Slowing down former teammate Marshawn Lynch will be the top priority for the Buffalo Bills’ defense in Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks.
The Seahawks rank fourth in the NFL in rushing and 29th in passing. Lynch ranks second in the NFL in rushing yards with 1,266.
The Bills dealt Lynch to Seattle in 2010 in return for a fourth-round pick in 2011, who turned out to be tackle Chris Hairston, and a fifth-round pick in 2012, who turned out to be linebacker Tank Carder. Hairston has started 15 games over the past two seasons. Carder was cut in preseason.
Lynch’s yardage total already is the best in his six-year career. He had two 1,000-yard seasons for the Bills, in 2007 and 2008. He rushed for 1,204 yards for Seattle last year. In two-plus seasons since the trade, he has 27 rushing touchdowns, while Buffalo has 26, as a team.
“Our philosophy was to run the football and hammer the ball,” said Seattle coach Pete Carroll. “And when we went to chase to get him, that was what we had in mind, and he would be that guy. So we’re thrilled that it’s worked out, and he’s adapted. And he’s a big part of this program now.”
“I know what a physical, tough runner he is,” Bills coach Chan Gailey said. “He’s quicker than most people realize for his size. I’ve known all along that he’s a very good back.”
Lynch signed a four-year, $31 million contract in March. He has declined interview requests this week.
The Bills should have their top linebacker, Nick Barnett, available for Sunday. Barnett, who missed practice due to a sore knee, was able to work on Friday.
“He took a lot of reps and he looked fine,” coach Chan Gailey said of Barnett. “I think he’ll be OK for the game.”
Meanwhile, Bills No. 2 receiver Donald Jones is battling a calf injury and is questionable.
“It’s been bothering him off and on. He was limited. He didn’t get any reps today. We’ve got him as questionable and we’ll see. I don’t know.”
The Seahawks expect leading receiver Sidney Rice to play, even though he missed most of practice this week with a foot injury.
The Seattle cornerbacks are depleted. Seahawk starter Brandon Browner is suspended. His replacement, Walter Thurmond, did not practice Thursday due to a hamstring pull and is doubtful. Backup corner Marcus Trufant didn’t practice for two days due to a sore hamstring.