Division leaders clash as Seattle visits Buffalo
The Seattle Seahawks’ much-maligned defense might just be trending the right direction.
And reinforcements are on the way.
The NFC West-leading Seahawks (6-1) will travel to Buffalo on Sunday to play the AFC East-leading Bills (6-2).
Seattle’s defense allowed just 117 total yards and one score through three quarters of last weekend’s 37-27 victory against visiting San Francisco, before the 49ers’ backups put together some drives after the Seahawks had built a 23-point lead.
Coming off their first loss of the season, a 37-34 overtime setback at Arizona, linebacker Bobby Wagner, the Seahawks’ defensive captain, challenged his teammates to be better.
Wagner led by example with 11 tackles, two sacks, four quarterback hits and three tackles for loss to earn NFC Defensive Player of the Week
“I feel like as the leader of the defense, you have to address the team, you have to bring the issues to light and get everyone on the same page and talk about discipline and consistency,” Wagner said. “That’s kind of what we did. Everybody locked in.”
All-Pro Safety Jamal Adams, Seattle’s biggest offseason acquisition, is expected to return Sunday after missing four games with a groin injury. Two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Carlos Dunlap is set to make his Seahawks debut after being acquired in a trade last week with Cincinnati and defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison, another former Pro Bowler, is close to being in game shape after being signed as a free agent.
“Run, pass, the whole thing, we really played good ball (last Sunday),” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “Guys played great. Bobby Wagner was just everywhere on the field.”
MVP candidate Russell Wilson threw four more touchdown passes. Two of those went to DK Metcalf, who set career highs with 12 receptions for 161 yards.
Rookie running back DeeJay Dallas, a fourth-round pick out of Miami, forced into action because of injuries to Chris Carson (mid-foot sprain) and Carlos Hyde (hamstring), scored two touchdowns. Carroll said Carson and Hyde remain questionable for Sunday.
The Bills are coming off a 24-21 victory against visiting New England. The win wasn’t clinched until backup defensive lineman Justin Zimmer forced Patriots quarterback Cam Newton to fumble at the Bills’ 13-yard line with 31 seconds remaining.
On a wet and windy day, Buffalo rushed for a season-high 190 yards, with Devin Singletary gaining 86 and rookie Zack Moss adding 81 and two touchdowns.
“Enough was enough,” Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins said, referring to questions about Buffalo’s previously pedestrian ground game, which was averaging 97 yards per game entering last weekend. “We made a statement to run the ball.”
Josh Allen was 11-of-18 passing for 154 yards and also scored on a 2-yard run as the Bills snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Patriots and beat them at home for the first time since 2011.
“You see what happens when we have good games like that on the ground, especially in a typical AFC weather game like this,” Allen said.
Sunday’s forecast is for sunny skies and unseasonably warm temperatures in the upper 60s in Orchard Park, N.Y.
Bills center Mitch Morse was knocked out on the third play against the Patriots and remains in the concussion protocol. Receiver John Brown (knee), defensive end Jerry Hughes (foot) and cornerback Josh Norman (hamstring) have also missed practice time this week.
–Field Level Media