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Lions defeat Packers: Seahawks reach playoffs after Lions defeat Packers, face 49ers in wild-card round
When the Seahawks trailed at halftime after one of their worst quarters of the season Sunday, and after they had to take the field again for an overtime period following a shocking missed field goal at the end of regulation, quarterback Geno Smith said there was one simple rallying cry.
“We don’t want the season to end,” Smith said. “I feel like everybody in the locker room, I feel like our coaches, everybody in the building, you know, we’re just coming together at the right time. We’re enjoying one another and going to work and enjoying your teammates, and the locker room is so fun that I don’t think guys want the season to end right now. We had to figure out a way to get a win.”
That they finally did, if in more excruciating fashion than they might ever have imagined, with Jason Myers getting some redemption from his 46-yard miss at the end of regulation to nail a 32-yard field goal with 4:34 left in overtime to give Seattle a 19-16 overtime win over the stubborn Los Angeles Rams.
Then they got the help they so desperately wanted and needed to fulfill that dream of keeping on playing when the Detroit Lions went into Lambeau Field and stunned Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers by the almost identical score of 20-16, allowing the Seahawks to sneak into the playoffs as the No. 7 seed in the NFC.
It was just Detroit’s fourth win in Green Bay since 1992 and came after the Lions had been eliminated when the Seahawks won. The two teams finished with the same records of 9-8, but Seattle got the seventh and final playoff bid thanks to a 48-45 win over the Lions in Detroit on Oct. 2.
Seattle’s season will now continue with a wild-card playoff game at San Francisco on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in Santa Clara.
“We’re really fired up about it,” coach Pete Carroll said on the Seahawks postgame show on KING 5 after the Seahawks finished 9-8. “It’s been hard, it’s been a challenge. We haven’t gotten it done the way we wanted to, yet here we are now and away we go.”
The playoff bid is the 10th in Carroll’s 13 seasons — and for the ninth time in the last 11 years — and this one may have been the most unlikely since his first, the 7-9 division-title-winning season of 2010, considering the low expectations following the March trade of Russell Wilson.
Beating the 49ers, who secured the second seed with a 38-13 win over Arizona Sunday, will obviously be a tough task.
Not only did San Francisco beat Seattle by a combined 48-20 in two games this season, but the 49ers are also the hottest team in the NFL, having won 10 in a row since a 3-4 start — their last loss coming against Kansas City on Oct. 23 — with seven victories by double digits.
But the Seahawks will take it, with Carroll saying to KING 5 that “we are going to be tough play against now. Our guys are ready to go.”
Carroll had joked after the Seahawks win but before the Lions win: “Well, we did everything we could to make the season last as long as possible. We squeezed every drop out of it.”
Now they’ll get to squeeze a little bit more after rallying to win after trailing at halftime and at the end of three quarters for the first time all season — they had been 0-7 when trailing after three quarters before Sunday, 0-6 when trailing at the half.
The halftime deficit of 13-6 came after a second quarter that might have been the worst of the season for the Seahawks. The Rams outgained Seattle 165-29 in the second quarter, scoring 10 points on drives of 48 and 87 yards.
The talk at halftime, Smith said, was tough — with no one tougher on himself than Smith, who threw an interception on Seattle’s first offensive play for the second time this season.
“Halftime we just got together and said, ‘Hey, man, we know what’s at stake,’” Smith said. “Honestly, probably one of my worst games this year. Regardless of the stats or what was going on, I was in it to win it. I was going out there. I was ready to lay my body on the line, do whatever it took to win. That was the message at half. You know, we have 30 minutes to go out there and write the story for the rest of our season, and I know every single guy wants to continue to play, and so we just stayed locked in and came out with that fight and exactly what we needed at the right time.”
The turnaround started quickly as the Seahawks drove 88 yards for a tying touchdown the first time they had the ball in the third quarter as Smith completed all three of his passes for 70 yards, the TD coming on a 36-yarder to Tyler Lockett.
The Rams responded with a 62-yard drive to take a 16-13 with 4:13 to play in the third quarter.
But the Rams only gained 28 yards and got two first downs the rest of the way.
Still, the Seahawks looked dead in the water when they were forced to punt from their own 21 with 8:47 left following a brutal-looking three-and-out.
But Seattle got the break it needed when Los Angeles reserve defensive end Jonah Williams was called for running into the punter.
Seattle used that second chance to drive to the Rams two with a first down, a potential winning TD in sights.
The drive, though, ended there as three Kenneth Walker III runs resulted in a loss of 2 yards.
Still, a Myers 22-yard field goal tied it at 16 with 2:22 left.
Seattle got the ball back following a three-and-out at its own 20 with 56 seconds left.
A 25-yard Smith scramble and a Jalen Ramsey personal foul got Seattle in field-goal range.
The usually reliable Myers missed for just the third time all season, his kick from 46 clanging off the right upright.
That forced overtime, which also momentarily looked bleak when Seattle got the ball first and went three-and-out.
But on L.A.’s second play of its first drive, the Rams tried to go for broke with Mayfield lofting a pass to a momentarily wide open Van Jefferson. Only, Quandre Diggs raced from the center of the field to the visiting sideline to pick off the pass at the 32.
“The ball hung forever,” Carroll said of Mayfield’s pass. “He (Diggs) timed it up perfectly to get it on the sidelines over there. He is such a great ball hawk that of course he is going to make that play if you give him a chance.”
Smith hit Lockett for 17 yards on a crossing pattern in front of former teammate and good friend Bobby Wagner, and Walker then ran for 20 more to set up Myers for a redemption-filled winning field goal.
“I was definitely hoping for it,” said Myers, who last month was named to the Pro Bowl. “It’s my job to make them and I didn’t do my job the first time. … I don’t know what the word is, but I’m just thankful for Diggs, Geno, and everybody on offense and defense for giving me another shot. They had a great drive on the last one in regulation and I should have come through. I’m thankful that we got another chance.”
And a few hours later, the Seahawks became grateful to Detroit that they’ll get at least one more chance to play this season.
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