Rumbling Thomas Rawls leads solid Seattle Seahawks past a tamed Detroit Lions
Rawls and Wilson combine to grind the Lions out of the post-season in convincing fashion
The formula that has led the Seattle Seahawks to unmatched success over the past five seasons returned.
A healthy dose of Thomas Rawls rumbling on the ground. A few timely throws by Russell Wilson helped by some remarkable catches. And a defence that never allowed Detroit a sniff of the end zone.
Rawls rushed for a franchise play-off-record 161 yards, Paul Richardson made one of the catches of the year for his first career postseason touchdown, and the Seahawks beat the Lions 26-6 on Sunday morning (HK time) in an NFC wild-card game.
Seattle won their 10th straight home play-off game, continuing Detroit’s miserable conclusion to the season that finished with four straight losses. Detroit’s long play-off history without postseason success continued: no play-off wins since 1992. No road play-off wins since 1957.
Rawls was the workhorse as the run game the Seahawks became known for when Marshawn Lynch was in the backfield finally found the consistency that was missing all season. Rawls bettered Lynch’s 157 yards in the 2014 NFC championship game against Green Bay. Rawls had runs of 12, 14, 26 and a 32-yarder late in the third quarter, when Wilson ended up being his lead blocker.
Rawls capped his night with a 4-yard touchdown run that gave Seattle a 19-6 lead. He was the first player with at least 150 yards rushing in a play-off game since Lynch’s performance against the Packers.
While Rawls did the grunt work, Richardson filled the highlight reel with a trio of catches. None was better than his 4-yard touchdown in the second quarter to give Seattle a 7-0 lead.
Richardson went horizontal reaching out with his left hand to cradle the pass as he was being interfered with by Tavon Wilson. What wasn’t called on the play was Richardson’s right hand yanking on the facemask of Wilson as he reached to make the catch.
Richardson had another one-handed catch in the fourth quarter, and Doug Baldwin got into the act of amazing catches, pinning a 10-yard reception to the back of his leg late in the fourth quarter to continue a Seattle drive. Two plays later, Baldwin’s 13-yard touchdown reception put it away.
Wilson finished 23 of 30 for 224 yards, while Baldwin had 11 catches for 104 yards.
.@DangeRussWilson launches it DEEP!
— NFL (@NFL) January 8, 2017
Overshadowed by the offensive performance was Seattle’s defence shutting down the Lions. Hampered by a handful of dropped passes and some untimely penalties, the Lions could only manage a pair of long Matt Prater field goals.
Matthew Stafford was 18 of 32 for 205 yards. He was sacked three times and Detroit never ran a play inside the Seattle 33-yard line.
Seattle was 4 of 11 on fourth downs during the regular season, but got two big conversions on their first touchdown drive. On fourth-and-1 at the Detroit 39, Rawls bounced for 4 yards; the drive was capped by Richardson’s catch on fourth-and-goal from the 2.
Detroit weren’t so successful. On their third possession, they went on fourth-and-2 from the Seattle 38. The oddly designed play had Stafford throwing behind the line of scrimmage to Matthew Mulligan. The play was blown up by Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright for a 2-yard loss.
Prater became the first kicker with multiple 50-yard field goals made in the same play-off game, and Seattle’s Steven Hauschka was true on both of his field goal attempts. But Hauschka missed his seventh extra point of the season after Rawls’ touchdown with 8:43 remaining.