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Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks run past Detroit Lions


NewsHubSEATTLE — The Seattle Seahawks , grounded by a stagnant running game during most of the regular season, hit the ground running in their playoff opener on Saturday night.
Thomas Rawls ran for 161 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown as the Seattle Seahawks continued their home playoff success with a 26-6 victory over the Detroit Lions .
“This felt more like old times,” cornerback Richard Sherman said. “This felt great. ”
Seattle advanced to an NFC Divisional Playoff game at Atlanta after winning for the 10th consecutive time at home in the postseason. The Seahawks haven’t lost a playoff game at home since 2005.
The winner of Sunday’s Green Bay- New York Giants game travels to Dallas to face the top-seeded Cowboys in the other NFC divisional game.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson , playing without a knee brace for the first time since Week 3, completed 22 of 30 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns.
Rawls had 107 of his 161 rushing yards before halftime and broke the game open with a 4-yard touchdown run with 8:49 remaining. That score, which was followed by a failed point-after kick, put Seattle up 19-6.
Rawls had 27 carries after an injury-plagued regular season that saw him accumulate just 349 rushing yards.
The Lions failed to get across midfield on their next possession and the Seahawks ate up almost four minutes of clock before Wilson threw his second touchdown pass to put the game away with 3:36 remaining.
“We’ve got to play better,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “We just didn’t play well today. ”
Detroit receiver Anquan Boldin , who had a frustrating night of dropped passes and had a costly unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, was frustrated with some of the officiating in the game.
“Any time you come into a place like this, you know you have to play more than just the team,” Boldin said.
Detroit held Seattle to one touchdown in the first three quarters and pulled within 10-6 on Matt Prater ‘s 53-yard field goal with 4:08 left in the third quarter.
Seattle’s Steven Hauschka kicked a 27-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.
Prater, who booted a 51-yarder just before halftime, became the first kicker in NFL history to make two field goals of at least 50 yards in a playoff game.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford completed 18 of 32 passes for 205 yards for the Lions, who have lost their last nine playoff games — an NFL record — and are 1-11 in postseason play since 1957. Detroit’s only playoff win in a span of nearly 60 years came in 1992 over Dallas.
The Lions had only 231 yards of offense. Detroit scored only one second-half touchdown during its season-ending four-game losing streak.
Wilson threw two highlight-worthy touchdown passes to Paul Richardson and Doug Baldwin. Richardson’s one-handed catch of a 4-yard touchdown was one of two receptions the wide receiver made with one hand while a defender was called for pass interference.
Wilson finished by throwing a 13-yard touchdown pass to Baldwin, who reached out to take the ball away from intended target Jermaine Kearse with 3:36 remaining.
Baldwin caught 11 passes for 104 yards, and Richardson added three receptions for 48 yards and the touchdown.
Seattle advanced to the divisional round for the fifth year in a row and will play a playoff game in Atlanta for the second time since the 2012 postseason.
“It’s awesome,” Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril said of the five-year streak of playoff success. “But it doesn’t mean anything until you’re the last man standing. At the end of the day, we want to win the Super Bowl championship. ”
Richardson’s touchdown catch gave the Seahawks a 7-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
On fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line, Richardson reached across Detroit safety Tavon Wilson with his left hand while Wilson, who was flagged for pass interference, pinned down Richardson’s right arm. The acrobatic catch resulted in a touchdown with 7:07 left in the first half.
The Seahawks added a 43-yard Hauschka field goal with 1:55 left in the half to open a 10-0 lead.
Detroit used a 30-yard pass from Matthew Stafford to Boldin to set up Prater’s first field goal with 20 seconds left in the half, pulling the Lions within 10-3.
Detroit receivers dropped four passes in the first half, which played a part in Stafford completing 9 of 17 attempts for 97 yards in the opening 30 minutes.
“That’s uncharacteristic of us, and we’ve got to get better at that,” Caldwell said.
The Seahawks were plagued by mistakes for most of the regular season but turned in one of their cleanest games. They hope to perform at a similar level next weekend against an Atlanta team that almost upset Seattle at home during the regular season.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge,” Sherman said. “We feel like we made some mental errors the last time. We feel like it’s going to be a great ballgame. ”
NOTES: The last time the Seahawks lost a home playoff game was after the 2004 season, when the St. Louis Rams won at the University of Washington. … Seattle TE Jimmy Graham came out of the game temporarily in the first quarter after taking a big hit from Detroit S Tavon Wilson. Graham had to be helped off the field but was back in action by the middle of the second quarter. … Veteran KR/PR Devin Hester and LS Tyler Ott made their debuts for the Seahawks after signing earlier in the week. … The previous Seattle record for rushing yards in a playoff game was 157 by Marshawn Lynch.

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