 0, Rec: 1 - 20 - 0 (2 targets)

Robinson only had one carry, coming on a fake punt and picked up 29 yards on the play. Robinson also had one catch, as Wilson booted right and found Robinson uncovered in the flat for a 20-yard gain.

RB Leon Washington, Rush: 2 - 5 - 0 (1 targets)

Washington carried the ball twice picking up five yards. Washington also had a punt return for a TD called back due to penalty.

WR Sidney Rice, Rec: 4 - 76 - 0 (4 targets)

Rice led all Seattle pass catchers in every statistical category on Sunday, including five targets and four receptions. Rice's first catch was a thing of beauty, coming on 3rd and long on the Seahawks' opening drive. Running a corner route, Wilson's throw was a bit low and wide, but going parallel to the ground, Rice made a great diving catch for 17 yards. Rice just missed a TD on Seattle's 3rd drive, bringing in the short slant before getting hit just short of the goal line. Rice's long came two plays later, as he ran a shallow crosser underneath. With the coverage mixed up and Rice running away from it, he was able to take the short toss and turn up field for a 41-yard gain. Rice caught one more quick slant before his final target was an overturned TD in the corner of the end zone. Rice made the catch, but could not get his 2nd foot down. Initially ruled a TD; replay clearly showed his right foot never touched inbounds.

WR Golden Tate, Rec: 3 - 64 - 0 (4 targets)

Tate received four targets, catching three with a long of 44 yards. With Lynch and Wilson working their flea flicker magic behind the line of scrimmage, Tate ran all the way across the field and easily connected for the long pass. Tate's two other catches came of the quick slant variety, picking up 10 on both.

WR Doug Baldwin, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (3 targets)

Baldwin was targeted three times, but only registered one catch for eight yards. Baldwin just missed what could have been a TD as he ran a post route. Wilson delivered a great ball, but the pass was just knocked out by a great defensive play from DB Justin Rogers.

TE Zach Miller, Rec: 3 - 26 - 1 (3 targets)

Miller caught all three targets, including one TD. With Wilson faking the handoff to Lynch, Miller was able to drag across the end zone essentially uncovered for the four-yard TD pass.


Buffalo Bills

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Pass: 21 - 38 - 217 - 1 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 3 - 8 - 0

In a season full of struggles, Sunday's game was just one more nail in Ryan Fitzpatrick's coffin. With the way Wilson was playing on the other side, Buffalo needed an other worldly type performance from their QB and Fitzpatrick is just not capable of delivering those types of games. Fitzpatrick opened the game trying to hit T.J. Graham on a vertical route down the sideline, but like a blind man throwing darts, Fitzpatrick merely heaves and prays on every deep throw. Badly overthrown, the tone was set and Buffalo was punting two plays later. Fitzpatrick actually looked palpable on the Bills' 2nd drive, opening with a short 11-yard dump to Scott Chandler in the flat for a quick first down. Seeing sagging coverage on the outside, Fitzpatrick picked up a quick seven yards to Stevie Johnson the following play. Two plays later, Brad Smith curled up for a 10-yard gain on 3rd down to extend the drive. Fitzpatrick connected with Johnson again three plays later, a quick slant that went for 17 yards and put Buffalo into position to score their first TD of the game. However, the rhythm was short lived, as the following two drives netted zero first downs and resulted in two quick punts. Deep in deficit and needing to give the defense a chance to regroup, it was the Bills pass catchers who came to the rescue. After picking up a 3rd down with a short toss to Chandler, Fitzpatrick went right back to his TE as he ran free down the seam. An awful throw, both high and behind him, Chandler made a tremendous play to make the 22-yard catch. A drop and a short run had Buffalo facing another 3rd down, but as he did all day, Johnson worked CB Richard Sherman on a beautiful corner route. Probably Fitzpatrick's easiest completion of the day, Johnson was essentially uncovered for the 20-yard TD pass. With a little momentum, Fitzpatrick went right back to the corner route to kick off the last drive before halftime, hitting Johnson on an almost identical play for 24 yards. A short six-yard slant to Spiller (nearly intercepted on the dangerous throw) followed by a dump to Chandler over the middle for 13 yards had the Bills deep in Seattle territory. Unfortunately, time was not on their side and following an incompletion to Johnson, the Bills had to settle for a FG. With a little momentum, having scored ten unanswered points and getting the ball to kick off the 2nd half, Fitzpatrick managed to do what he does best. After a sack and another horrible overthrow of an open receiver down field, Johnson made a spectacular one handed grab on another high throw for 25 yards on 3rd and long to keep the drive going. With barely any time to celebrate, Fitzpatrick dropped back to pass for a 3rd consecutive time and like he as done so often in 2012, made up his mind pre-snap. Locked into Chandler, despite the double coverage, Fitzpatrick's throw was easily intercepted by LB K.J. Wright. Such a microcosm of the season, hope immediately followed by utter disappointment, the Bills offense (especially Fitzpatrick) never recovered from the INT. The following drive, Fitzpatrick opened with a couple quick shots to Johnson, but was strip sacked on his next drop back resulting in another turnover. As if the two badly missed deep shots earlier weren't enough, Fitzpatrick opened the next drive with another for good measure. Using play action, Johnson was able to get both vertical and behind the coverage, but Fitzpatrick's heave was not even close. After a short gain to Smith on a quick slant, Fitzpatrick dropped back to throw on 3rd down. Hearing footsteps, Fitzpatrick looked incredibly uneasy in the pocket despite having all day and ultimately uncorked a wild throw downfield to Chandler. The throw was not close, Chandler reacted (or didn't) as if it was intended for someone else as the pass was both high and well wide as it sailed into S Earl Thomas' hands. Thomas returned the INT for a TD perfectly capping another abhorrent game from the Bills' QB. Never easy to watch a Fitzpatrick-led attack, Sunday was especially difficult as across the field stood a rookie who Buffalo had passed on not once or twice, but three consecutive rounds in the 2012 draft.

QB Tyler Thigpen, Pass: 3 - 5 - 30 - 0 TD / 0 INT

Thigpen came in for mop up duty late, completing three passes for 30 yards. Given the score of the game and the timing of his insertion, it was clear Thigpen wasn't inserted for anything more than getting off the field.

RB C.J. Spiller, Rush: 17 - 103 - 1, Rec: 3 - -2 - 0 (5 targets)

It is hard to imagine a situation in which Spiller receives 94% of the carries and it still isn't enough. But then you look at the man calling the plays and it all starts to make sense. Just as electric and every bit as effective, Spiller maintained his gross yards per carry on the season, averaging 6.1 on Sunday and managed to find the end zone too. Of the Bills first five possessions, Spiller received a total of ten carries. Eight of those ten came amongst the two TD drives further suggesting what the entire league already knows (given it's week 15), Spiller (the run game) is good and Fitzpatrick is not. Able to dazzle at any moment, Spiller turned an eight-yard carry on the first TD drive into a mess of missed tackles. With the run designed left, Spiller promptly cut back, avoiding his first potential tackler in the backfield. Turning up field, Spiller split two defenders (one caught flat-footed and another flailing at his legs) before cutting around another. Just missing a breakaway run, Spiller was finally wrapped up just short of the first down marker. Three plays later, Spiller electrified the crowd again, using just one cut and pure speed to run untouched into the end zone for the 14-yard TD. Spiller was the focal point of the next TD drive, using his speed to pick up 26 yards on consecutive plays to open the drive, including his long of 18 yards. The game quickly got away from the Bills, but it is still hard to make sense of the move away from Spiller. The catalyst for both TD drives; Spiller is the one player on offense who had the potential to turn any touch into immediate points. Spiller was also targeted five times in the passing game, but only managed three catches for negative two yards. News to Gailey, the league has caught on to the simple screens to the RB; it is time to start getting a bit more inventive when dealing with one of the leagues most explosive players.

RB Tashard Choice, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0

Choice only received one carry on Sunday, picking up seven yards on the play.

WR Steve Johnson, Rec: 8 - 115 - 1 (12 targets)

Johnson led all Bills every in receiving category, picking up 12 targets and eight catches, including one TD. In what has typically been a tough matchup for most WRs, Johnson consistently beat Seattle's best corner Richard Sherman. After taking advantage of his sagging coverage on his first catch, Johnson easily worked Sherman again on his next catch, picking up 17 yards on a slant. Johnson's next route was even prettier, completely turning Sherman around on a deep corner route resulting in a 20-yard TD catch. Johnson went right back to the corner route to kick off the next drive, as the result was almost identical, picking up 24 yards on the play. Johnson's best play, however, came on his next catch. Facing a 3rd and long, Johnson ran a deep post on the play. Fitzpatrick's throw was high (when is it not?) and behind Johnson, forcing the WR leave his feet and open up to make a play on the ball. Johnson reached up with only his right hand and snatched the pass out of the air for the 25-yard gain. Johnson just missed another long play two drives later as the Bills went play action. Johnson again beat the coverage, but Fitzpatrick's awful deep ball accuracy had the ball sailing well over Johnson's head.

WR Brad Smith, Rec: 3 - 26 - 0 (5 targets)

Smith caught three passes on five targets, but was largely uninvolved (only one catch in the first half) until garbage time.

WR T.J. Graham, Rec: 3 - 32 - 0 (8 targets)

Considering where Graham was taken in the draft last offseason, it is hard to imagine he didn't feel some pressure on Sunday. Unfortunately, pressured or not, Graham had probably his worst game to date as a pro, with three bad drops. When the game was in the 1st half and still theoretically winnable, he had more drops (two) than catches (one). Graham didn't appear to be fighting the ball, but his confidence was certainly shot after the first bumble.

WR Dorin Dickerson, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (2 targets)

Dickerson caught one ball on the game's final drive, a 10-yard out from backup QB Tyler Thigpen.

WR Ruvell Martin, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (2 targets)

Like Dickerson, Martin's lone catch came on the final drive, a short eight-yard catch from Thigpen.

TE Scott Chandler, Rec: 5 - 58 - 0 (8 targets)

Of the few offensive bright spots on Sunday, Chandler was one of them. 2nd on the team in all receiving categories, Chandler was targeted eight times, with five catches. Chandler's long went for 21 yards and was every bit as incredible as Johnson's one handed grab. Running up the seam, Chandler was forced to reach back for the Fitzpatrick throw as it was well behind him. Chandler actually deflected the pass (intentional or not, it was good) out in front of himself before hauling it in. The sheer concentration to make the play running at full speed is quite impressive, but to do so over the middle with the league's most physical DBs are bearing down is exponentially more impressive.


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