Record-setting playoff game for Seahawks back | Seattle’s Paul Richardson, poor run defense spell doom for Lions vs. Seahawks, but refereeing again an issue – 2017


Record-setting playoff game for Seahawks back | Seattle’s Paul Richardson, poor run defense spell doom for Lions vs. Seahawks, but refereeing again an issue

As we heard frequently this week, the Detroit Lions have not won a playoff game on the road since 1957. That streak is not ending this year.

Eye-popping plays by receiver Paul Richardson, poor run defense by the Lions, and some suspect officiating all played roles on Saturday night, as the Seattle Seahawks moved on to the divisional round of the NFC playoffs with a 26-6 win over Detroit. Seattle will travel to Atlanta to face the second-seeded Falcons on Jan. 14.

It was the fourth straight loss to end the season for the Lions, who are still looking for their first playoff win since the 1991 season, a nine-game postseason losing streak that is the longest in NFL history. Seattle, meanwhile, will be playing on the second weekend of the postseason for the fifth straight year and sixth time in the last seven.

Or, to put the Lions’ playoff futility another way as noted by Football Outsiders editor Vincent Verhei, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has eight postseason wins in his five-year career; the Detroit Lions franchise, in existence for 81 years, has seven.

Richardson and the officials came into play in the second quarter. The third-year player made an incredible, one-handed touchdown catch midway through the second quarter.

But part of the reason Richardson didn’t get both hands on the ball is that his other hand was grabbing at the facemask of Lions safety Tavon Wilson. The officials did not call the foul.

As the second half began, NBC’s Michelle Tafoya reported that the officiating crew told Detroit head coach Jim Caldwell they “flat-out missed” the facemask penalty against Richardson. Admitting as much, however, did little for the Lions, as the touchdown could not be taken off the board.

The refs told a different story postgame.

Pool report: Brad Allen said he did not apologize to Jim Caldwell for the missed facemask, & doesn’t believe anyone on his crew did
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) January 8, 2017

Later in the game, as Detroit was trying to close the gap, quarterback Matthew Stafford threw down the sideline for T.J. Jones and Jones was tripped up by a Seahawks defensive back. The attempt looked like an overthrow, but not egregiously so.

Still, despite Jones being tripped, there was no flag for pass interference; referee Brad Allen announced that the officials determined it to be an uncatchable ball, so that’s why there was no foul.

Current and former Lions players recognized the inequity in the officiating, noting that this isn’t the first time Detroit has gotten the short end of the stick in the playoffs.

The Lions do not get calls in the playoffs I thought we established that in Dallas!
— DIGGZ32 (@JamesIhedigbo) January 8, 2017

we get no calls.
— Quandre Diggs (@qdiggs6) January 8, 2017

Lions CB Darius Slay on the officiating: “Oh, they were terrible. They terrible. But it’s a game, so.”
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) January 8, 2017

But while Allen’s crew was far from flawless, the Lions didn’t do enough to help their cause, particularly on defense. They could not stop Seattle running back Thomas Rawls, who set a franchise record for rushing yards in a playoff game, with 161 on 27 carries (about 6 YPC). Rawls also had a touchdown.

Richardson had two other highlight-reel-worthy catches in the game, and Seattle rounded out the scoring with one more one-handed catch, this from Doug Baldwin, who stole a touchdown from Jermaine Kearse as both ended up in nearly the same spot in the end zone, and Kearse had his hands set up to receive the pass when Baldwin stretched his arm out to get the ball.

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