Seahawks return to playoffs with late-drive heroics over Chiefs

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 head coach Pete Carroll arrived.

The Seahawks are in the playoffs.

“You hear the noise,” Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright said. “You hear the 4-12 predictions, the 5-11 and that stuff motivates you. We kept believing.”

Seattle clinched its spot in the NFC playoffs after toppling Kansas City 38-31 on Sunday, thanks to three touchdown passes from Russell Wilson and two TD runs by Chris Carson.

Wilson got the better of Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and helped lead Seattle back to the postseason after it missed the playoffs a year ago. The Seahawks have made the playoffs in seven of the nine seasons with Carroll in charge, and six of seven with Wilson at quarterback.

It was unexpected after Seattle overhauled its roster in the offseason. But the discovery of the best run game in the NFL, coupled with veteran players such as 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 weren’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.”

The Seahawks (9-6) can wrap up the No. 5 seed and a matchup with Dallas by beating Arizona in Week 17.

Wilson was 18 of 29 passing for 271 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown pass to Ed Dickson with 7:31 left for his third TD. But it was Seattle’s next drive that stood out.

Leading 31-28, Wilson hit David Moore for 7 yards to convert a key third down. After Kansas City used its first timeout with 3:04 left, Wilson threw a 45-yard strike to Tyler Lockett and Baldwin added a one-handed catch for 29 yards to the Chiefs 1. Carson capped the decisive drive with his second TD run with 2:29 left, giving Seattle a 38-28 lead.

Carson rushed for 116 yards. Baldwin had seven catches for 126 yards, including an acrobatic 27-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter.

Tim Booth is an Associated Press writer.

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