SEATTLE -- Here are how my five takes before the Buffalo Bills' 31-25 loss against the Seattle Seahawks Monday night worked out:
1. Clean up the defensive confusion. Not at all. The Bills' secondary was not the same page for much of the first half. And it cost the team dearly.
Despite winning the time of possession battle by an overwhelming 40:17 to 19:43, the Bills allowed too many big pass plays that ultimately did them in. The Seahawks were able to move the ball effectively through the air, with Russell Wilson completing 20 of 26 passes for 282 yards and a pair of touchdowns to tight end Jimmy Graham.
Graham shook free for eight catches for 103 yards, but his greatest damage came on scoring plays of 17 and 18 yards, with one-handed grabs on each in the back of the end zone.
2. Match muscle with muscle. Check. The Bills' offensive line did a nice job of winning many of the battles up front against the Seahawks' defensive line, which was missing its best player, injured end Michael Bennett.
The Bills rushed for 162 yards on 38 carries, an average of 4.3 yards per rush. LeSean McCoy, returning from his hamstring injury, had a game-high 85 yards on 21 carries, an average of four yards per attempt.
3. Figure out how to deal with the extreme crowd noise. Check. Except for one delay-of-game penalty in the first quarter, the Bills did pretty well in this department.
Their offense overcame noise from a record crowd of 69,084 to move the ball effectively. Tyrod Taylor showed good poise for most of the game, and did have the Bills on the brink of possibly pulling the game out in the final seconds.
As a whole, the offensive line showed pretty good discipline. But it didn't matter. The Seahawks' defense was able to do its job and hang on to allow Seattle to get its first win after a tie and a loss.
4. Avoid third-down disasters. Check-plus. The Bills' offensive line more than held its own against one of the more physical defenses in the NFL. And that was a major reason the Bills were able to convert 12 of 17 first downs (71 percent).
The Seahawks converted only two of seven third downs (29 percent).
As was the case with the Bills' huge time-of-possession advantage, the statistic didn't mean a whole lot in the end.
5. Top-paid players need to play that way. Check ... for the most part.
McCoy ran well and did a good job of catching the ball. Jerry Hughes blocked a punt that set up the Bills' first touchdown and had a sack for a 10-yard loss. Kyle Williams also had a sack.
Once again, Stephon Gilmore did not play well. Nor did anyone else in the secondary.