Seahawks win big in Toronto, beat Bills 50-17

Tom Szczerbowski

The Seahawks became just the third team in NFL history to score 50+ points in back-to-back games, and the first in 62 years to do it, by beating the Bills 50-17 today in Toronto. Seattle scored on their first five possessions, and after the Bills mounted a bit of a comeback in the 2nd quarter to cut the halftime lead to 31-17, Seattle ran away with it in the 2nd half thanks to a couple of turnovers created by the defense. Seattle moves to 9-5 on the season and are legitimately one of the hottest teams in the NFL, something I'm sure Pete Carroll had in mind as he neglected to step back off the gas pedal much even late in the game, instead deciding to compete until the final whistle. I'm sure the national media discussion will default to 'running up the score' complaints rather than 'the Seahawks are actually a pretty good team at football', but whatever.

The story of the first half was Russell Wilson and the Seahawks utilizing the read-option to run all over the Bills, and against that look, Buffalo had no answer. Russell Wilson scored three rushing touchdowns (two on read-option keepers) and added a passing TD to Zach Miller (on a read-option play-fake) to become the first quarterback in NFL history with 3 rushing touchdowns and a passing touchdown in the same half.

Let me repeat that: Russell Wilson is the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for 3 touchdowns and throw for another touchdown in the same half. That's pretty sweet.

On the game, Wilson finished 14 of 23 for 205 yards and a touchdown pass - again, not many passing attempts for the rookie, despite the gaudy score, and he rushed 9 times for 92 yards and 3 TDs. Marshawn Lynch certainly did his part as well, turning his 10 carries into 113 yards and a score.

The defense, after a bit of a shaky 2nd quarter, specifically matching up against the Bills' two top weapons, C.J. Spiller and Stevie Johnson, bounced back big-time in the final two quarters, grabbing three turnovers on an Earl Thomas pick six, a K.J. Wright interception, and a Chris Clemons strip-sack that was recovered by Bruce Irvin and returned to the 10-yard line.

Seattle's pressure schemes mounted up in the 2nd half and the Hawks got home three times - with 2.5 going to Chris Clemons and a half-sack to Jason Jones. The platoon of Byron Maxwell, Jeremy Lane, and Richard Sherman at cornerback worked about as well as you'd expect -- it looked shaky at times, particularly in the slot, but overall not too shabby. The slot cornerback position is exceedingly hard, particularly for younger inexperienced players that don't have a great feel in space, so the absence of Walter Thurmond hurt at times. That said, Ryan Fitzpatrick finished with tepid 55% completion rate on 21 of 38 passing for 217 yards and a touchdown. Scott Chandler and Stevie Johnson both out highlight reel catches on high/inaccurate passes to boost that number.

The Seahawks finished 5 of 11 on 3rd downs, which was a nice sign, and two of the biggest conversions came on their first drive, as they kept the drive alive on consecutive 3rd and 7's. The Hawks went on to score a touchdown and set the tone of the game, which I thought was pretty integral. They were 1-for-1 on fourth down, a late game fake punt that I'm sure will be a big talking point for pundits this week.

Seattle didn't turn the ball over, and pushed their season ratio to +11. That number has been creeping up over the last few weeks, obviously was buoyed by the +7 ratio last week, and it's something that Carroll constantly espouses to his team. Create turnovers, take care of the ball, and road games become infinitely easier to win.

New England plays San Francisco tonight, so buckle up. With a Patriots win, next week's Sunday Night Football matchup has the potential to determine the NFC West Divisional Championship. Hold on to your butts.
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