NFL postseason opens with unlikely quarterback matchup
The latest from the NFL's wild-card Saturday. (All times Eastern)
Paul Richardson opened the scoring with a spectacular one-handed catch, and Thomas Rawls led a resurgent Seattle running game, helping the Seahawks top the Detroit Lions 26-6 on Saturday night in the NFC playoffs.
Seattle advances to play at Atlanta next Saturday.
Rawls rushed for 161 yards and a touchdown, but the game was scoreless until Richardson reached around a Detroit defender with his left arm to make a terrific catch in the end zone in the second quarter. He added another one-handed catch late in the game, and teammate Doug Baldwin had 11 receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown.
Detroit finishes the season on a sour note. The Lions dropped their final three games of the regular season, squandering a chance to win the NFC North. The trip to Seattle didn't end any better.
Matt Prater has given the Detroit Lions a lift with his leg.
Prater has accounted for all of Detroit's scoring so far Saturday night, making field goals of 51 and 53 yards. The Lions trail Seattle 10-6.
Prater's second field goal capped a 10-play, 61-yard drive in the third quarter after the Lions were pinned deep in their own territory.
Detroit made the playoffs thanks to several close victories, and Prater has been crucial. He made all seven of his attempts from at least 50 yards during the regular season.
A trio of fourth-down plays helped Seattle take a 10-3 lead into halftime against Detroit.
The Lions had fourth-and-1 at the Seattle 38 to start the second quarter, and Detroit got a bit tricky. Matthew Stafford rolled out to the right, then dumped the ball off to tight end Matthew Mulligan, who was hit behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of 2.
The Seahawks took over and soon faced fourth-and-1 at the Detroit 39. They kept it simple, with Thomas Rawls running up the middle for the first down.
Seattle then went for it on fourth-and-goal from the 2 and took a 7-0 lead on Paul Richardson's sensational catch in the end zone.
Seattle's misfiring run game has found its legs in the first half.
Specifically the legs of Thomas Rawls.
Rawls had 103 yards with about three minutes left in the half. He had nine carries on Seattle's 60-yard touchdown drive that was capped with Paul Richardson's one-handed catch to give the Seahawks a 7-0 lead.
Seattle was held under 90 yards rushing as a team in each of its last three regular season games. Rawls topped 100 yards only once this season, when he had 106 yards in Seattle's win over Carolina in early December.
-- Tim Booth reporting from Seattle.
Golden Tate missed an early chance to make an impact in his return to Seattle.
The Detroit receiver dropped a third-down pass over the middle, and the Lions and Seahawks traded three-and-outs to start Saturday night's playoff game.
Tate played for Seattle from 2010-13 before joining the Lions. Detroit could use a big game from its receivers to help quarterback Matthew Stafford, who has been dealing with a finger injury on his throwing hand.
Meanwhile, for the first time since he hurt his left knee in Week 3, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson doesn't appear to be wearing a brace on it.
Jadeveon Clowney's juggling interception set the tone for a terrific defensive performance by the Houston Texans in a 27-14 victory over the Oakland Raiders and third-string quarterback Connor Cook in an AFC wild-card game Saturday.
Clowney, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft, tipped the football with both hands before grabbing his first NFL pick. That set up Lamar Miller's 4-yard touchdown run, putting AFC South champion Houston ahead 10-0 less than 10 minutes into the opening game of the postseason.
With MVP contender Derek Carr out with a broken leg, and backup Matt McGloin sidelined by a shoulder injury, Cook was the first QB to make his initial NFL start in the playoffs. He looked overwhelmed at times against the league's No. 1 defense, finishing 18 for 45 for 161 yards, three interceptions and one touchdown pass.
Brock Osweiler, Houston's much-criticized quarterback, threw for one TD and ran for another.
Long before kickoff of Lions-Seahawks, running back C.J. Prosise ran a handful of 40-yard sprints, then graduated to catching passes from Seattle quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Trevone Boykin.
If Seattle can get past Detroit on Saturday night, Prosise could be a boost to the Seahawks' offense next week in the divisional round against Atlanta - if he is able to return from a broken shoulder blade.
Prosise was just emerging for Seattle when he was injured in Week 11 against Philadelphia. A week before getting hurt, Prosise had 153 total yards - 66 rushing and 87 receiving - in Seattle's victory at New England.
Seattle had high hopes for Prosise when it drafted him in the third-round out of Notre Dame. But his rookie season has been defined by injuries, including leg issues that slowed him early.
- Tim Booth reporting from Seattle
Could weather play a factor tonight in Seattle?
You can never count out a chance of precipitation in the Pacific Northwest, of course. But this time, with the temperature near freezing all week, an incoming storm could bring snow to the Seattle region Saturday night, when the Seahawks host the Detroit Lions in a wild-card game.
That doesn't necessarily mean any of the white stuff will drop on CenturyLink Field during the game.
Most of the precipitation is supposed to stay south of Seattle. Still, the National Weather Service included Seattle on a Winter Weather Advisory that begins about an hour before kickoff.
- Tim Booth reporting from Seattle.
Things are looking good so far for Bill O'Brien's Houston Texans, who lead the Oakland Raiders 20-7 at halftime of the first NFL playoff game of this season.
Check out these stats: The Texans are 5-0 this season and 18-0 overall under O'Brien when ahead after two quarters.
And the Texans' defense has made Oakland rookie QB Connor Cook's first pro start rough as can be Saturday, including Jadeveon Clowney's early interception , which set up Lamar Miller's 4-yard TD run.
Cook is only 4 of 14 for 41 yards - and Houston has a grand total of 75 yards and five first downs. Houston, meanwhile, has gained 209 yards and the much-maligned Brock Osweiler is 12 for 18 for 146 yards and a touchdown pass.
The Houston Texans know they'll avoid a shutout this time in the playoffs, no matter what happens the rest of the way.
Houston grabbed a quick 10-0 lead against the visiting Oakland Raiders, less than 10 minutes into their wild-card game on Saturday.
A year ago, Houston lost its playoff opener 30-0 to the Kansas City Chiefs.
This time, though, the Texans got on the board in the first quarter on Nick Novak's 50-yard field goal after a short punt gave them terrific field position.
And then, Jadeveon Clowney made an acrobatic, juggling interception of rookie QB Connor Cook, setting up Houston at Oakland's 4 after a penalty was tacked on. Lamar Miller's short TD run padded the hosts' lead.
Maybe the NFL is in for another cold-weather Super Bowl.
With a temperature of 40 degrees at kickoff, the roof to NRG Stadium in Houston is closed for Saturday's wild-card game between the Raiders and Texans.
The closed roof - which does allow sunlight to pass through - also increases the fan noise for the home team.
But the cold temperatures outside are not a great harbinger weather-wise, considering the Super Bowl will be in Houston in four weeks.
The NFL postseason opened Saturday afternoon with an unlikely matchup of quarterbacks.
The Raiders (12-4) started third-string rookie Connor Cook, who saw his first action in the final game of the regular season after Matt McGloin injured his shoulder. McGloin had been forced into action after Derek Carr broke his leg.
Cook is the first QB in history to make his first NFL start in a playoff game.
Brock Osweiler started for the Houston Texans after being benched for Tom Savage two weeks ago. Savage suffered a concussion on Sunday.
Houston (9-7) is favored by three at home.
Later on wild-card Saturday, Detroit plays at Seattle.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL