Seattle Seahawks cruise past Detroit Lions and into Atlanta play-off
Houston Texans too good for injury-hit Oakland and rookie quarterback Connor Cook
Thomas Rawls ran for 161 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown as the Seattle Seahawks eased past the Detroit Lions. Photograph: Steve Dykes/Getty
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 on Saturday.
Seattle advanced to an NFC Divisional playoff game at Atlanta after winning their 10th consecutive home postseason contest. The Seahawks have not lost a postseason game at home since 2005.
The winner of Sunday’s Green Bay-New York Giants game travel 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 a pair of 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 on Saturday 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 Seattle ate up almost four minutes of clock before Wilson threw his second touchdown pass to put the game away with 3:36 remaining.
Detroit held Seattle to one touchdown over 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 offence. Detroit scored only one second-half touchdown during a season-ending four-game losing streak.
Wilson threw a pair of 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 off his day by throwing a 13-yard touchdown pass to Doug 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, while Richardson added three receptions for 48 yards and the touchdown.
Seattle advanced to the divisional round for the fifth year in a row and play a playoff game in Atlanta for the second time since the 2012 postseason. The Falcons beat the Seahawks 30-28 at the Georgia Dome in a 2012 divisional game.
Meanwhile the Houston Texans, behind a defense that smothered rookie Oakland quarterback Connor Cook throughout, cruised to a 27-14 victory over the Raiders in an AFC wild card playoff game in Houston on Saturday.
Cook, a fourth-round pick out of Michigan State, looked every bit like a third-stringer pressed into emergency duty, completing 18 of 45 passes for 161 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions.
With starter Derek Carr (leg) and backup Matt McGloin (shoulder) out, Cook was the lone option. The Texans, who led the NFL in total defense for the first time in franchise history, showed Cook no mercy.
“We make it difficult on a lot of quarterbacks,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said.
“I think the guy (Cook) has a future in this league. He completed some passes and had some nice plays. We have a good scheme and more importantly than that, we have a bunch of good players. Guys that play good team defence.”
Making their first postseason appearance since the Super Bowl following the 2002 season, the Raiders did not eclipse 100 total yards until their first possession of the fourth quarter, doing so on a 10-yard pass from Cook to tight end Mychal Rivera that also marked their first third-down conversion following an 0 for 11 start.
During an eight-possession stretch bracketed by their two touchdowns in the first and fourth periods, the Raiders punted eight times, produced just three first downs, and amassed 28 net yards on 28 plays. The Raiders finished 2 of 16 on third downs and averaged just 2.9 yards per play.
“It was his first start, on the road, in a playoff game, against the No. 1-ranked defence,” Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said of Cook. “It was a tough draw for him.
“We had hopes that we would be able to do enough around him so he wouldn’t have to do as much.”
By the time Cook found some rhythm and engineered an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive in the fourth, Houston led by 20 points behind a solid performance from quarterback Brock Osweiler.
Osweiler reclaimed his starting job when Tom Savage suffered a concussion last week at Tennessee and he made the most of his second opportunity, passing for 168 yards and a touchdown. He added a rushing touchdown for a 27-7 lead with 12:28 to play, eluding Raiders linebacker Cory James in the open field before scrambling into the end zone. In guiding the Texans to a 20-7 halftime lead, Osweiler posted a 110.0 passer rating and did not commit a turnover. He was, for once, the picture of consistency.
“It just goes back to having confidence in my teammates,” Osweiler said. “Believing in what you see and just rip it. Cut it loose and don’t have any hesitation. I trust that my teammates, the skill guys, they’re going to be where they’re supposed to be ... and they’re going to make me look good in the end.”
The Texans will face either New England or Kansas City in the divisional round next weekend.