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Best Seat in the House

Photography, sports and life as seen through the lens of Seattle Times photographer Rod Mar.

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September 7, 2008 8:43 PM

Seahawks: Nothing Special About This One.

Posted by Rod Mar

You'd think after shooting sports for 17 straight days at the Olympics, I'd be ready for the opening of football season.

Think again.

Maybe it was all the Buffalo Wings.

Maybe it was being kidnapped by fellow Times' staffer Danny O'Neil and forced to watch Ultimate Fighting at a sports bar last night.

Whatever it was, I felt like it was a struggle to make good pictures today in Buffalo, as the Seahawks were dominated by the Bills, 34-10, in the season opener.

I CAN say, without much hesitation, that I likely performed better than the Seahawks.

They didn't set a very high bar today.

You can't argue that Buffalo fans don't know their football. This fan knew the Seahawks were lacking depth at receiver -- in fact, Nate Burleson is the only one of the current healthy players at that position with any extended experience in the league:

(Nikon D3, VR 70-200mm/f2.8 lens @ 130mm, ISO 800, 1/1600th sec, f3.5)

Seattle, on the road, missing starters at receiver and defensive tackle, playing with a quarterback hampered by injury in the preseason, had little room for error against the Bills.

So they promptly played terribly on offense and special teams.

Buffalo's Roscoe Parrish broke two tackles and danced and pranced his way for a 63-yard punt return for a touchdown, giving the Bills a 14-0 lead in the second quarter:

(Nikon D3, VR 200-400mm/f4 lens @ 300mm, ISO 1000, 1/1600 sec.,f4.5)

In the third quarter, as Seattle's field goal defense was preoccupied with getting enough players on the field ("hey, Marcus Trufant, nice of you to join us!"), Buffalo's Ryan Denney was lollygagging on the other side of the field.

At the snap, holder Brian Moorman lobbed a pass up the left sideline to Denney, who lumbered into the end zone untouched. It was pretty much "game over" at that point:

(Nikon D3, VR 200-400mm/f4 lens @ 300mm, ISO 1000, 1/1600 sec.,f4.5)

Seattle's offense didn't fare much better.

Maurice Morris was upended by Buffalo's Donte Whitner in the first half, where the Seahawks only managed 11 yards rushing:

(Nikon D3, VR 200-400mm/f4 lens @ 400mm, ISO 640, 1/2000 sec.,f4.0)

More than the stunted rushing game, Seattle's inexperience receivers dropped passes, including Jordan Kent's drop in the end zone:

(Nikon D3, VR 200-400mm/f4 lens @ 220mm, ISO 640, 1/2000 sec.,f4.0)

When a Seahawk did make a play, like Nate Burleson did when scoring in the second quarter, Bills fans applauded them in their own special ways (I hate having to censor photos, but apparently publishing images of fans "flipping the bird" is not allowed):

(Nikon D3, VR 200-400mm/f4 lens @ 220mm, ISO 1000, 1/1000 sec.,f4.0)

Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselback struggled without his normal complement of receivers. The extra time he needed to find open teammates resulted in sacks, scrambles and knock-downs like this one:

(Nikon D3, VR 200-400mm/f4 lens @ 340mm, ISO 1000, 1/1600 sec.,f4.5)

Frustration set in after another drop, and Hasselback could only throw up his hands:

(Nikon D3, VR 200-400mm/f4 lens @ 360mm, ISO 1000, 1/1000 sec.,f4.0)

As if all of that wasn't enough, more injuries beset the Hawks. Nate Burleson limped off in the third quarter and starting running back Maurice Morris sprained his knee and was forced to the sidelines with a heavy brace:

(Nikon D3, VR 200-400mm/f4 lens @ 220mm, ISO 640, 1/1250 sec.,f4.0)

I always try to mix in tight action shots that bring the viewer right into the play. Former University of California teammates Marshawn Lynch (Buffalo) and Brandon Mebane (Seattle) met head-on at the line of scrimmage:

(Nikon D3, VR 600mm/f4.0 lens, ISO 800, 1/1000th sec.,f4.0)

Lynch ran for 76 yards on 18 carries and scored a touchdown, then high-fived fans on his way out of the stadium.

(Nikon 14-24mm/f2.8 lens @ 24mm, ISO 400, 1/800th sec.,f4.5)

Seahawks fan Dino Gobostis of Toronto brought a handmade sign that ran in the rain and then was disappointed when his team fell to Buffalo in the season opener. While it still might be "their year", Seattle still has a way to go.

(Nikon D3, VR 70-200mm/f2.8 lens @ 200mm, ISO 400, 1/2000th sec.,f2.8)

So, that was week one. I'm rusty but that also means I have room to improve.

As Bill Murray said in "Stripes", "Talk about mass potential for growth, I am the acorn that becomes the oak!"

(P.S. Seahawks fans -- if it makes you feel any better, your team did lose its opener on the road in Jacksonville three years ago -- the same season they reached the Super Bowl.

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