When I say the Seattle Seahawks ran away with the game in their 26-6 trouncing of the Detroit Lions, I’m not exaggerating. Thomas Rawls set a franchise postseason record with 161 yards on 27 carries including one touchdown.
While the NFC Wild Card Game win is a big deal for Seattle, the resurrection of their running game should give the rest of the conference and league reason to worry. With Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, the Seahawks finished top five in rushing each of the past four years; however, the team fell to 25th in the league this season after Rawls broke his leg Week Two.
Should Rawls recreate this performance moving forward in the playoffs, the Seahawks are right back into the Super Bowl discussion after a disappointing season (by their standards at least).
“We did it on the ground,” said Rawls. “The identity that we always try to maintain is running the ball. We want to run hard, tough, and that’s exactly what we did. When we’re true to our identity, it feeds the crowd; it feeds the offense, it feeds the special teams. And that’s something we want to maintain throughout the rest of this journey.”
The Seahawks have the Atlanta Falcons in the Divisional Round, where they will face their biggest test of the playoffs—winning on the road. Excluding their narrow 25-23 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 17, the Seahawks haven’t won on the road since their Week 10 defeat of the New England Patriots.
Winning in Foxborough is extremely impressive, yes, but the Seahawks road losses since then include one to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in which they only managed five points and a 38-10 embarrassment against the Green Bay Packers. Head coach Pete Carroll is thrilled with the running resurgence, however, and believes the team can make their third Super Bowl in four years through the ground game.
“That was the game we’ve been looking for,” said Carroll. “I was really fired up to see us run the football like that. Obviously, you guys all saw it—Thomas had a bunch of yards, and the offensive line did a great job…It was a terrific night in Seahawks football.”
The Hawks will have their work cut out for them in ATL, so Rawls will need to be out in full force.