First quarter: Running start
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson does not have the speed of Washington rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. But Wilson’s 4.55 time in the 40-yard dash is elite for a quarterback and was second only to Griffin’s 4.41 time among this year’s QB crop.
Wilson showed his running ability on Seattle’s first two drives. He capped the first with a 14-yard run for a touchdown. He capped the second with a 25-yard TD run.
Seattle was ahead, 14-0, just 9:21 into the game. Wilson entered the game as Seattle’s second-leading rusher, with 310 yards. That ranked fourth most among NFL quarterbacks. Wilson was a pass-first QB in college, playing in a West Coast attack. But he did have a nose for the end zone. He scored 23 rushing TDs in his college career.
Key plays: C.J. Spiller scored on a 14-yard run with 34 seconds left to pull the Bills within 14-7. A 17-yard pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Stevie Johnson preceded the score.
Fast starts: The Seahawks entered the game outscoring foes, 70-44, in the first quarter, the fourth “fastest starting” team in the league, in terms of points differential.
Second quarter: The Beast goes on
Marshawn Lynch showed his old team what it has been missing the past two-plus seasons with a rumbling performance in the second quarter.
Lynch gained 79 yards on five carries and set up Seattle’s third touchdown with a 54-yard run up the middle of the field to the Buffalo 4. Lynch finished the first half with 100 yards.
Acquired from the Bills early in the 2010 season, Lynch has been on a tear for Seattle since late in the 2011 season. He entered the game with 2,207 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns in his last 22 games, a 100-yards-per-game average. That’s the best in the NFL over that span. Lynch is in position to become just the third Seattle back to top 1,500 yards in a season, joining Shaun Alexander and Chris Warren.
Key plays: The Bills marched 82 yards in nine plays and 4:24 to get a touchdown. It came on a 20-yard pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Stevie Johnson, who ran a flag route to the left side of the end zone and beat cornerback Richard Sherman.
Rolling up the yards: Seattle outgained the Bills, 329-197, in the first half.
Third quarter: Sack master
Seattle hit a home run with a 2010 trade for defensive end Chris Clemons that did not make big headlines.
Clemons had managed three sacks in 2009 and four in 2008 for the Philadelphia Eagles. They sent him to Seattle for a fourth-round draft pick and journeyman Darryl Tapp. Clemons had shown a glimmer of pass-rush talent in 2007 when he had eight sacks for Oakland.
He has recaptured that form and then some for Seattle. Clemons had 11 sacks in both 2010 and 2011, and he reached 11 sacks this season with two in the third quarter.
Clemons’ second sack came around left tackle Cordy Glenn, and Clemons stripped the ball out of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s hands. Seattle’s Bruce Irvin scooped it up and returned it 35 yards to the Buffalo 10. It led to a 33-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka that gave Seattle a 40-17 lead.
Key plays: Seattle scored on a 58-yard interception return by Earl Thomas to go up, 47-17. The Seahawks also got a 13-yard touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch. Seattle almost had an 83-yard punt return TD, but it was called back due to an illegal-block penalty.
Fourth quarter: Pointed
There are mercy rules sometimes in little league, but not in the NFL. So it was when Seattle ran a fake punt for a 29-yard gain up the middle of the field on a fourth-and-2 play from the Buffalo 43. The Seahawks were up, 47-17, at the time. They turned the play into a field goal. Seattle was accused of running up the score last week when it was throwing the ball late in its 58-0 rout of the Arizona Cardinals.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said it was an “automatic” call on the field and said he regretted the play.
“You guys can draw your own opinions from that,” quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. “I don’t know that that’s really my style.”
Key play: The Seahawks got a 33-yard field goal from Steven Hauschka to go ahead, 50-17.
Atmosphere: Fans were chanting, “Let’s go Blue Jays” in the final seven minutes. A tall, shirtless male fan ran onto the field and ripped off his trousers. He made it 70 yards before being hauled down by security personnel. He spared himself some indignity. He was wearing underpants.