The Seahawks’ (8-5) final road game of the regular season will be in Toronto, their first regular-season game outside the U.S., where they meet the Buffalo Bills (5-8).
GAME: Seattle Seahawks (8-5, 2nd, NFC West) at Buffalo Bills (5-8-0, T3, AFC East). TYPE: Regular season. WEEK: 15. WHEN: Sunday, 1:05 p.m., PT, Rogers Center, Toronto. MEETING: 12th (Seahawks lead 6-5). STREAKS: Seahawks W 2; Bills L 1. HEAD COACHES: Chan Gailey, Buffalo; Pete Carroll, Seattle. LINE: Seahawks by 5 1/2. TV: FOX. RADIO: ESPN 710 AM, KIRO 97.3 FM.
The Seahawks try for their fifth win in six games as they head to Toronto to face the Buffalo Bills, who appear bound to miss the playoffs for the 13th consecutive season (league’s longest active drought). The Seahawks are one victory away from clinching their first winning season since they went 10-6 in 2007, and coming off their two biggest wins of the year, a 23-17 overtime victory over Chicago at Soldier Field and a record-setting, 58-0 beatdown of the Arizona Cardinals.
The Seahawks cannot clinch a playoff berth this week, but a win over Buffalo would put them on the brink. San Francisco, meanwhile, can lock up a playoff berth by winning at New England. A 49ers’ victory over the Patriots, coupled with a Seattle loss at Buffalo, would hand San Francisco the NFC West title.
In Buffalo, the Seahawksl face a club they fleeced out of Marshawn Lynch two years ago and one that features running back C.J. Spiller, a player Pete Carroll tried to recruit to USC. Lynch, whom Carroll also tried to recruit to USC, will enter the game as the NFL’s second-leading rusher (1,266 yards, nine TDs), and Spiller as the league leader in yards per carry.
“I have tremendous respect for C.J. Spiller — I liked him as a young guy growing up and tried to get him to come West and couldn’t do it,” said Carroll, who lost Spiller, a Florida native, to Clemson (and Lynch to Cal). “But I saw him as one of the great players we’ve ever come across, and boy, is he really turning it up now. They run their offense around him, and he’ll get even more activity now (with RB Fred Jackson on IR) and that means that there is a chance for them to score on every play, run or pass.
“So we’ll see if our defense can get ready for that. (Quarterback) Ryan Fitzpatrick is having a good year, and they have enough firepower to give us tons of problems. We need to carry our momentum into this last road opportunity.”
Spiller has 944 yards and five touchdowns on 144 carries – a 6.6-yard average, the NFL’s highest through 13 games since Jim Brown in 1963. Spiller can do a lot of damage in a hurry. He rushed for 169 yards on just 14 carries — a 12.07-yard average — against the Jets and 123 yards on 15 carries (8.20) against Kansas City.
Lynch faces his original NFL team for the first time. The Bills made him the 12th overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft and he delivered back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons in 2007 and 2008. But Lynch fell out of favor after that and Seahawks’ GM John Schneider, at Carroll’s urging, got him from the Bills for a fourth- and a fifth-round pick.
Buffalo used the 2011 fourth-rounder on Clemson tackle Chris Hairston, who started eight games this season before going on IR, and a fifth-round pick last spring on TCU linebacker Tank Carder, whom the Bills released during training camp.
Lynch played for part of one year (2010) under Buffalo coach Chan Gailey.
“I know what a tough, physical runner he is and he is quicker than people realize for his size,” said Gailey. “I have known all along he is a very good back and has a history of being very good. He is a big part of a very big-play offense.
“They (the Seahawks) have made a ton of big plays and they can beat you in a lot of different ways. They have good receivers and their quarterback is very productive. He can beat you with his feet. He can beat you with his arm.”
Of Seattle QB Russell Wilson, Gailey said, “He obviously has the skill set. The thing that (pre-draft) got everyone nervous was his size. If you took that out of the equation he was a very accomplished quarterback, very poised and a great leader. He has a ton of intangibles.”
The Seahawks will be without CB Walter Thurmond, who replaced the suspended Brandon Browner. Thurmond suffered a hamstring injury in practice this past week. But Seattle will have WR Sidney Rice (foot) available, good news for the Seahawks after they placed WR Charly Martin on IR (calf). Friday, the Seahawks re-signed former third round draft choice Deon Butler to replace Martin.
Red Bryant (foot) and Kam Chancellor (groin) are expected to play. Leroy Hill will start at linebacker in place of Malcolm Smith, who scored against Arizona last Sunday on a muffed punt return.
SERIES: Dates to Oct. 30, 1977, when the Seahawks won 56-17 in a Kingdome game in which Seattle QB Jim Zorn threw four touchdown passes, including a pair to Steve Largent. The Seahawks have dropped their past two to Buffalo, including a 34-10 decision Sept. 7, 2008, and three of their past four.
LAST MEETING (Bills 34, Seahawks 10, Sept. 7, 2008): Marshawn Lynch ran for 76 yards and a touchdown, leading the Bills to their second straight win over the Seahawks in a game played at Orchard Park, NY. The Seahawks scored on a 20-yard pass from Matt Hasselbeck to Nate Burleson and a 45-yard Olindo Mare field goal.
Seahawks: 8-5, 2nd, NFC West; scored 300 points (23.1 per game), ranking 19th; allowed 202 points (15.5 per game), 2nd; differential of +98 points ranks 6th. Bills: 5-8, T3, AFC East; scored 289 points (22.2), ranked 19th; allowed 352 (27.1), 27th; differential of -63 points ranks 26th.
SEAHAWKS HEAD COACH: Pete Carroll (54-54-0 career, 21-23-0 Seattle) is in his third season. In 2010, he directed Seattle to the NFC West title, the Seahawks becoming the first team in NFL history to win a division with a losing (7-9) record. Prior to joining the Seahawks, Carroll served as head coach at Southern California, where his Trojans won seven Pac-10 titles.
SEAHAWKS QUARTERBACKS: Russell Wilson at Arizona — 18 of 34 for 153 yards, 1 TD, one INT, 62.5 passer rating; vs. Dallas — 15 of 20, 151 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 112.7 rating; vs. Green Bay — 10 of 21 for 130 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 99.3 passer rating; at St. Louis — 17 of 25, 160 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs, 45.8 passer rating; at Carolina — 19 of 25, 221 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, 82.2 passer rating; vs. New England, 16 of 27, 293 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, 133.7 passer rating; at San Francisco, 9 of 23, 122 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 38.7 passer rating; at Detroit, 25 of 35 for 236 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 96.8 passer rating; vs. Minnesota, 16 of 24, 173 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, 127.3 passer rating; vs. New York Jets, 12 of 19, 188 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 131.0 passer rating; at Miami, 21 of 27, 224 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 125.9 passer rating; at Chicago, 23 of 37, 293 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 104.9 passer rating; vs. Arizona, 7 of 13, 148 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 88.0 passer rating. Matt Flynn — vs. Arizona, 5 of 9, 68 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 79.9 passer rating.
SEAHAWKS STATS / NOTES
TEAM OFFENSIVE RANKINGS
|Total Yards||4436||21||Total Yards||4438||20|
|Yards / Game||341.2||21||Yards / Game||341.4||20|
|Rush Yards||1980||4||Rush Yards||1836||6|
|Rush / Game||152.3||4||Rush / Game||141.2||6|
|Pass Yards||2456||29||Pass Yards||2602||25|
|Pass / Game||188.9||29||Pass / Game||200.2||25|
|Points / Game||23.1||T15||Points / Game||22.2||19|
TEAM DEFENSIVE RANKINGS
|Total Yards||3922||3||Total Yards||4707||21|
|Yards / Game||301.7||3||Yards / Game||362.1||21|
|Rush / Allw.||1370||10||Rush / Allw.||1748||28|
|Rush / Game||105.4||10||Rush / Game||134.5||28|
|Pass Allw.||2552||4||Pass Allw.||2959||14|
|Pass / Game||196.2||4||Pass / Game||227.6||14|
|Points Allw.||202||2||Points Allw.||352||T27|
|Points / Game||15.5||2||Points / Game||27.1||T27|
SEAHAWKS OFFENSIVE LEADERS
SEAHAWKS DEFENSIVE LEADERS
|Tackles||Wagner 109, Chancellor 78, Wright 77|
|Sacks||Clemons 9.0, Irvin 8.0, Mebane, 3.0|
|Quarterback Hits||Clemons 18, Irvin 17, 4 with 5|
|Interceptions||Sherman 6, Browner 3, Wagner 3|
|Passes Defensed||Sherman 19, Thomas 8, Browner 6|
|Forced Fumbles||Browner 3, Sherman 2|
|Fumbles Recovered||Mebane, Browner, Branch, Trufant 1|
BILLS NOTES: The Bills have defeated Kansas City (35-17), Cleveland (24-14), Arizona (19-16), Miami (19-14) and Jacksonville (34-18) and lost to the New York Jets (48-28), New England (52-28 and 37-31), San Francisco (45-3), Tennessee (35-34), Houston (21-9), Indianapolis (20-13) and St. Louis (15-12) . . . C.J. Spiller leads Buffalo in rushing, averaging 72.6 yards per game. He’s rushed for five touchdowns . . . Steve Johnson leads Buffalo in receiving with 61 catches for 776 yards and five TDs . . . Mario Williams has 10.5 sacks, which ranks T6 in the NFL . . . Tarvaris Jackson, Seattle’s starting quarterback in 2011, has not played for the Bills so far . . . Rian Lindell, who kicked for Seattle from 2000-02, is in his ninth year as the Bills’ placekicker . . . The Bills placed RB Fred Jackson on injured reserve Tuesday because of a sprained MCL,
BILLS QUARTERBACKS: Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 253 of 406 passes (62.3 percent) for 2,718 yards, 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions for a passer rating of 85.8. He has had two 300-yard passing games, both against New England, 350 yards Sept. 30 and 337 Nov. 11. He threw a season-high four TDs Sept. 30 and is coming off a 247-yard, 1-TD performance against St. Louis.
BILLS HEAD COACH: Chan Gailey is in his third season as head coach of the Bills and has a record of 15-30. Prior to joining the Bills, Gailey served as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys from 1998-99. From 2002-07, Gailey served as head coach at Georgia Tech. He has also been the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers (1994-97) and Miami Dolphins (2000-01).
KEY DATES: Jan. 5-6, 2013 — Wild Card weekend; Jan. 12-13 — Divisional playoffs; Jan. 19-20 — Conference championships; Jan. 27 — Pro Bowl (Honolulu); Feb. 3 — Super Bowl, New Orleans. Feb. 20-26 — NFL combine (Indianapolis); April 25-27 — NFL draft.
NFC West Standings
|S. Francisco||9-3-1||2-1-1||Sunday at N. England|
|Seattle||8-5||1-3||Sunday at Buffalo|
|St. Louis||6-6-1||4-0-1||Sunday vs. Minnesota|
|Arizona||4-9||1-5||Sunday vs. Detroit|
COMING UP: The Seahawks return to CenturyLink Field for a nationally televised (5:30 p.m., NBC) NFC West showdown with division leader San Francisco, which defeated Seattle 13-6 Oct. 18. Seattle closes out the regular season Dec. 30 at the Clink against the St. Louis Rams.
2012 Seahawks Preseason Schedule
|8/11/12||vs. Tennessee||7 p.m.||Q13||W||27-17||1-0|
|8/18/12||at Denver||6 p.m.||Q13||W||30-10||2-0|
|8/24/12||at Kansas City||5 p.m.||Q13||W||44-14||3-0|
|8/30/12||vs. Oakland||7 p.m.||Q13||W||21-3||4-0|
2012 Seahawks Regular-Season Schedule
|9/9/12||at Arizona||1:25 p.m.||FOX||L||20-16||0-1|
|9/16/12||vs. Dallas||1:05 p.m.||FOX||W||27-7||1-1|
|9/24/12||vs. Green Bay||5:30 p.m.||ESPN||W||14-12||2-1|
|9/30/12||at St. Louis||10 a.m.||FOX||L||19-13||2-2|
|10/7/12||at Carolina||1:05 p.m.||FOX||W||16-12||3-2|
|10/14/12||vs. N. England||1:05 p.m.||CBS||W||24-23||4-2|
|10/18/12||at S. Francisco||5:20 p.m.||NFLN||L||13-6||4-3|
|10/28/12||at Detroit||10 a.m.||FOX||L||28-24||4-4|
|11/4/12||vs. Minnesota||1:05 p.m.||FOX||W||30-20||5-4|
|11/11/11||vs. NY Jets||1:05 p.m.||CBS||W||28-7||6-4|
|11/25/12||at Miami||10 a.m.||FOX||L||24-21||6-5|
|12/2/12||at Chicago||10 a.m.||FOX||W||23-17||7-5|
|12/9/12||vs. Arizona||1:15 p.m.||FOX||W||58-0||8-5|
|12/16/12||*at Buffalo||1:05 p.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|12/23/12||vs. San Francisco||5:20 p.m.||NBC||—||—||—|
|12/30/12||vs. St. Louis||1:15 p.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
* in Toronto
2012 Seahawks Capsules
Aug. 11 Seahawks 27, Titans 17 (at Seattle) — Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson ran for a touchdown and passed for one, leading the Seahawks over a Tennessee Titans team featuring two quarterbacks with strong local ties, ex-Seahawk Matt Hasselbeck and ex-Husky Jake Locker. Hasselbeck threw two interceptions while Locker completed 7 of 13 for 80 yards.
Aug. 18: Seahawks 30, Broncos 10 (at Denver) — Starting his second straight exhibition game, QB Matt Flynn failed to seize control of the quarterback job, finishing 6 of 13 for 31 yards with no TDs or INTs. But Wilson made a case for himself by completing 10 of 17 for 155 yards, two TDs and a passer rating of 28.5. The Seahawks finished with 228 yards rushing, led by Sutton’s 48 yards on three carries.
Aug. 24: Seahawks 44, Chiefs 14 (at Kansas City) — Wilson completed 10 of 17 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns. With Wilson playing into the second half, Seattle scored 21 points, overcoming a 10-9 halftime deficit. Earl Thomas made the big defensive play, returning an interception 75 yards for a touchdown. Flynn did not play due to injury.
Aug. 30: Seahawks 21, Raiders 3 (at Seattle): Flynn, getting most of the snaps, completed 11 of 13 passes for 102 yards. Seahawks outgained the Raiders 334 yards to 101.
Sept. 8: Cardinals 20, Seahawks 16 (at Phoenix): Despite seven tries inside Arizona’s red zone in final minute, the Seahawks could not score the game-winning touchdown. The Seahawks overcame a tepid first half offensively thanks to an 83-yard kickoff return and a 52-yard punt return by Leon Washington.
Sept. 15: Seahawks 27, Cowboys 7 (at Seattle): The Seahawks took a 10-0 lead in less than five minutes when Michael Robinson forced Felix Jones to fumble the opening kickoff, leading to a short field goal, and Malcolm Smith blocked Chris Jones’ punt and Jeron Johnson returned it for a touchdown. Marshawn Lynch ran for 122 yards and the defense allowed the Cowboys only 34 yards and three first downs in the second half.
Sept. 24: Seahawks 14, Packers 12 (at Seattle): Russell Wilson and Golden Tate hooked up on a wildly controversial 24-yard touchdown pass as the clock ran out, giving the Seahawks a dramatic victory. As Wilson’s pass reached the end zone, Tate committed a pushing penalty that wasn’t called. Green Bay’s M.D. Jennings intercepted the ball and Tate tried to wrestle it away. One official ruled no touchdown, another signaled TD. After review, Tate was awarded the touchdown. The Seahawks had eight sacks in the first half, a record-tying four by Chris Clemons.
Sept. 30: Rams 19, Seahawks 13 (at St. Louis): Rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein booted four field goals, including a club-record 58-yarder which he later topped with a 60-yarder, as the Rams handed Seattle its second NFC West loss. Zuerlein also was a perfect decoy on the biggest play of the day — a fake field goal that turned into a two-yard touchdown pass from punter Johnny Hekker to Danny Amendola. The score put the Rams (2-2) ahead 10-7 late in the first half. Marshawn Lynch ran for 118 yards and a touchdown,Seahawks, but Russell Wilson threw three interceptions.
Oct. 7: Seahawks 16, Panthers 12: (at Charlotte): The Seahawks used a series of big defensive plays, the best pass of Russell Wilson’s NFL career, and a planned safety in the final minute to edge Carolina. Cornerback Brandon Browner made two of the three biggest defensive stops. With Carolina at the Seattle 27-yard line in the third quarter, Browner stripped the ball from DeAngelo Williams, giving the Seahawks a chance to take the lead after they had fallen behind 10-6 on Wilson’s worst pass of the season. Less than three minutes into the second half, Wilson threw behind intended receiver Anthony McCoy, and Carolina’s Captain Munnerlyn snatched the ball and raced 33 yards for a touchdown that put the Panthers ahead 10-6. But after Browner stripped Williams. Wilson, on a third-and-eight from the Carolina 13, rocketed a slant pass to Golden Tate for a touchdown.
Oct. 14: Seahawks 24, Patriots 23: Russell Wilson threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice with 1:18 to play to give the Seahawks a come-from-behind victory. The Seahawks trailed 23-10 in the second half, but Wilson fired touchdown passes to Doug Baldwin and Braylon Edwards before finding Rice with the game-winning throw.
Oct. 18: 49ers 13, Seahawks 6: Alex Smith threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Delanie Walker late in the third quarter and San Francisco held off the Seahawks in a battle for first place in the NFC West. Frank Gore ran for 131 yards. The 49ers made just enough plays to win a defense-first game. Marshawn Lynch ran for 103 yards for Seattle, but Russell Wilson couldn’t generate a passing game, going 9 of 23 for 122 yards and a passer rating of 38.7.
Oct. 28: Lions 28, Seahawks 24: Titus Young caught his second touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford on a one-yard slant with 20 seconds left, lifting Detroit. Young needed to make the second TD catch after Zach Miller had a spectacular, 16-yard snag on a toss from Russell Wilson with 5:27 left that put the Seahawks ahead. But Seattle (4-4) couldn’t stop the Lions (3-4) on their last possession.
Nov. 4: Seahawks 30, Vikings 20: Lynch ran for 124 yards and a touchdown, Wilson threw three first-half touchdown passes, and the Seahawks overcame 182 yards by Adrian Peterson to snap a two-game losing streak. Peterson tore through the Seahawks defense for one of the finest games of his career, yet was stuck being a spectator as Seattle slowly pulled away in the fourth quarter, mostly on the legs of Lynch, with a few key passes by Wilson.
Nov. 11: Seahawks 28, N.J. Jets 7: Wilson threw two touchdowns to Sidney Rice, and Lynch ran for 124 yards and a touchdown as the Seahawks overwhelmed the Jets at CenturyLink Field. Rice also threw the first pass of his NFL career, completing a 23-yard touchdown to Golden Tate.
Nov. 25: Dolphins 24, Seahawks 21: Dan Carpenter hit a 43-yard field goal at the final gun after Ryan Tannehill led a 65-yard, six-play drive, and the Dolphins rallied to beat the Seahawks at SunLife Stadium. Miami scored 17 points in the final 8:08 after the Seahawks took the lead on a 98-yard kickoff return by Leon Washington. The eighth KOR TD of Washington’s career tied the league record. Russell Wilson completed 21 of 27, including 16 in a row, for 224 yards, two TDs and a passer rating of 125.9.
Dec. 2: Seahawks 23, Bears 18 (OT): Russell Wilson engineered scoring drives of 97 and 80 yards at the end of regulation and in overtime, finishing off with touchdown passes to Golden Tate and Sidney Rice, giving the Seahawks their third consecutive win at Soldier Field and just their second victory of the season on the road. After Wilson led the Seahawks on a 12-play, 97-yard drive that ended with a 14-yard TD pass to Tate, the Bears tied the score at 17-17 with 24 seconds to play on a Robbie Gould field goal. The Seahawks won the OT coin flip and Wilson directed an 80-yard, 12-play drive that ended with a 13-yard TD to Rice.
Dec. 9: Seahawks 58, Cardinals 0: Marshawn Lynch ran for three touchdowns and the Seahawks intercepted four passes and recovered four fumbles en route to the fourth-largest shutout victory in NFL history. The Seahawks scored five different ways against the Cardinals, including run, pass, interception return, fumbled punt return and field goal. Seattle’s previous largest shutout win was 45-0 over Kansas City in the Kingdome Nov. 4, 1984.