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This article was published 16/12/2012 (1533 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
TORONTO -- Rookie Russell Wilson rushed for three TDs and threw for another while Earl Thomas returned an interception 57 yards for a touchdown as the Seattle Seahawks steamrolled past the Buffalo Bills 50-17 on Sunday.
Seattle (9-5), which wore new wolf-grey uniforms, earned its fifth win in six games and cemented its first winning season since going 10-6 in 2007. It also marked the second straight lopsided win for the Seahawks, who downed Arizona 58-0 last week.
Russell was certainly a central figure, completing 14-of-23 passes for 205 yards while rushing for 92 yards on nine carries before just 40,770 spectators at Rogers Centre.
And it could've been worse for Buffalo as Seattle's Leon Washington had an 86-yard punt return TD late in the third quarter nullified by an illegal block before the replay confirmed Sidney Rice didn't get both feet down on a five-yard touchdown catch in the fourth. Still, the Bills (5-9) were officially eliminated from playoff contention, extending their league-high post-season drought to 13 years.
Marshawn Lynch contributed to Buffalo's woes, rushing for 113 yards and a TD in his first game against his former team since the Bills dealt their 2007 first-round selection to Seattle in 2010.
But it was Wilson who provided the early fireworks at Rogers Centre before a series-low gathering that sported a myriad of NFL team jerseys. The 2012 third-round pick became the first quarterback to register three first-half rushing TDs since September 2000 when Minnesota's Daunte Culpepper did so versus the Chicago Bears.
Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was 21-of-38 passing for 217 yards with two interceptions and a lost fumble. Stevie Johnson had eight catches for 115 yards and a TD while C.J. Spiller added 103 yards rushing with a touchdown.
None of the Bills Toronto Series games have been a sellout at Rogers Centre, which has a seating capacity of 54,000 for football. Last month, 53,028 fans watched the Toronto Argonauts beat the Calgary Stampeders in the 100th Grey Cup game here.
Seattle maintained its hold on an NFC wild-card spot but remains in contention for the NFC West lead.
The Bills Toronto Series was unveiled in 2008 amid much fanfare as event organizers wanted to prove Toronto was a viable NFL city. Rogers Communications Inc. paid US$78 million for the contests expecting southern Ontario fans to flock to Rogers Centre whatever the cost.
But a slow economy, high-priced tickets -- initially averaging over $180 each, compared to roughly US$51 at Ralph Wilson Stadium -- and a bad Bills teams have made it a tough sell.
Event organizers have cut some ticket prices to make games more affordable, but that's not resulted in a sellout yet. The average ticket price for Sunday's game was roughly $99.
Scalpers also had to work hard for their money, with many Sunday willing to unload their tickets under face value to make a sale.
The series has given the Bills a huge financial boost. They're receiving more than double what they'd make if the games were in Orchard Park. N.Y., while being allowed to establish a foothold in Canada's biggest market.
Event organizers have struggled trying to recreate the NFL experience here. A huge attraction for many American football fans is downing a cold beer at pre-game tailgate parties, but provincial laws make that impossible in Toronto.
-- The Canadian Press