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Seahawks, Ravens advance in NFL playoffs

BALTIMORE, Maryland: The stellar rookie seasons of quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III came to an end on Sunday as the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins respectively lost in the NFL wild-card playoffs.
The only remaining rookie quarterback in the playoffs is Russell Wilson, who teamed with Marshawn Lynch to guide the Seattle Seahawks to a 24-14 comeback win over Washington.
“It was a tremendous game,” Wilson said. “We were fortunate enough to come out with a win. It was a battle, we kept playing. One play at a time, that’s what I kept telling the guys.” The Seahawks overcame a 14-0 first-quarter hole — their biggest deficit this season — and will visit the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons next Sunday. Seattle has a six-game winning streak, and ended the stigma that it couldn’t win on the road in the playoffs; it had lost the previous eight away games in the postseason.
“It was a huge win,” Wilson said, “and we’re excited about the opportunities.” In Baltimore, Ray Lewis and the Ravens eliminated No.1 draft pick Luck and the Indianapolis Colts with a 24-9 win. The victory delayed Lewis’ retirement for at least another week as Baltimore heads to top-seeded Denver next Saturday.
“I knew how it started, but I never knew how it would end here in Baltimore,” said Lewis, who played his final home game. “To go the way it did today, I wouldn’t change anything.” The other playoff games next weekend are Green Bay at San Francisco on Saturday, and Houston at New England on Sunday.
The Packers set up the showdown with the 49ers after beating the Minnesota Vikings in the wild-card round Saturday. The teams met in the season opener, a 30-22 victory by San Francisco.
Houston gets another chance against New England after beating Cincinnati 19-13 on Saturday in quarterback Matt Schaub’s first postseason start. The AFC East champion Patriots trounced the Texans 42-14 at Foxborough on Dec. 10, the first of three losses in four games for Houston to end the regular season.
Griffin did not finish the game against Seattle, buckling his right knee as he tried to collect a bad shotgun snap. That left the Redskins an offseason to worry about their quarterback’s fitness.
Griffin was playing in his third game since spraining his right knee about a month ago against Baltimore, and he had been looking preppy since tumbling backward following an ill-advised sidearm throw in the first quarter.
Nevertheless, he stayed in the game. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said he didn’t pull Griffin because the quarterback wanted to continue.
“I did put myself at more risk,” Griffin said. “But every time you get on the field, you’re putting yourself on the line.” Griffin was scheduled for a scan to determine the extent of the injury.
Lynch ran for 132 yards, and Wilson completed 15 of 26 passes for 187 yards and ran eight times for 67 yards for the Seahawks.
Baltimore’s Anquan Boldin set a franchise record with 145 yards receiving, including the clinching touchdown in the Ravens’ victory. It set up a rematch with Denver, who cruised past Baltimore 34-17 three weeks ago.
“I wanted Denver,” Boldin said, “because they beat us. We’ll make it different.” Lewis, who made 13 tackles, ended his last home game in Baltimore at fullback for the final kneel-down. He then went into a short version of his trademark dance before being mobbed by teammates. He followed with a victory lap, his right arm, covered by a brace, held high in salute to the fans after playing for the first time since tearing his right triceps on Oct. 14 against Dallas.
The loss ended the Colts’ turnaround season in which they went from 2-14 to the playoffs in coach Chuck Pagano’s first year in Indianapolis. Pagano missed 12 weeks while undergoing treatment for leukemia and returned last week.
Indy’s only points came on three field goals by Adam Vinatieri. Luck completed 28 of 54 passes, the most attempts by a rookie in a playoff game, for 288 yards.