TORONTO — It wasn’t that long ago when Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was worried about overwhelming rookie quarterback Russell Wilson with too much information.
That’s no longer a concern after Wilson and the surging Seahawks showed they’re capable of piling up points north of the border, too.
A week after a 58-0 win at home against Arizona, Wilson ran for three touchdowns and threw for another in a 50-17 rout of the Bills in Buffalo’s annual game in Toronto on Sunday.
“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.”
Wilson was unstoppable during a first half in which he directed scoring drives on the Seahawks’ first five possessions in building a 31-7 lead. It was a stretch in which he scored on 14-, 25- and 13-yard runs to become the NFL’s first quarterback to run for three touchdowns in one half since Daunte Culpepper did it against Chicago on Sept. 3, 2000, according to STATS. And Wilson’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Zach Miller was his 21st of the season, moving into a tie for second with Cam Newton among NFL rookies. Only Peyton Manning, with 26 in 1998, has more.
Then the Seahawks’ opportunistic defense took over by forcing three consecutive turnovers to start the second half, including safety Earl Thomas scoring on 57-yard interception return.
“We’re definitely clicking well,” Wilson said, a third-round draft pick out of Wisconsin. “I’ve been on a couple of teams that have scored that many in college. But to do it in the National Football League, I mean that’s really tough to do.”
He’s not kidding.
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, according to STATS. And the 108 combined points over two weeks matched the NFL’s third-highest total. The New England Patriots also scored 108 points in consecutive games last month, according to STATS.
And it’s happening with the Seahawks (9-5) mounting a playoff push. They’ve won for the fifth time in six games and still aren’t out of the running to win the NFC West. They return home to host division-leading San Francisco in what has become a key showdown.
The Bills (5-9) find themselves in a familiar state of unraveling. They were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention for a 13th season — the NFL’s longest active drought. And their performance further raises questions about coach Chan Gailey’s job security.
“We played bad. We played poorly. And when you play poorly against a good football team you’re going to look extremely bad,” Gailey said. “You’re angry at yourself because you didn’t get the team ready to play at the level they needed to play.”
The defense had a meltdown in giving up 45 or more points three times this season.
The offense sputtered for much of the first half before scoring 10 points in the final 1:10 cut the Seahawks’ lead to 31-17.
And then things got ugly.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two interceptions and lost a fumble in turning the ball over on each of the Bills’ first three possessions. The Seahawks capitalized by turning the three turnovers into 17 points.
“It went downhill from there fast,” said Fitzpatrick, who was more upset about how the team’s performance reflected on Gailey. “We played poorly and it reflects poorly on him. It 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.
Wilson went 14 of 23 for 205 yards passing, and had 92 yards rushing.
It was an outing that came on an international stage on a day the NFL’s two most talked about rookie quarterbacks were either hurt — Washington’s Robert Griffin III — or lost — Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck.
“The kid is destined to be great,” receiver Golden Tate said. “You didn’t expect Russell Wilson to even be in the Rookie of the Year talk. The fact that he’s responded and led this team this far, I think that says a lot.”
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 2 1/2 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!”
At least they were entertained by both the Seahawks and at halftime by Korean pop star PSY performed his hit “Gangnam Style” at midfield.
The announced crowd of 40,770 was well below the downtown domed Rogers Centre’s capacity of 54,000. And many who stuck around for the second half started rooting for the Seahawks.
That was fine for Carroll, who made his first trip to Toronto.
“This was exciting for us. We looked at it like a little bit of a bowl-game situation,” Carroll said. “The 12th man north was there.”
NOTES: While there were numerous fans dressed in Bills and Seahawks colors, fans were spotted wearing a Steelers’ Troy Polamalu jersey, and another wearing a Tom Brady No. 12 Patriots jersey. ... 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 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.