A punt return for a touchdown, a fake field goal pass for a touchdown and a forced fumble for a takeaway that led to a touchdown one play later summed up the day for Bobby April's special teams as they effectively put the game away in a 34-10 opening victory over Seattle.
"It set the momentum especially on offense," said Roscoe Parrish of the special teams performance. "Special teams was a big part of that game. (Ryan) Denney had that big touchdown, we had a forced fumble and my punt return. That always sets the momentum and gets the team going."
After Buffalo's offense staked the Bills to a 7-0 first quarter lead, Parrish took back a Seattle punt 63 yards on an electrifying run to pay dirt for a 14-0 advantage midway through the second quarter.
Parrish was nervous about cutting his return back to the middle of the field so late, but got some key blocks from John DiGiorgio, Jon Corto and Jabari Greer on the play to help spring him.
"When you break for a long run like that you don't want to cut back inside because all the pursuit is coming back from the inside and everything, but the guys just did a good job of holding their block," said Parrish. "That's the key thing when you're taking a punt return back is the guys have to hold onto their blocks and I just do whatever I have to do just to get past their block and get to the end zone."
Parrish avoided a few coverage players all by himself as well for his third career punt return for a score. It was the second straight season opener in which he returned a punt for a touchdown making him the first such player in NFL history.
"When I return punts I just try to have fun and trust in the guys in front of me and just know they're going to do a good job blocking and also you've just got to have that swag back there and that first man just never let him tackle you," said Parrish.
Parrish also broke the franchise record for most punt return yards in a career (1,110), previously held by Jeff Burris (1,045) and broke Parrish's own record for most punt return yards in a game (104) with 120.
"When he touches the ball you can sense it in our stadium," said head coach Dick Jauron. "The people they start to buzz, they expect him to do it. I guess electrifying is the right word for him. The guys do a great job. They blocked well and then they stay alive because they know he may go by you three or four times on one run. So if you miss a block or get a block you have to get up and keep going because he keeps it alive for a long time."
Buffalo's offense added a pair of field goals to their tally in the second quarter including a well executed drive in the final 34 seconds before the half to make it 20-7.
Seattle tried to chip away at the Bills lead and trimmed the deficit to 10 on a 45-yard field goal by Olindo Mare. But on Buffalo's ensuing possession a 22-yard throw from Trent Edwards to Lee Evans set up a 1st-and-10 at the Seahawks 22. The drive appeared to have stalled as Buffalo lined up for a 39-yard field goal.
But Ryan Denney inconspicuously lined up wide left after reporting to the official, Brian Moorman took the snap, promptly stood up and fired a 19-yard touchdown strike to the defensive end for a 27-10 third quarter lead. With the throw Moorman became the first punter in Bills history to throw a touchdown pass.
"I got my first career touchdown pass and I was kidding with the guys saying that I want to see that stat sheet so I can see my (passer) rating," said Moorman. "I'm going to relish it and it is going to be a good day."
"I was thinking the whole time they were going to see me over there," said Denney. "I tried to blend in with the sidelines. That was the way coach April drew it up and the referee there was trying to make sure that I checked in and I had and maybe that helped with the disguises, but just a great play that coach April drew up and it worked like we wanted it to."
Buffalo's specialists weren't done yet. On the ensuing kickoff Jon Corto stripped Josh Wilson of the ball, which was recovered by Rian Lindell at the Seahawks 30.
One play later Edwards hit Robert Royal for a 30-yard touchdown reception to put the game away at the close of the third quarter (34-10).
"That's Turk's (Schonert) play calling style," said Edwards. "We had run the same exact play the play before, but it wasn't the right coverage and wasn't what we wanted. Turk had a lot of confidence in the play call. I know he had been studying their red zone coverages all week. I think that he called it at the right time."
The Bills quarterback finished the day 19-30 for 215 yards and a touchdown and a passer rating of 95.8.
The Bills defense also made a strong debut as they helped to keep the game a stalemate through most of the first quarter when Buffalo's defense was still trying to find a rhythm.
They got strong early pressure on Matt Hasselbeck disrupting the timing of Seattle's attack.
"It was critical," said Jauron of their pass pressure. "He's a veteran quarterback, he's had a lot of success and he runs that offense so well. They play an up tempo game and we've got to match them and I thought we did."
The Seahawks looked out of sync early and it never got much better. On Seattle's 16 possessions Buffalo forced them three and out seven times, recorded five sacks, 10 pass breakups, an interception and a forced fumble. They also had a goal line stand late in the fourth quarter to force a turnover on downs.
It was the first opening day victory for the Bills under Dick Jauron. Buffalo's last victory in an opener came in 2005 at home versus Houston.