It all seemed routine Saturday night. It seemed like suddenly the Seattle Seahawks’ well worn January football machine whirred to life.
Nothing that happened as a team in the weeks before their 26-6 wild card weekend trouncing of the Detroit Lions mattered. What happened? The Seahawks had alternated wins and losses each week to end the season starting in Week 11. There was little consistency on either side of the ball, especially with a scattered offense that scored five points one game, and then 40 points the next.
Nothing that happened with running back Thomas Rawls before Saturday lingered either. The oft-injured but highly physical runner had gained a mere 56 yards on the ground over Seattle’s final three regular-season games, averaging only 1.5 yards per carry.
Then Rawls did so much more than just break loose and shed his mediocre status against the Lions. He re-introduced the NFC side of the playoff bracket to a familiar and feared weapon: A Seahawks rushing offense eager to smack, stomp and score.
Forget about Rawls’ rushing total for a second, and we’ll get to that franchise record-setting number. What Rawls did in just the first half, as Brad Galli of WXYZ-TV Detroit noted, was already some serious trucking.
Thomas Rawls’ best regular season total this season: 106 yards.He has 107 yards in the first half vs. the Lions.
— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) January 8, 2017
Those first-half yards came on just 15 carries. Rawls also rumbled around to record 68 yards after contact in the first half alone, according to Louis Benjamin from Pro Football Focus.
By halftime the main scoreboard showed a tight game with the Seahawks leading only 10-3. But another scoreboard foreshadowed what was to come, as Seattle led in rushing yardage 111-28 after only two quarters.
It became very …