Sunday, December 16, 2012
Wrap-up: Seahawks 50, Bills 17
By Mike Sando
Thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks' victory over the Buffalo Bills in Toronto:
What it means: The Seahawks improved to 9-5, ensuring their first winning season since 2007. They strengthened their hold on a wild-card playoff berth, at least. This victory sets up a potentially pivotal Week 16 game against the NFC West-leading San Francisco 49ers. A 49ers defeat at New England in the Sunday night game would put first place on the line at CenturyLink Field next week. The Seahawks have won five of their past six games thanks largely to outstanding play from rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.
What I liked: Everything about the Seattle offense. Three first-half rushing touchdowns from Wilson and consistently productive running from Marshawn Lynch allowed the Seahawks to control the game. Wilson entered this game without a rushing touchdown in the NFL, but his threat as a runner has become more pronounced. This marked a continuation of Wilson's late-game rushing against Chicago two weeks ago. He also threw the ball well, but Seattle did not need his arm much in this game.
Defensively, the Seahawks' rookie cornerback, Jeremy Lane, did a good job defending the deep ball early. Buffalo appeared interested in testing him deep downfield. Lane and the secondary fared well in that area even though corners Brandon Browner (suspended) and Walter Thurmond (injured) did not play. Second-year linebacker K.J. Wright picked off a pass in the third quarter. Up front, Chris Clemons had two sacks, including one producing a fumble return for teammate Bruce Irvin. Jason Jones pressured Ryan Fitzpatrick into a pick-six throw, one Earl Thomas returned 57 yards.
What I didn't like: The defense was too forgiving early in the game. C.J. Spiller found ample running room. The pass-rush wasn't very effective until the score was out of hand. Kicker Steven Hauschka had an extra-point try blocked.
Running it up: The Seahawks executed a successful fake punt while holding a 47-17 lead in the fourth quarter. The play set up a field goal for a 50-17 lead. Last week, the Seahawks threw for the end zone on a fourth-and-23 play while holding a 51-0 lead over the Arizona Cardinals. Throwing a conventional pass while blowing out an opponent differs from using tactics such as onside kicks and fake punts.
Eye-popping numbers: The Seahawks have outscored their last two opponents by a 108-17 margin. They have exceeded 460 total yards against each of their past three opponents. The Seahawks and 49ers combined for more than 1,000 yards against the Bills this season.
What's next: The Seahawks close out the regular season with home games against San Francisco and St. Louis.