Share this article

print logo


Drew Bledsoe did his best quarterback sneak impersonation into the line, then suddenly pivoted and threw a 15-yard lateral pass backward to Willis McGahee.

There were only two people in front of the Buffalo Bills running back when he caught the ball -- fullback Daimon Shelton and Seattle's Terreal Bierria.

Bierria never had a chance. Thirty yards later, McGahee dived into the end zone to put the exclamation point on the Bills' first road win of the year.

Just like the trick play -- called a "sneak pass" -- virtually the entire 38-9 victory by the Bills went exactly the way the coaches drew it up on the blackboard.

"This one feels great," Bledsoe said. "It's been too long since we've had the feeling of going on the road and beating someone at their place."

The Bills were on a mission to start fast for a change. They jumped out to a 10-0 lead.

The Bills' defense knew it had to shut down the NFL's leading rusher, Shaun Alexander. It held the Seattle back to a season-low 39 yards on 13 carries.

The Bills' offense knew it had to hold off Seattle's blitzers. Bledsoe was sacked just once while throwing for a season-high 275 yards.

And virtually every wrinkle Bills coach Mike Mularkey and his staff pulled out of the playbook worked to perfection. There were pretty reverses. There was a no-huddle offense. There was a successful onside kick to open the second half. There was the sneak pass, which put the Bills ahead, 31-3, with 10:38 remaining.

Did Mularkey need to dip into his Inspector Gadget bag of tricks at that point? Probably not. But when your club has lost six straight and 14 of its previous 16 on the road, there's no sense taking chances.

"I said to them on the sideline, 'We've got to finish games,' " Mularkey said. "We can't just go into a shell."

Once again, McGahee showed he is a prime-time finisher. The back scored four rushing touchdowns, the first Bill to do so since Roland Hooks in 1979. McGahee gained 75 of his 116 yards in the second half.

McGahee has five 100-yard games in six starts.

The Bills (5-6) have won four of their past five games and five of their past seven.

A crowd of 66,271 at Qwest Field saw the Seahawks (6-5) lose for the second time in three games and look nothing like a playoff-caliber team.

The Bills outgained the Seahawks, 434-230, and held the ball for 36:24.

The Bills got their first first-half road touchdown of the year on the opening drive, going 60 yards in 10 plays, most of them from no-huddle mode.

"We knew they've had some injuries on the defensive side, so it was a little bit of a shake-up on that side of the ball," Mularkey said. "We wanted to give the no-huddle look, which we have not shown in a while. I thought it was executed well by the whole crew."

"We just felt like we could get them off-balance and kind of lock them into some specific coverages by eliminating the huddle," Bledsoe said.

The Bills were up at the half, 17-3, and it could have been more. Bledsoe threw two interceptions in Seattle territory and added another in the third quarter.

Those throws aside, Bledsoe made plenty of effective tosses.

A pretty, 24-yard sideline grab by rookie Lee Evans set up a second-quarter field goal that made the score 10-0.

Bledsoe went to Evans twice for first downs on the final drive of the half before hitting the Wisconsin product in the right corner of the end zone for a 3-yard TD that made it 17-3.

"It was another great catch by Lee," Bledsoe said. "With no time left, it was a situation where I was going to give him a chance to make a play on the ball and hopefully no one else would have a chance to make an interception. He was in motion on the play and then ran a fade route."

Seattle sent numerous five-, six- and seven-man rushes at Bledsoe. But he was sacked only once.

"Our No. 1 thing on offense was stopping the blitz," Mularkey said. "We felt they were going to blitz us to stop the run and to disrupt Drew. I felt it was pretty good."

"We knew they liked to blitz, where on the field they liked to blitz, and who they liked to blitz," said tight end Mark Campbell.

Campbell was wide-open on an 18-yard catch and run to the Seattle 2, which set up a 2-yard McGahee plunge to make it 24-3 in the third quarter.

"They blitzed more guys than we had to protect," Campbell said. "I was the hot receiver, so I looked quick and Drew put it right where it needed to be. If they didn't blitz I was running a 10-yard out. Instead, I just looked for the ball. . . . Before the ball was even snapped I envisioned the play in my head happening. What I didn't envision was turning around and seeing no one (from Seattle) there."

Alexander, meanwhile, never had the luxury of seeing no one in front of him. He was averaging a league-best 5.1 yards a carry but managed only 3.0 against the Bills. Defensive tackles Sam Adams and Pat Williams controlled the middle of the line. Williams stuffed a quarterback sneak on a third-and-goal play from the 2 to force a second-quarter Seattle field goal.

"We've got two good guys down there in the middle, and teams just have a hard time running on those guys," linebacker Jeff Posey said. "After they shut the middle down, backs have no choice but to bounce it outside."

Afterward, the Bills seemed to be a mix of happiness and relief.

"Anytime you can start winning more than you lose, you can relax," Posey said. "You don't have that pressure on you over losing that builds up. You can just go out there and have fun."

There are no comments - be the first to comment