NFL Game Summary - New Orleans at Seattle|
(Saturday, January 11th)
Final Score: Seattle 23, New Orleans 15
Seattle, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - Pete Carroll may be the quintessential West
Coast guy, but his Seattle Seahawks are definitely in a New York state of
The NFC's No. 1 seed moved within one game of a trip to the outskirts of
Manhattan for Super Bowl XLVIII after holding off the New Orleans Saints with
a 23-15 decision in a conference Divisional Playoff at a stormy and soggy
Seattle used a familiar formula to reach the NFC Championship Game for the
first time since the 2005 season. Workhorse running back Marshawn Lynch
churned out 140 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries, while the NFL's top-
ranked defense kept Drew Brees and the high-powered Saints well under wraps
with another stifling performance.
Russell Wilson managed just 103 yards on 9-of-18 passing, running a Seattle
offense that generated next to nothing for much of the second half, but had a
turnover-free game as Lynch and the defense made a 16-0 halftime lead stand
The Saints made it very interesting, however. Brees hit Marques Colston for a
9-yard touchdown with 26 seconds left to cut the difference to 23-15, and New
Orleans recovered the ensuing onside kickoff before ultimately running out of
time at the Seattle 38-yard line.
"I'm proud of the way our guys competed," said New Orleans head coach Sean
Payton. It's always tough when you get this far and you're not able to
The Seahawks will face either Carolina or San Francisco in next Sunday's
conference title game at their hostile home of CenturyLink Field, where
they've gone an intimidating 16-1 in Wilson's two years as the starting
"Whoever is coming in here, just be ready to play," said Seahawks defensive
end Red Bryant. "Because we damn sure will be."
Brees finished 24-of-43 for 309 yards and the late touchdown pass for a
Saints squad coming off its first-ever road playoff victory last week in
Philadelphia, while top target Jimmy Graham was held to only one catch that
came in the game's final seconds.
Colston had 11 catches for 144 yards, while Khiry Robinson rushed for 57 yards
and a touchdown on 13 attempts.
The Saints came in determined to avoid a repeat of their last visit to
CenturyLink Field, when they fell behind 17-0 after one quarter on the way to
a 34-7 shellacking. However, several miscues and failed executions put them in
another tough early hole they never quite got out of.
Steven Hauschka's first of three field goals, a 38-yarder on Seattle's initial
drive, was set up by a 16-yard shank by New Orleans punter Thomas Morstead and
a personal foul penalty on safety Rafael Bush for launching at a defenseless
Percy Harvin on a third-down pass. The Saints moved inside the Seahawks' 30 on
the following possession, but came up empty when Shayne Graham pulled a 45-
yard field goal try wide left.
Seattle then marched back into New Orleans territory, keyed by Golden Tate's
13-yard catch over the middle on 3rd-and-4, to position Hauschka for a 49-yard
kick that extended the lead to 6-0 late in the first quarter.
The second quarter began with another Saints' error, as Mark Ingram fumbled on
the opening snap and Michael Bennett recovered for Seattle at the opposing 27-
yard line. Two snaps later, Lynch took a shotgun handoff and powered his way
in for a 15-yard score and a 13-0 Seahawks' advantage.
Bobby Wagner batted down a Brees pass on fourth down later in the period to
thwart another New Orleans scoring chance, and Wilson proceeded to lead a 12-
play, 63-yard series that furthered the margin.
Harvin made a leaping 16-yard grab on third down and Wilson hit Jermaine
Kearse shortly afterward for a 25-yard gain to the Saints' 15. A defensive
holding call on Keenan Lewis gave the Seahawks a 1st-and-goal from the three
later on, though the New Orleans defense held to force Hauschka on for a 26-
yard field goal 1:18 prior to halftime.
New Orleans endured more frustration during the third quarter, having its
first two second-half drives stopped in Seattle's end, before finally getting
untracked near the end of the frame.
Brees connected on a pair of deep strikes, a 23-yarder to backup tight end
Josh Hill and a 25-yarder to Colston, during a 9-play, 74-yard sequence
Robinson capped with a determined 1-yard run with 13:11 remaining. Ingram
barreled across on the subsequent conversion attempt to suddenly bring the
Saints within one score.
However, more problems ensued to prevent New Orleans from inching closer. A
long catch by Kenny Stills to the Seattle 28 was wiped out by a holding
penalty on the Saints' next trek, which ended in a punt. On their following
drive, Shayne Graham missed badly on a 48-yard field goal try and the Seahawks
took over with 3:51 left.
"We had some drives that were right on the outskirts of field goal range,
opportunities to get points and we weren't able to cash in," Brees remarked.
"In a game like this where every point opportunity counts so much, you've got
to be able to take advantage of those."
After Wilson delivered a clutch 24-yard completion to Doug Baldwin, Lynch
seemingly put the game away by ripping off a 31-yard run to the end zone that
gave Seattle a 23-8 lead with 2:40 to go.
"We got a great look and it was an incredibly perfect throw," said Carroll of
Baldwin's acrobatic catch down the sidelines. "It's a catch that Doug has made
all year, and it couldn't have been more clutch."
Brees' TD strike to Colston on a fourth-down play kept New Orleans' hopes
alive, and the Saints had even more life when Shayne Graham's onside squibber
bounced off Tate's chest and Colston pounced on the ball at his own 41.
Colston was called for an illegal forward lateral upon making his final grab
at the Seattle 38 with under 10 seconds showing, however, with the resulting
run-off leaving New Orleans out of time for another play.
Harvin, playing in just his second game since undergoing offseason hip
surgery, had three catches for 21 yards but was held out the entire second
half after sustaining a concussion ... The Seahawks have now win six straight
postseason games at CenturyLink Field, with their last home playoff loss
coming to St. Louis in the 2004 Wild Card Round ... Pierre Thomas, New
Orleans' leading rusher during the regular season, was inactive for a second
straight week due to a chest injury ... New Orleans converted just 3-of-12
third-down opportunities ... The Saints fell to 1-6 all-time in road playoff
01/11 23:04:19 ET