Seahawks wide receiver Paul Richardson celebrates after he caught a pass for a touchdown Saturday. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Seahawks wide receiver Paul Richardson celebrates after he caught a pass for a touchdown Saturday. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Richardson dazzles with spectacular catches

SEATTLE – No way you go for it.

And no way he makes that catch.

But they did, and Paul Richardson’s miraculous touchdown catch in the second quarter was far and away the critical moment of the game.

The Seattle Seahawks eventually pulled away in the fourth quarter and beat the Detroit Lions 26-6 in an NFC Wild Card Playoff game Saturday at CenturyLink Field.

But it was a four-point game after three quarters, and Richardson’s insane 2-yard reception was the only touchdown to that point.

And it came on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line. With the score 0-0. Halfway through the second quarter.

Every tenant of conventional wisdom says you kick a field goal, especially when you’re the home team and heavily favored.

But Seattle coach Pete Carroll kept the offense on the field, and Richardson rewarded him with a touchdown that was a gut punch to the Lions.

“You’ve been around here,” Seattle tight end Luke Willson said to reporters after the game. “There’s not much conventional wisdom going around. You know what I’m saying? We kind of do whatever the hell we want to.

“I was fired up,” Willson said. “I’m ready to rumble. We were ready to rumble out there.”

Carroll said it was essentially a gut feeling.

“I had a feeling we were playing OK on D,” Carroll said. “I just wanted to go for it. That’s all.”

So, on fourth down, when a defensive stop would have been huge for Detroit, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson dropped back and lofted the ball toward Richardson, who was running left to right across the back of the end zone.

Richardson slowed down a little to adjust to the throw, and Detroit safety Tavon Wilson crashed into him. It was a clear case of defensive pass interference, which would have given Seattle another set of downs at the 1.

But Richardson was not content with that.

As he was falling down, with Wilson into his chest and falling on top of him, Richardson extended his left arm and got his hand under the ball. His right arm was wrapped around Wilson’s head and unable to get to the ball, but he was able to bring the ball in, one-handed, as he and Wilson slammed to the ground.

“All I remember is looking back and looking up and I saw the ball coming and I just had to make a play,” Richardson said. “I didn’t know that I had it until I got it, honestly. It was a tough play, but it worked out.”

Richardson had another spectacular one-handed catch in the fourth quarter to help Seattle put the game away.

On third-and-five, Richardson beat Detroit cornerback Nevin Lawson down the left sideline. Lawson grabbed Richardson’s right arm — and was called for interference on the play — but, again, Richardson reached out with his left hand and pulled the ball in for a 27-yard gain.

Moments later, the Seahawks scored their final touchdown to end all doubt.

Wide receivers work on one-handed catches all the time, but Richardson said he doesn’t care for those drills.

“I really dislike one-hand catches,” he said. “I never do them. In practice when they do one-handed catches I always put two hands on the ball.”

“It’s just reaction more than anything,” Richardson said of how he made those catches. “There’s a play that needs to be made and you just reach out and grab it.”

Richardson was Seattle’s second-round draft choice in 2014 and has yet to really reach the potential the Seahawks envisioned for him at the time. He tore a knee ligament in the 2014 playoffs and entered this season with only 50 career catches.

On Saturday he showcased his athleticism and explosiveness and demonstrated that it would be premature to give up on his career.

“When he’s out there he’s pretty darn explosive,” fellow wide receiver Doug Baldwin said of Richardson. “He made two huge catches for us. I couldn’t be more happy for him and more proud of him.”

Richardson’s stat line wasn’t all that impressive as he finished with three receptions for 48 yards.

But the plays he made were off the chart.

He loved the decision to go for it in the second quarter when most coaches would have taken the points.

“We did take the points, ultimately,” Richardson said. “We went for it, we executed, and it worked out for us.

“Was it a gutsy call? Yes, but all 11 guys did their jobs on that play.”

Yes, but one did it better than most.

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