TORONTO (AP) — Seattle Seahawks tight end Zach Miller breaks into a big chuckle when reminded about how many NFL teams passed up on drafting Russell Wilson.
“Yeah,” Miller said. “Good for us.”
Make room, RGIII and Andrew Luck. Wilson, the third-round draft pick out of Wisconsin, is making a case to be included in the rookie of the year conversation. And he’s bringing the Seahawks along with them on a remarkable ride as part of a late-season playoff surge in which they’ve won five of six.
Wilson had a near-perfect first half in which he ran for three touchdowns and threw for another in leading the Seahawks to their latest blowout victory, a 50-17 rout of the Bills in Buffalo’s annual game in Toronto on Sunday.
Coming off a 58-0 win at home over Arizona last week, the Seahawks became the NFL’s third team to score 50 points in consecutive weeks, joining the Los Angeles Rams and New York Giants, who both did it in 1950. And Seattle’s 108 combined points matched the third-best total, which had been set by the New England Patriots only last month.
“I’m blessed to be a Seahawk. This is the team that I wanted to come to,” said Wilson, the Wisconsin product who had to wait until the 75th pick in the draft to be selected. “So it’s a pretty great situation for me.”
The Seahawks (9-5) are in the thick of the playoff race. And they’re still in the running to challenge for the NFC West title, preparing to head home for a showdown against division rival San Francisco next weekend.
Wilson directed five straight scoring drives in helping the Seahawks build a 31-7 lead. And then the defense took over by forcing three consecutive turnovers to start the second half, including safety Earl Thomas scoring on 57-yard interception return.
The Bills (5-9) bumbled their way out of playoff contention for a 13th straight year, and extend the NFL’s longest active playoff drought.
And questions about coach Chan Gailey’s job security are once again being raised.
“We played poorly and we looked extremely bad,” Gailey said. “When you don’t play well, the buck stops with me. I understand that.”
The Bills’ defense had a meltdown. After Buffalo had allowed its past four opponents 254.25 yards offense and 16.75 points, the Seahawks had bettered that by halftime, when they scored 31 points and racked up 329 yards.
The offense wasn’t much better.
Down 31-17 at the half, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick opened the third quarter by turning the ball over on the Bills first three possessions — two interceptions and a lost fumble.
“It went downhill from there fast,” said Fitzpatrick, who worried how the performance would reflect on Gailey. “We played poorly and it reflects poorly on him. It just eats me up.”
Fitzpatrick went 21 of 38 for 217 yards with a 20-yard touchdown to Stevie Johnson. C.J. Spiller had 103 yards rushing and scored on a 14-yard run.
It wasn’t lost on the Bills’ critics that they passed up three chances to draft Wilson in April.
Gailey acknowledged he had shown interest in Wilson, but was concerned that, at 5-foot-11 and 206 pounds, he might be too small to succeed at the NFL level.
Turns out that hasn’t been a problem.
Wilson’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Zach Miller was his 21st of the season. That ties Cam Newton (2011) for the second-most by an NFL rookie, and is five behind the record set by Peyton Manning in 1998.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is so impressed by how quickly Wilson’s grasped the offense, that he’s giving the quarterback a freer rein.
“I’m just thrilled that he’s been able to continue to grow,” Carroll said. “For a time, we were just trying to get the offense going and not screw it up and make sure he could keep growing. Well, we’re past that now.”
Running back Marshawn Lynch had 113 yards rushing and scored on a 13-yard run in his first game against his former team. Defensive end Chris Clemons had 2½ of Seattle’s three sacks.
The Bills dropped to 1-4 in regular-season games at Toronto since the series began in 2008.
The Bills and Toronto-based Rogers Communications are closing in on a deal to extend the series, which expired after this game.
Torontonians might want to reconsider after this. With 5:20 left, fans in one end zone began chanting “Let’s Go Blue Jays!”
NOTES: Korean pop star PSY performed his hit “Gangnam Style” at midfield during halftime. … The announced crowd of 40,770 was well below the downtown domed Rogers Centre’s capacity of 54,000. … Spiller reached 1,000 yards rushing for the first time in his career, and needed only 154 carries to get there. That’s the second-fewest behind only the Chicago Bears’ Beattie Feathers, who reached 1,000 yards on 119 carries in 1934. … The Seahawks wore their third uniforms — “wolf grey” jerseys and pants with green numbers and names — for the first time since introducing them this offseason.
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