SEATTLE - Doubted before the season began, questioned even more after a 0-2 start, the Seattle Seahawks are back where they’ve spent most seasons since Pete Carroll arrived.
The Seahawks are in the playoffs and perhaps as the type of opponent no one would like to see in the postseason.
Seattle clinched its spot in the NFC playoffs after toppling Kansas City 38-31 on Sunday night, thanks to three touchdown passes from Russell Wilson and a pair of TD runs by Chris Carson.
“You hear it. You hear the noise. You hear the 4-12 predictions, the 5-11 and that stuff motivates you,” Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright said. “We kept believing.”
Wilson got the better of Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and helped lead Seattle back to the postseason after missing the playoffs a year ago. Seattle has now made the playoffs in seven of the nine seasons with Carroll in charge, and six of seven with Wilson at quarterback.
It was an unexpected accomplishment after Seattle overhauled its roster in the offseason. But the discovery of the best run game in the NFL, coupled with vets like Wilson, Bobby Wagner and Doug Baldwin was enough for Seattle to navigate its way into the postseason.
“There’s an emotion to it that’s deep and it’s because there wasn’t very many people that thought we could do this,” Carroll said. “Most everybody thought we didn’t have a chance and to hang together, hang through it, we got it done before the season is even over.”
Wilson was 18 of 29 for 271 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown pass to Ed Dickson with 7:31 left for his third TD.
The Chiefs (11-4) were unable to come through with a victory that would have wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the AFC for the second straight week.
“I know if you take care of business, you don’t have to talk about anything,” Kansas City coach Andy Reid said. “When we play the way we can play, and we are going to play, we are a tough team.”
Mahomes finished 23 of 40 for 273 yards and threw three touchdowns passes.
Eagles 32, Texans 30
In Philadelphia, Jake Elliott kicked a 35-yard field goal for the Eagles as time expired.
Defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia (8-7) needs a win at Washington (7-8) next week and for Minnesota (8-6-1) to lose to get a wild-card berth.
Saints 31, Steelers 28
In New Orleans, Drew Brees capped a 326-yard passing performance with a 2-yard touchdown to Michael Thomas with 1:25 left, and the Saints clinched the top seed in the NFC.
Cowboys 27, Buccaneers 20
In Arlington, Texas, the Cowboys wrapped up the NFC East title when Dak Prescott accounted for two touchdowns and Jaylon Smith returned a fumble 69 yards for a score.
In Other Games
Patriots 24, Bills 12
Rams 31, Cardinals 9
Colts 28, Giants 27
Vikings 27, Lions 9
Bears 14, 49ers 9
Jaguars 17, Dolphins 7
Browns 26, Bengals 18
Packers 44, Jets 38 (OT)
Falcons 24, Panthers 10