Special teams leads Bills to dominant win over banged-up Seahawks

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Brian Moorman couldn't wait until the final stats sheet was delivered to the Buffalo Bills' locker room. The punter wanted to see, firsthand, what it looked like to have a perfect passer rating.

"I want to frame it," said Moorman, who threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to defensive end Ryan Denney on a fake field goal to register the NFL-best 158.3 rating.

Perfect, might also come close to describing how everyone else -- offense, defense and special teams -- played in helping Buffalo open the regular season with a dominating 34-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

"How about that?" Moorman said. "It's nice to come out of the gate with a decisive win. Hopefully, we made a statement today."

It's early, no doubt. But if the Bills' objective is to end an eight-year playoff drought this season, they got off to a very promising start in blowing out the four-time defending NFC West champions.

It was a victory that began and ended with Buffalo's special teams. Roscoe Parrish returned a punt 63 yards for a touchdown to put the Bills up 14-0 in the second quarter. Then there was kicker Rian Lindell, who recovered a fumble on a kickoff that set up Trent Edwards' 30-yard touchdown pass to Robert Royal -- 20 seconds after Denney scored.

Moorman became the first Bills punter to throw a touchdown pass, and first NFL punter to do so since Pittsburgh's Josh Miller on Dec. 28, 2003. He caught the Seahawks completely flat-footed in finding the 6-foot-7 Denney wide open in the left flats.

"That's a good question," Denney said, of how he eluded the Seahawks after making sure to check in with the official. "I was thinking the whole time they were going to see me over there. ... Just a great play and it worked like we wanted it to."

The Seahawks, by comparison, looked completely unprepared.

"We got kicked around pretty good today," said Mike Holmgren, who opened his final season as the Seahawks' head coach. "It's one of those games we're going to learn a painful lesson. But we'll be better next week."

They couldn't have played much worse.

Matt Hasselbeck was rusty after missing most of the preseason with a back injury. He completed only one of his first eight attempts, and finished 17-of-41 for 190 yards, with a touchdown to Nate Burleson and an interception.

Then again, Hasselbeck didn't get much help from a banged-up receiving corps that was minus two starters -- Deion Branch (knee) and Bobby Engram (shoulder) -- and then lost Burleson, who left in the third quarter with a left knee injury.

"It was just one of those things you deal with, but that's not why we lost today," Hasselbeck said, referring to his receivers.

Holmgren had no explanation as to how the Seahawks missed covering Denney.

"It's embarrassing for us when a play like that works, but give them credit," he said.

There was plenty of credit to go around to a Bills special teams unit that has statistically been among the best in the NFL for the past four seasons. That was evident on Parrish's return, as he zigged and zagged through nearly the entire Seahawks coverage unit, finally breaking John Carlson's tackle at the Seattle 25 before outracing three defenders into the end zone.

It was Parrish's third career touchdown return and first since he ran one back 74 yards in last year's opener against Denver.

The special teams took the pressure off Edwards, opening his first season as the Bills starter; and an offense that had difficulty scoring last year. The 34 points came from a team that failed to score 20 a dozen times last season. They were also four more than Buffalo combined to score in its final three games of 2007.

Edwards finished 19-of-30 for 215 yards and a touchdown, while Marshawn Lynch had 76 yards rushing, including a 21-yard touchdown.

The Bills defense did its part, finishing with five sacks and forcing 11 punts.

"There were a lot of questions about us as a team and as a defense," defensive tackle Marcus Stroud said. "And we were able to go out there and put on a good showing."

Game notes
Parrish set a single-game team record with 120 yards in punt returns. It was his third career return touchdown and first since he ran one back 74 yards in last year's opener against Denver. ... Burleson told reporters he expects to play next week, but Holmgren would only say that the player will be evaluated after having tests on Monday. ... Seahawks RB Maurice Morris left with a knee injury and will also be evaluated Monday.