SEATTLE — With the emergence of Doug Baldwin, the arrival of Tyler Lockett and a list of injuries that slowed his development, Paul Richardson was seemingly forgotten as one of the pass catching options for the Seattle Seahawks.

He won’t be overlooked any more. Not after Saturday night.

Richardson’s acrobatic 2-yard touchdown reception was the beginning of Seattle’s 26-6 romp over Detroit in an NFC wild-card game, sending the Seahawks into an anticipated matchup with the Atlanta Falcons.

If Richardson can continue to be this involved in the offense, it adds an element that was feared lost when Lockett suffered a broken right leg in a Week 16 loss to Arizona.

Lockett was the one who could help push the ball downfield and stretch a defense.

Richardson has the speed to fill that role. Against the Lions, he showed the capability of making catches when called upon.

And none was more remarkable than his first playoff touchdown.

“That was one of the best catches you’ll see, ever,” Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said.

Richardson went horizontal and reached out with his left hand to cradle a fourth-down 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.

“I didn’t know that I had it until I got it, honestly,” said Richardson, who also had a one-handed 27-yard catch in the fourth quarter. “It was a tough play, but it worked out.”

While Richardson had the flash, Thomas Rawls did the grunt work, rushing for a franchise-record 161 yards and a 4-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. It was the reemergence of a running game for Seattle that has seen fleeting success for much of the season. After three straight games with less than 90 yards rushing as a team, the Seahawks finished with 177 yards rushing.

“It’s nice to have our run game back. It feels like Seattle again,” Seahawks right tackle Garry Gilliam said.

Seattle’s win will take the Seahawks back to a critical point in what has developed over the past five seasons. It was Seattle’s 30-28 loss to Atlanta in the 2012 NFC divisional playoff on a last-second field goal that became the spark for a run to two straight NFC championships and a Super Bowl title.

And now they’ll go back to the Georgia Dome with a chance to prove that an inconsistent team during the regular season really does have a pedigree to make another Super Bowl run.

Here’s what else to know from Seattle’s 10th straight home playoff win:

LATE FADE: Detroit was in position a month ago not just to be playing at home in the postseason but to have a coveted bye.

Kicking away the NFC North title with three straight losses to end the regular season and then falling to the Seahawks will sting going into the offseason.

It was the ninth straight postseason loss for the Lions, whose last road playoff victory was in 1957 at San Francisco. Detroit’s last playoff win was 38-6 at home over Dallas in the divisional round on Jan. 5, 1992.

SLOW THEM DOWN: Seattle shut down Detroit’s Matthew Stafford, holding him to 205 yards passing and three sacks. Detroit didn’t run a play inside the Seattle 33.

Because of his injured finger and a makeshift offensive line, Stafford didn’t have an opportunity to test Seattle’s secondary downfield. Detroit had only two pass plays longer than 20 yards.

Slowing down All-Pro quarterback Matt Ryan may be a little tougher. When the teams played earlier this season, Ryan had four pass plays of 24 yards or longer, including touchdowns of 46 and 36 yards.


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