TORONTO - Russell Wilson took another step toward greatness Sunday. Actually, several steps.
And the Seattle Seahawks moved another step closer to the playoffs, while still having a shot at an NFC West title.
Wilson, a precocious rookie quarterback, rushed for 92 yards and three scores, and he passed for another touchdown as the Seahawks remained the NFL's hottest team, pummeling the Buffalo Bills, 50-17, in the Rogers Centre.
It marked the second consecutive Sunday the Seahawks reached the half-century mark in points - they clobbered Arizona 58-0 the week before - and improved their record to 9-5. They've won five of their last six and would win their division if they beat San Francisco and St. Louis in their final two games and the 49ers also lose to Arizona in their final game.
The Bills, meanwhile, continue to wallow in mediocrity. They dropped to 5-9 and are officially eliminated from playoff contention, extending their streak of consecutive seasons without a playoff berth to 13, the longest such streak in the league.
Wilson's day began inauspiciously when he was sacked by Bills linebacker Kelvin Sheppard for a seven-yard loss on the game's first play from scrimmage. It got a lot better after that, as the third-round pick from Wisconsin rushed for touchdowns from 14, 25 and 13 yards out and threw a four-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Miller as the Seahawks built a 31-17 lead.
"I think you saw today how he took over the game,'' Miller said. "He is scoring with his feet, making great throws, extending plays and then still looking downfield and getting the ball out. Or just running for a few yards here and there. Real tough on a defense to defend."
Not surprisingly, his development has coincided with the Seahawks' hot streak.
"You can see now, we're really playing offense with Russell,'' said Seattle coach Pete Carroll. "For a long time, we were just trying to get our offense going and not screw it up and make sure that he could keep growing and taking positive steps. Well, we're past that now. We know whatever we're calling, something good can happen."
Wilson, who completed 14 of 23 passes for 205 yards, guided the Seahawks to 466 yards. His nine victories ties him with Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts for most wins this season by a rookie quarterback. Seattle's offense also was fueled by running back Marshawn Lynch. A 2007 first-round Bills draft pick, Lynch rushed for 113 yards and one score on 10 carries in his first meeting against his former team.
"Our offense is really explosive right now and we do so many multiple, different things to attack the defense,'' said Wilson, who has 11 touchdown passes and just one interception the past six games. "In terms of throwing the ball, in terms of running, along with a couple of trick plays here and there, it's hard to stop. It all starts with the offensive line. They're doing an unbelievable job of protecting me. And they're doing an unbelievable job with run blocking and helping to extend the runs for Marshawn and the rest of the running backs."
The Bills threatened to get back into the game on the first drive of the second half, but wound up turning the ball over on three consecutive possessions, leading to 17 Seattle points.
"We obviously did not come out sharp, but had some points there at the end of the half and getting the ball first (in the second half), we felt like we had a little momentum,'' said Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who threw for 217 yards and a score. "We came out and I had the interception -- kind of lost all momentum that we had and went downhill from there fast."
Fitzpatrick wound up being picked off twice and losing a fumble on a sack, killing any chance of a Bills comeback.
Running back C.J. Spiller and wide receiver Stevie Johnson were among the few bright spots for the Bills. Spiller rushed for 103 yards and became the 12th back in team history to run for 1,000 yards in a season. Johnson had eight receptions for 115 yards and one touchdown.
Following the opening sack, Wilson completed his first four passes and capped a 10-play, 76-yard drive with a 14-yard run to put Seattle up 7-0 five minutes into the game.
The Bills were forced to punt, and Wilson worked his magic again, finishing a five-play, 67-yard drive with a 25-yard touchdown run to give the Seahawks a 14-0 lead with 5:46 left in the first. In his first two series, Wilson was 5-for-5 passing for 67 yards and had four carries for 59 yards and two scores.
Buffalo closed the gap to 14-7 on its next possession when Spiller scored on a 14-yard run. Fitzpatrick completed all four of his passes on the drive for 45 yards.
The Seahawks pushed the lead to 10 points early in the second quarter on Steven Hauschka's 19-yard field goal. The score was set up by a 44-yard pass from Wilson to Golden Tate on flea-flicker that featured a handoff to Lynch and a lateral back to Wilson.
Seattle made it 24-7 on its fourth series when Wilson tossed a four-yard touchdown pass to tight end Miller. One snap earlier, Lynch had burst off tackle for 44 yards.
Wilson struck again on the Seahawks' next possession, scoring on a 13-yard run to increase Seattle's cushion to 31-7.
Buffalo responded with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Fitzpatrick to Johnson with 1:10 remaining in the half.
The Bills cut the deficit to 14 points on Rian Lindell's 41-yard field goal as time expired in the half.
On its first series of the third quarter, Buffalo was driving for the score that would have cut the lead to one touchdown. However, after Johnson made a circus catch for 25 yards to the Bills' 44, Fitzpatrick was picked off by Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright, who returned the ball to the Buffalo 20. Two plays later, Lynch ran it in from the 13. The Seahawks led 37-17 after Bills tackle Marcell Dareus blocked the extra point.
Fitzpatrick turned it over again on Buffalo's next possession. He was sacked by defensive end Chris Clemons, and the ball was picked up by Bruce Irvin, who returned it to the Bills' 10. Buffalo's defense held, and Hauschka kicked a 33-yard field goal to make it 40-17.
Seattle's opportunistic defense came through again on Buffalo's next possession, when free safety Earl Thomas intercepted Fitzpatrick and returned the ball 57 yards for a touchdown to inflate Seattle's lead to 47-17.
Hauschka kicked a 23-yard field goal with 9:17 remaining in the game to close out the scoring.
NOTES: The Seahawks are now 8-20 in games in the Eastern time zone in the past decade. Sunday's win was Seattle's first East Coast victory in four attempts this season. ... The Bills are 1-4 in regular-season home games in Toronto. ... Wilson established a record for most rushing touchdowns by a Seattle quarterback in a game. ... Spiller reached the 1,000-yard rushing mark in just 154 carries. Beattie Feathers is the only player in NFL history to require fewer carries to accumulate 1,000 rushing yards. He gained 1,004 yards on 119 carries for the Chicago Bears in 1934. ... Fitzpatrick moved into third place all-time on the Bills' passing-touchdown list by throwing No. 78 of his Buffalo career. Jack Kemp had 77. ... Carroll began his NFL career as a defensive backs coach with the Bills in 1984. ... The attendance was 40,770 -- about 10,000 shy of a sellout.