The Buffalo Bills treated Toronto to a paltry performance on Sunday that ousted them from playoff contention – badly out-classed by the Seattle Seahawks and their speedy star first-year quarterback, who continues to attract rookie-of-the-year consideration.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson scampered for three touchdowns and threw for another, while ex-Bill Marshawn Lynch rushed for 113 yards and a major as they drummed the Bills 50-17 to bolster their playoff chances and kill off Buffalo's.
The Bills suffered from turnovers, porous defence, and little offensive momentum in losing for the fourth time in five straight yearly visits to Toronto. The team has missed the postseason every year since 1999, and will do so again after a hopeful 3-3 start morphed into a 5-9 disappointment with two meaningless games left.
"If you play poorly against a good football team, you're going to look extremely bad," said Buffalo head coach Gailey, angry at himself, he noted, for not preparing the team well enough in the buildup to the game.
"We'd drop a pass here and there and kill drives. We're not good enough to misfire and keep things going."
The Bills sacked Wilson on Seattle's opening offensive play. But the rookie quarterback quickly brushed that off, methodically moving the chains, faking out the Bills defence to take off on long runs, darting into the end zone himself on his team's first two drives.
Fleet-footed Bills running back C.J. Spiller answered quickly for the Bills, scampering in on his own 14-yard run for his seventh touchdown of the year. Spiller had 17 carries for 103 yards, surpassing the 1,000-yard threshold on the season for the first time in his three-year NFL career.
It once again made one wonder where the Bills might be if he had been given more carries this season.
Then, Lynch blew through the Bills defence with a 54-yard run, and Wilson finished off the drive with an easy four-yard scoring pass to tight end Zach Miller. Wilson then scored another on foot.
The Bills inched a little closer with a 20-yard touchdown toss from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to receiver Stevie Johnson and a Rian Lindell field goal. But then Buffalo went completely scoreless in the second half before the announced crowd of 40,770, well below the Rogers Centre's capacity of 54,000.
"I'm very frustrated," said Fitzpatrick, showing a vastly different persona after this contest than the funny, high-spirited quarterback who met media after leading the Bills to victory in Toronto last year and had earned a big extension. "We obviously didn't come out sharp, but we had some points there at the end of the half, then had the ball first and it felt like we had some momentum, but I had the interception and it felt like we lost all momentum we had, and it went downhill real fast."
Lynch, who the Bills traded away in 2010, re-padded the Seattle lead in the third with his 13-yard scoring run. And then in perhaps the most blundering moment of the day for Buffalo, Seattle safety Earl Thomas picked off a Fitzpatrick pass, picked himself off the turf untouched and shook off countless lurching Bills during a harried 57-yard trip to the house. The Seahawks also had two field goals by Steven Hauschka. They even called a fake punt despite their huge lead late in the game. Seattle head coach Pete Carroll would later say he felt bad about that call. Seattle improves to 9-5 with the win.
Fitzpatrick completed 21 of 38 passes for 217 yards and two picks. Several of his passes bounced out of the hands of Buffalo receivers. The loss overshadowed a good day for Buffalo's star pass-catcher, Johnson, who had eight catches for 115 yards, including a leaping one-hander.
"Coach said it's about playing for pride now," said Johnson. "It isn't adjustments. Forget that, it's just about football now."
It was the last of the yearly Bills sojourns in Toronto under the initial five-year deal between the team and Rogers Communications. The two parties are discussing an extension.