SEATTLE (AP) — Another Monday night of controversy and madness involving the Seattle Seahawks.
For the third time in the past five seasons, a Monday night game in Seattle finished with most of the attention on the mistakes of officials, this time after the Seahawks beat the Buffalo Bills 31-25.
For how good Jimmy Graham, Russell Wilson and Tyrod Taylor were in putting on an entertaining primetime performance, their efforts became overshadowed by officiating mistakes at the end of the first half that eventually played a role in the final outcome.
"I'm not really sure what happened. I will say the refs were horrible at managing it," said Taylor, who had one of the best performances of his career throwing for 289 yards and running for another 43 yards, and giving Buffalo a chance in the closing moments. "They made some horrible calls throughout the game, too. It's not a thing where we're blaming the refs. I just think they need to be held accountable for that and at least give some explanation."
Taylor's final pass of the night on fourth-down in the closing moments fell incomplete in the end zone and handed the Bills their third straight defeat . Taylor had to throw in that situation because of what happened at the end of the first half that cost Buffalo a shot at a reasonable field goal attempt and eventually forced the Bills to try for a touchdown in the final seconds.
The chaotic final moments of the second quarter started calmly with Dan Carpenter lining up for a 53-yard field goal with 3 seconds left and ended several minutes later with anger. Richard Sherman was called for offside and not unnecessary roughness after he crashed into Carpenter attempting to block the kick — an incorrect decision according to NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino. Buffalo was assessed an injury timeout after trainers ran on the field believing Carpenter was injured and forcing the Bills to spike the ball with 1 second left as Carpenter had to leave the field. That was followed by officials not resetting the play clock and Buffalo being assessed a delay of game and the half finally ending with Carpenter missing a 54-yard attempt.
The chaos seemed a footnote at the time with Seattle leading 28-17 at the half, and became a focal point when Buffalo rallied in the second half, but needed a touchdown at the end.
"Player safety was not in their mind. He was offside and dove at our kickers' leg while he was in motion. That's a dirty play," Buffalo linebacker Jerry Hughes said.
Seattle's been the center of crazy Monday night moments in the past. In 2012, the infamous "Fail Mary" game ended when Golden Tate caught a disputed touchdown on the final play to give Seattle a win over Green Bay, a decision that was made by replacement officials. Last year, K.J. Wright should have been called for illegal batting for knocking a fumble out of the end zone for a Seattle touchback in the final moments of a win over Detroit. The penalty would have given possession back to Detroit but no flag was thrown.
Here's what else to know from Seattle's 11th straight Monday night win:
TERRIFIC TYROD: Taylor may have upstaged Wilson on a night both quarterbacks shined. Taylor was able to use his mobility to frustrate Seattle's defense. He kept plays alive. He made smart throws. His only mistake — an interception by Sherman in the end zone — appeared to be a miscommunication with the wide receiver. Taylor completed 27 of 38 passes and was the reason Buffalo had a chance to win at the end.
HERE'S JIMMY: Graham's first one-handed touchdown catch was good. The second was spectacular. And neither catch included Graham hurdling a defensive back in the open field like he did.
If there was any lingering question about the health of Graham's knee, that should be gone after catching eight passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns . Graham's first TD — a 17-yarder from Wilson — came with his left hand getting held. The second TD — from 18 yards — was with Nickell Robey-Coleman draped on him in coverage.
And if that wasn't enough, Graham hurdled Stephon Gilmore in the open field.
ABANDON HOPE: Seattle gave up on the run game against Buffalo. The Seahawks ran the ball just 12 times for 33 yards, although that included 3-yard TD runs by Wilson and Christine Michael.
HARVIN RETURNS: Percy Harvin played a week after coming out of retirement. Harvin was in for a small handful of play but was not targeted and was not used on special teams.
He did have a special role as one of Buffalo's pregame captains against his former team.
"It was just like I expected," Harvin said. "I wanted to keep my emotions in check. That was one of my big things."
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