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Russell Wilson soars as Seahawks rout Bills 50-17

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Russell Wilson soars as Seahawks rout Bills 50-17

TORONTO (AP) Seattle Seahawks tight end Zach Miller breaks into a big chuckle when reminded about how many NFL teams passed up on drafting Russell Wilson.

``Yeah,'' Miller said. ``Good for us.''

Make room, RGIII and Andrew Luck. Wilson, the third-round draft pick out of Wisconsin, is making a case to be included in the rookie of the year conversation. And he's bringing the Seahawks along with them on a remarkable ride as part of a late-season playoff surge in which they've won five of six.

Wilson had a near-perfect first half in which he ran for three touchdowns and threw for another in leading the Seahawks to their latest blowout victory, a 50-17 rout of the Bills in Buffalo's annual game in Toronto on Sunday.

Coming off a 58-0 win at home over Arizona last week, the Seahawks became the NFL's third team to score 50 points in consecutive weeks, joining the Los Angeles Rams and New York Giants, who both did it in 1950, according to STATS LLC. And Seattle's 108 combined points matched the third-best total, which had been set by the New England Patriots only last month.

``I'm blessed to be a Seahawk. This is the team that I wanted to come to,'' said Wilson, the Wisconsin product who had to wait until the 75th pick in the draft to be selected. ``So it's a pretty great situation for me.''

The Seahawks (9-5) are in the thick of the playoff race. And they're still in the running to challenge for the NFC West title, preparing to head home for a showdown against division rival San Francisco next weekend.

Wilson directed five straight scoring drives in helping the Seahawks build a 31-7 lead. And then the defense took over by forcing three consecutive turnovers to start the second half, including safety Earl Thomas scoring on 57-yard interception return.

The Bills (5-9) bumbled their way out of playoff contention for a 13th straight year, and extend the NFL's longest active playoff drought.

And questions about coach Chan Gailey's job security are once again being raised.

``We played poorly and we looked extremely bad,'' Gailey said. ``When you don't play well, the buck stops with me. I understand that.''

The Bills' defense had a meltdown. After Buffalo had allowed its past four opponents 254.25 yards offense and 16.75 points, the Seahawks had bettered that by halftime, when they scored 31 points and racked up 329 yards.

The offense wasn't much better.

Down 31-17 at the half, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick opened the third quarter by turning the ball over on the Bills first three possessions - two interceptions and a lost fumble.

``It went downhill from there fast,'' said Fitzpatrick, who worried how the performance would reflect on Gailey. ``We played poorly and it reflects poorly on him. It just eats me up.''

Fitzpatrick went 21 of 38 for 217 yards with a 20-yard touchdown to Stevie Johnson. C.J. Spiller had 103 yards rushing and scored on a 14-yard run.

It wasn't lost on the Bills' critics that they passed up three chances to draft Wilson in April.

Gailey acknowledged he had shown interest in Wilson, but was concerned that, at 5-foot-11 and 206 pounds, he might be too small to succeed at the NFL level.

Turns out that hasn't been a problem.

Wilson's 4-yard touchdown pass to Zach Miller was his 21st of the season. That ties Cam Newton (2011) for the second-most by an NFL rookie, and is five behind the record set by Peyton Manning in 1998.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is so impressed by how quickly Wilson's grasped the offense, that he's giving the quarterback a freer rein.

``I'm just thrilled that he's been able to continue to grow,'' Carroll said. ``For a time, we were just trying to get the offense going and not screw it up and make sure he could keep growing. Well, we're past that now.''

Running back Marshawn Lynch had 113 yards rushing and scored on a 13-yard run in his first game against his former team. Defensive end Chris Clemons had 2 1/2 of Seattle's three sacks.

The Bills dropped to 1-4 in regular-season games at Toronto since the series began in 2008.

The Bills and Toronto-based Rogers Communications are closing in on a deal to extend the series, which expired after this game.

Torontonians might want to reconsider after this. With 5:20 left, fans in one end zone began chanting ``Let's Go Blue Jays!''

NOTES: Korean pop star PSY performed his hit ``Gangnam Style'' at midfield during halftime. ... The announced crowd of 40,770 was well below the downtown domed Rogers Centre's capacity of 54,000. ... Spiller reached 1,000 yards rushing for the first time in his career, and needed only 154 carries to get there. That's the third fewest carries of any player to reach 1,000 since 1991, according to STATS. Then-Falcons QB Michael Vick reached that plateau on 117 carries in 2006, while Tennessee RB Chris Johnson needed 151 carries in 2009. ... The Seahawks wore their third uniforms - ``wolf grey'' jerseys and pants with green numbers and names - for the first time since introducing them this offseason.

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10 changes that would make the NHL better

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USA TODAY Sports

10 changes that would make the NHL better

Hockey is one of the most incredible, compelling sports in the world. As fun as it is to watch on TV, it is even more compelling in person and fans in North America are treated to the best hockey in the world as played in the NHL.

But the NHL's not perfect.

SEE THE 10 CHANGES THAT WOULD MAKE THE NHL BETTER HERE

Just like every sports league, the NHL is always adjusting and making changes to the game in order to improve it through things like rule changes, expansion, playoff formats, etc.

No sport is perfect and hockey is not without its flaws, but there are a number of clear changes that could be made that would improve both the game and the league.

 SEE THE 10 CHANGES THAT WOULD MAKE THE NHL BETTER HERE

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Nats put Scherzer-Strasburg scuffle aside to split Braves series

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Nats put Scherzer-Strasburg scuffle aside to split Braves series

Bryce Harper homered, Max Scherzer struck out seven in six innings and the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 6-2 on Sunday.

Anthony Rendon also had two hits and drove in two runs for Washington, extending his hitting streak to 10 games and helping the Nationals earn a split of the series after Saturday's game was rained out. Adam Eaton and Juan Soto each had three hits.

Two days after a heated exchange with teammate Stephen Strasburg during Friday's 8-5 loss, Scherzer (13-5) allowed two runs and eight hits in his third straight win. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has pitched six or more innings in his last 19 starts.

Kelvin Herrera got five outs for his first save with Washington.

The start of the game was delayed 1 hour, 55 minutes by rain, and another downpour stopped play for almost 100 minutes between the sixth and seventh innings.

Atlanta's Mike Foltynewicz (7-6) gave up four runs and nine hits over 5 2/3 innings.

Harper singled in Eaton to give Washington a 4-2 lead in the sixth. Matt Adams added another RBI single in the seventh, and Harper added a solo drive in the eighth for his 24th homer.

Scherzer was staked to an early 3-0 lead and then got some help from his defense.

Atlanta rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. led off the third with a drive off the wall in center, but he was thrown out by Harper while trying for a double. With a runner on first in the fifth, Freddie Freeman's blast to right was chased down by Eaton on the warning track.

Then in the seventh, Michael A. Taylor made a leaping catch at the wall in center to rob Dansby Swanson of extra bases with one runner on.

Washington got off to a fast start with three runs in the first. Rendon drove in Eaton and Harper with a triple down the right-field line, and then scored on Soto's groundout.

Swanson drove in Atlanta's runs with a groundout in the second and a single in the fourth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Braves: All-Star 2B Ozzie Albies, who left Friday's game with right hamstring tightness, got the day off.

Nationals: RHP Sean Doolittle (left toe inflammation) experienced extended soreness after throwing off the mound Friday. An MRI Saturday revealed a stress reaction, comparable to a bone bruise, in the bridge of his foot and he is wearing a walking boot. ... RHP Koda Glover (right shoulder tendinitis) was reinstated from the 60-day DL and optioned to Triple-A Syracuse.

UP NEXT

Braves: LHP Sean Newcomb (8-5, 3.51 ERA) pitches the opener of a two-game series in Miami on Monday. He already has beaten the Marlins twice this season, allowing one run in 12 innings.

Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-6, 3.72 ERA) opens a three-game series in Milwaukee on Monday night. He is 2-4 with a 4.93 ERA in nine career starts versus the Brewers.