The Latest on the NFL’s divisional playoff games Saturday (all times Eastern):
Seattle cornerback DeShawn Shead appeared to suffer a serious injury to his left knee on the second play of the second half.
Shead was hurt in a non-contact injury as he appeared to plant and break on a pass play.
He was helped off the field not putting any weight on his leg, but was walking with a limp on the sideline. The team said Shead was questionable to return.
Shead was replaced by undrafted rookie DeAndre Elliott.
Matt Ryan has thrown for two first-half touchdowns and the Atlanta Falcons have a 19-10 lead over the Seattle Seahawks at halftime of the NFC divisional playoff game.
Ryan was fantastic in the first half, completing 15 of 20 for 190 yards and finished the half with a 14-yard TD pass to Tevin Coleman with 59 seconds left in the second quarter. The touchdown to Coleman capped a 99-yard scoring drive that took just nine plays. Atlanta did not face a third down on the drive.
Atlanta has protected Ryan, allowing just one sack and three quarterback hits in the first half.
Seattle started well, leading 10-7 early in the second quarter. But the turning point was a 79-yard punt return by Devin Hester that was called back on a holding penalty against Kevin Pierre-Louis away from the play. Two plays later, Seattle gave up a safety when Russell Wilson fell in the end zone and started a 12-point surge by the Falcons to close out the first half.
Atlanta gets the ball to start the second half.
The Atlanta Falcons have taken a 12-10 lead in the second quarter after field goal by Matt Bryant.
Following a safety when Russell Wilson fell into the end zone, Atlanta hit a big play to Taylor Gabriel for 37 yards and Bryant capped the drive with a 35-yard field goal.
Seattle backup guard Rees Odhiambo, who stepped on Wilson’s foot leading to the safety, was replaced by starter Germain Ifedi on Seattle’s next possession. Ifedi left in the first quarter with an ankle injury.
Every Seahawks possession has ended in points. Too bad for Seattle, the latest score was a safety that cut the lead over Atlanta to 10-9.
Steven Hauschka’s 33-yard field goal gave Seattle a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter.
Seattle got another big play from Paul Richardson on a 33-yard reception on the drive . It first appeared to be a touchdown, but Richardson was ruled to be touched down.
Another apparent touchdown was called back because of a penalty on a Devin Hester return. That backed the Seahawks up and led to the safety when Wilson fell in the end zone.
Starting Seattle right guard Germain Ifedi remained out with a leg injury and was replaced by Rees Odhiamabo.
The Atlanta Falcons have answered with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan to Julio Jones to pull even with the Seattle Seahawks at 7-7 early in the second quarter.
The Falcons have scored a touchdown on the opening drive of their last seven games.
Jones had three catches for 27 yards on Atlanta’s opening possession that went 75 yards in 13 plays and the Falcons faced third down only once. Jones appeared to get a pick from fellow wide receiver Mohamed Sanu on the touchdown reception that led to complaining from Seattle’s Richard Sherman.
Sherman was beaten twice by Jones on Atlanta’s first drive and was also called for defensive holding.
The first two drives of the game ate up the entire first quarter.
The Seattle Seahawks have scored on their opening drive on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Jimmy Graham to take a 7-0 over the Atlanta Falcons.
Seattle went 89 yards in 14 plays and took more than half of the first quarter off the clock. Seattle also carried over its success running the ball from last week’s win over Detroit. The Seahawks had 49 yards rushing on the opening possession.
While the Seattle Seahawks have enjoyed unprecedented success since Pete Carroll arrived in 2010, this round of the playoffs has been a problem.
Seattle is 0-3 in NFC divisional round road games under Carroll. In fact, Seattle hasn’t won a divisional round road game since Dec. 31, 1983, back when the Seahawks were in the AFC. Seattle upset the Miami Dolphins before losing to the Los Angeles Raiders in the AFC championship game. Seattle has just three playoff road wins in franchise history.
The problem for Seattle in this round during Carroll’s tenure has been slow starts. In the 2010 playoffs, Seattle fell behind 21-0 and lost 35-24. Two years later, the Seahawks trailed Atlanta 20-0 and despite rallying in the fourth quarter, lost 30-28 on a field goal in the closing seconds. And last year, the Seahawks trailed Carolina 31-0 at halftime and their second-half rally fell short in a 31-24 loss.
The Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots are the favorites as the NFL playoffs resume on Saturday.
The Falcons get the weekend started hosting the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC divisional playoff game, while the Patriots are heavy favorites in the night game hosting the Houston Texans.
Both games are rematches of regular season meetings: the Seahawks beat the Falcons 26-24 in Week 6 in Seattle and the Patriots shut out the Texans 27-0 in Week 3.
Seattle hopes it can replicate the performance of its run game from last week’s win over Detroit when Thomas Rawls rushed for a franchise playoff record 161 yards. It might be the best way to slow down Atlanta’s All-Pro quarterback Matt Ryan and the No. 1 scoring offense in the NFL.
New England is more than two touchdown favorites even against Houston’s defense that finished the regular season No. 1 in fewest yards allowed.