TORONTO — They’re playing their best football at the right time – at the end of the season with an eye toward the postseason.
The Seattle Seahawks scored at least 50 points in back-to-back games for the third time in NFL history – and the first time since 1950 – with a 50-17 romp over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday in front of a festive crowd of 40,770 at the Rogers Centre.
Seattle defensive end Red Bryant was proud of his team’s effort, but already had his attention focused on the upcoming matchup against NFC West rival San Francisco.
“We’re playing lights out right now,” Bryant said. “We just have to keep the momentum going. We’re all looking forward to Sunday night against the 49ers. Nothing else has to be said.”
San Francisco clinched a playoff berth with a 41-34 win at New England. The Seahawks (9-5) are 11/2 games behind the 49ers (10-3-1).
The Seahawks, with wins over San Francisco and St. Louis in their final two games of the season at home and a 49ers’ loss in their final game of the season at home against Arizona, would claim their second NFC West title in three seasons under coach Pete Carroll.
Sparkling performances are becoming old stuff for Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.
Buffalo’s defense looked baffled trying to defend the strong-armed quarterback with the quick feet.
Wilson scored three rushing touchdowns and threw for another TD in the first half (a 4-yard toss to tight end Zach Miller), becoming the first to do that in NFL history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Wilson finished with 205 yards passing on 14-of-23 accuracy, and also ran nine times for 92 yards.
“I’m blessed to be a Seahawk,” Wilson said. “This is the team that I wanted to come to, so it’s a blessing to play here.”
In his first game against his former team, running back Marshawn Lynch topped 100 yards for the eighth time this season, finishing with 113 yards on 10 carries, including a 13-yard touchdown run.
The Seahawks finished with 466 yards of total offense – the third consecutive week Seattle’s offense has put up over 400 yards of offense.
“What’s important is that you continue to execute really well regardless of the circumstances and who you’re playing,” Carroll said. “Our guys played football like we’re capable of playing.”
Seattle also notched the team’s first three-game winning streak since December 2011, and scored at least 50 points in consecutive games for the first time.
The Seahawks are currently the No. 5 seed in the NFC. Washington (8-6) is the NFC East Division leader by virtue of the Redskins’ win over Cleveland. Chicago (8-6), Dallas (8-6) and the new York Giants (8-6) also remain in the hunt for a wild card spot.
The Bills dropped to 5-9.
The Seahawks scored on their first five possessions in jumping out to a 31-7 lead, and had a streak of 78 points scored dating back to the Chicago game Dec. 2 before Buffalo got on the board with 34 seconds to go in the first quarter on a 14-yard run by C.J. Spiller.
Spiller became the third running back this season to rush for more than 100 yards against Seattle, finishing with 103 yards on 17 carries to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career.
The Bills made a game of it in the second quarter. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick engineered a nine-play, 82-yard drive, capped by a 20-yard touchdown pass to Stevie Johnson.
And after a three-and-out by Seattle, the Bills marched into field-goal position and got a 41-yarder from kicker Rian Lindell, a Washington State University and Seahawks player, to make it 31-17 at halftime.
Buffalo had some momentum and the ball to open the second half. However, Fitzpatrick turned it over three consecutive times in the third quarter, including a spectacular 57-yard interception return by Seattle safety Earl Thomas for a score – the first of his career – which led to the fourth quarter basically turning into a scrimmage for a second consecutive game.
Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright got things started, picking off Fitzpatrick on first-and-15 from Buffalo’s 34 on a pass intended for tight end Scott Chandler.
Wright returned the ball to the Buffalo 24, and Lynch bowled into the end zone two plays later from 13 yards.
On Buffalo’s ensuing possession, defensive end Chris Clemons sacked Fitzpatrick at midfield, stripping him of the ball. Defensive end Bruce Irvin recovered and raced to Buffalo’s 10-yard line. Seattle had to settle for a Steven Hauschka field goal.
Clemons finished with 21/2 sacks, pushing his total to a career-high 111/2 on the season and reaching double digits in sacks for a third consecutive season.
Thomas put the game away with his 57-yard interception return for a touchdown on the following possession, giving Seattle a 47-17 lead midway through the third quarter.Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 eric.williams@ thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks @eric_d_williams