The Seahawks’ playoff run has begun.
Extra emphasis on the word run.
At least there was for Seattle in its 26-6 victory over the Detroit Lions in Saturday’s wild-card playoff game.
Thomas Rawls rushed for 161 yards, setting the franchise’s single-game playoff record for rushing yards, and scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter to push Seattle’s lead to double digits. Marshawn Lynch had held the franchise record for playoff rushing yards with 157 against Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game two seasons ago.
Seattle won its 10th straight playoff game at home, and the Seahawks now advance to play at second-seeded Atlanta next Saturday.
The Seahawks held the Lions to a pair of field goals, both of more than 50 yards, setting a franchise record for fewest points allowed in a playoff game. The previous record came in Seattle’s 13-7 victory over the Raiders on Dec. 22, 1984.
That wasn’t exactly a surprise. Seattle’s defense has been one of the league’s best for five years now. It was the running game that was a revelation for the Seahawks. Seattle ranked 25th in the league in rushing yards during the regular season, and the single-game high for any player was 106 yards.
Rawls ran for 107 yards in the first half alone, and the Seahawks ran the ball nine straight times to start their only touchdown drive of the first half. That drive culminated in an unbelievable one-handed TD catch by Paul Richardson.
Seattle didn’t pull away until the fourth quarter when it scored 16 straight points, the final touchdown coming on a catch from Doug Baldwin on a pass that looked to be intended for Jermaine Kearse. Baldwin caught 11 passes in the game for 104 yards.
Seattle has now won a playoff game in five successive seasons and in six of Pete Carroll’s seven seasons as coach.
Pete Carroll: this is the performance the Seahawks had been waiting for. pic.twitter.com/vYEyTJtjms
— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) January 8, 2017
Nothing much important happened this quarter. There were four punts, and neither team crossed midfield until the Detroit did until the final 2 minutes of the period.
The period started with a stop.
That was thanks to linebacker Bobby Wagner, who tackled tight end Clay Harbor for a 2-yard loss when the Lions went for it on fourth-and-1 from the Seattle 38.
The stop wasn’t exactly a surprise. No one had more fourth-down stops than the Seahawks during the regular season, Seattle allowing only six fourth-down conversions in 20 attempts during the regular season.
What happened next was a surprise, as Seattle ran the ball nine straight plays for a total of 46 yards, three first downs and a fourth-down conversion. Seattle needed another fourth-down conversion to get in the end zone, going for it on fourth-and-goal from the Detroit 2 when it seemed like Seattle was going to settle for a field-goal attempt.
Instead, Seattle ran play-action on fourth down, and Wilson underthrew a pass to receiver Paul Richardson, who somehow reached back and made a one-handed catch despite being interfered with on the play.
Seattle’s top regular-season rushing performance was 106 yards, a mark reached by Christine Michael in Week 3 and by Rawls against Carolina in November. Rawls had 107 yards in the first half alone.
The Lions scored with a field goal on their final possession, which was keyed by a 30-yard pass from Matthew Stafford to Marvin Jones.
SEA – Paul Richardson 2 pass from Russell Wilson (Steven Hauschka kick) at 7:07 (Drive: 14 plays, 60 yards, 7:45). Score: Seahawks 7, Lions 0.
SEA – Steven Hauschka 43 field goal at 1:55 (Drive: 7 plays, 51 yards, 2:53). Score: Seahawks 10, Lions 0.
DET – Matt Prater 51 field goal at 0:20 (Drive: 7 plays, 42 yards, 1:35). Score: Seahawks 10, Lions 3.
The Seahawks opted to play for field position, punting after getting the ball to the Detroit 39. It paid off when Seattle downed the punt at the Detroit 4, but the Lions drove 61 yards to score their second field goal of the game.
The Seahawks outgained the Lions 95-61 in the period and were in scoring position when the period ended.
DET – Prater 53 field goal at 4:03 (Drive: 10 plays, 61 yards, 5:33). Score: Seahawks 10, Lions 6.
The Seahawks outgained the Lions 146 yards to 56 in the final period. They outscored Detroit 16-0 in the final period, and broke open what had been a single-possession game. It was the third time in franchise history that Seattle held an opponent to fewer than 10 points in a playoff game. The Seahawks allowed nine points in last year’s wild-card victory in Minnesota and held the Raiders to seven points back in 1984.
SEA – Hauschka 27 field goal at 14:12 (Drive: 10 plays 66 yards, 4:51). Score: Seahawks 13, Lions 6.
SEA – Thomas Rawls 4 run (kick failed BOINK!) at 8:49 (Drive: 8 plays, 82 yards, 4:08). Score: Seahawks 19, Lions 6.
SEA – Doug Baldwin 13 pass from Wilson (Hauschka kick) at 3:36 (Drive: 11 plays, 84 yards, 4:15). Score: Seahawks 26, Lions 6.