The synergy that marked Seahawks’ football at its best — a bruising running game that sets up an effective passing game and keeps the defense fresh with extended drives — was for the most part in full display.

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The Seahawks entered the playoffs covered by the semblance of a dark cloud, emanating red flags and warning signs at every turn.

They weren’t as cohesive as they used to be. They couldn’t run the ball like they once did. Their intimidation factor had faded. Their championship pedigree, and aura, was dimming.

That was the narrative, anyway. They had limped down the homestretch, and the playoffs felt like a last stand, one that seemed destined to end like Custer’s, if not against Detroit, then certainly in Atlanta.

Their win over the Lions has altered that perception, at least for me. A team that desperately needed a course correction found one on a cold night at CenturyLink Field. Sure, it was against a Lions team that was in free fall, and yes, it was close and lackluster for much of the night until a fourth-quarter surge by the Seahawks.

But I think it’s possible to come away from Seattle’s 26-6 victory with a glimpse of how the Seahawks can mount another Super Bowl run. Not a guarantee, or even a likelihood, certainly. Not with a date against the NFL’s top-scoring team (by a whopping margin of 71 points over the No. 2 team, New Orleans) up next, on the road.

But Richard Sherman, smiling and chatting again after the game, summed up the transformation.

“It felt right,’’ he said. “It felt correct.”

The game did have a vintage Seahawks feel to it. At their best, the Seahawks play with a bravado and élan that had been sporadic, or missing altogether, this season. But you could see it re-emerging Saturday, particularly as the game went on. To the eternal question of whether it’s possible to “flip a switch” when the postseason begins … well, just maybe.

“I think offensively, defensively, even in the kicking game, we had our identity,’’ said running back Thomas Rawls.

Rawls’ breakout, with a Seattle playoff-record 161 rushing yards, was a large part of that.

The synergy that marked Seahawks’ football at its best — a bruising running game that sets up an effective passing game and keeps the defense fresh with extended drives — was for the most part in full display.

The time of possession disparity was notable: 36 minutes, 39 seconds for the Seahawks, 23:21 for the Lions.

“When we get out there and get a three-and-out or when we don’t have to go out there for 12 or 13 drives (in a game), it keeps us fresh,’’ said linebacker Bobby Wagner. “For a team (like Atlanta) that’s coming off a bye, we’re trying to be as fresh as possible. This game worked out well for us.”

Most notably, the Seahawks’ offensive line dominated the Lions and helped make Rawls’ outburst possible. If this is a trend, and not an aberration, it’s a huge boost for the remainder of the playoffs. The phrase that was heard frequently after the game was “imposing their will.” It was a long-awaited return to the days when that was a regular occurrence in the heyday of Marshawn Lynch.

“When they run the ball the way they can run it, it’s intimidating,’’ Wagner said. “When Rawls lowers his shoulder, it sets the tone for the entire game. We’re going to be physical on our end and it’s going to be physical on their end too.”

Tackle Garry Gilliam could sense the Lions’ defenders wilting as the game progressed and Rawls continued to punish them with his runs — eight in a row on one key touchdown drive.

“After awhile, they have to make a business decision whether they’re going to tackle him or not,’’ Gilliam said. “I think you saw that. They don’t want to hit heads no more. It’s fun.”

The Seahawks, in fact, seemed to be having fun again out there, which can’t be underestimated in a season in which two games have been marred by Sherman’s sideline tirades. One of them helped turn what seemed like a comfortable advantage over Atlanta into a narrow victory.

The daring of Pete Carroll’s going for it Saturday on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line in the second quarter brought to mind the Seahawks’ swashbuckling confidence in their dominant years — and was rewarded with a circus, highlight-reel touchdown grab by Paul Richardson.

Maybe the Seahawks found something to rally around, their belief that the team is being underestimated. Michael Bennett talked about how “people wrote us off and said we wouldn’t have a chance” — which belies the fact the Seahawks were heavy favorites over Detroit and picked to win by most analysts. But athletic grudges don’t have to necessarily be grounded in reality; they just have to work.

“We went out there and showed people that they don’t know what they’re talking about,’’ Bennett said.

There’s no doubt the Seahawks’ prospects will be doubted this week in Atlanta, and rightfully so. Under former Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, the Falcons are playing like a team with a Super Bowl stamp. They finished the regular season on a four-game winning streak and have the league’s most explosive offense — or at least this side of Pittsburgh.

Yet as Seahawks exited CenturyLink on Saturday night, they didn’t look like sacrificial lambs. They looked like a team that had remembered the formula that helped them soar in the past.