NFL Game Summary - New Orleans at Seattle|
(Saturday, January 8th)
Final Score: Seattle 41, New Orleans 36
Seattle, WA (Sports Network) - Marshawn Lynch reached up and pushed Tracy
Porter to the ground, then rumbled the rest of the way to the end zone.
It was the perfect image for a playoff shocker that has the worst NFL
postseason team in history moving on.
Lynch broke about eight tackles on a 67-yard touchdown run in the fourth
quarter, and the Seattle Seahawks held on for a 41-36 win over the New Orleans
Saints in a thrilling Wild Card game Saturday.
The Seahawks won the NFC West with a 7-9 record, the first time a losing team
has ever made the playoffs, but they rallied from a 10-point deficit in this
one and knocked the reigning Super Bowl champions out of contention for a
"A great feeling," said Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
Hasselbeck returned from a hip injury and passed for 272 yards and four
touchdowns, even sprinting downfield to block on Lynch's highlight-reel romp
in the fourth quarter that gave Seattle a 41-30 lead with 3:22 remaining.
Drew Brees led the Saints on a 70-yard drive, throwing a six-yard touchdown
pass to Devery Henderson, but they were stuffed on the two-point attempt and
couldn't recover an onside kick.
Brees ended 39-of-60 for 404 yards and two touchdowns for New Orleans, which
became the first defending Super Bowl champion to lose a playoff game after
leading by at least 10 points.
The Saints earned a Wild Card berth with their 11-5 record, but got the fifth
seed and were forced to travel to fourth-seeded Seattle to face the NFC West
champions despite a superior record.
"If there's anything we can take away from this it's just that it's hard to
win in this league and it's hard to win on the road, especially in the
playoffs," said Brees.
It looked good early for the Saints, who took a 17-7 lead in the first half.
But things unraveled quickly as the league's fourth-best passing defense was
picked apart by the "other" veteran quarterback on Qwest Field.
New Orleans allowed four passing touchdowns to Hasselbeck after giving up an
NFL-low 13 in the regular season.
The Seattle quarterback threw two early touchdown passes to tight end John
Carlson, who also caught the Saints' onside kick attempt near the end of the
game. He also dropped perfect passes into Brandon Stokley and Mike Williams on
45- and 38-yard scores.
Hasselbeck didn't play in last Sunday's division-clinching win over St. Louis
after suffering a hip injury the week before in a loss to Tampa Bay. But he
took his starting job back from Charlie Whitehurst for this one and made the
most of it.
"I've felt good about out season this whole time, even though other people
don't," said Hasselbeck. "For us to handle the adversity and all the things we
had to and still come out on top of our division is a tremendous job in
finding a way."
The deciding blow was delivered by Lynch, who led all players with 131 yards
on 19 carries -- none more important than his 67-yarder in the fourth.
He busted through the line off right tackle on a run that took him toward the
right sideline and downfield for the score. Jabari Greer had him wrapped up
around the legs, but couldn't hold on.
With what seemed like the entire Seahawks offense trailing him, Lynch saved
his best for another Saints cornerback, bowling over Porter with a stiff arm.
"One of the greatest runs I ever saw," said first-year Seattle head coach Pete
Carroll. "At a time when we needed it most, it was just an incredible play.
I'm sure that everyone will remember that run forever. It was just one of
Even Hasselbeck made it downfield for a block.
"We worked hard to [win]. It's not like it just kind of happened," said
Hasselbeck. "We worked hard this week, we prepared and we believed and we laid
it on the line."
With the win, the Seahawks earned a road meeting with either No. 1 seed
Atlanta or No. 2 seed Chicago next week. They needed to rally for the honor.
Seattle scored 17 straight points in the first half and carried a 24-20 lead
into the locker room after the Saints got a late field goal.
Carrying over that momentum, the Seahawks scored 10 points in the third
quarter, the first seven when Hasselbeck dropped a perfect pass over two
defenders and into the arms of Williams for a 31-20 lead.
Seattle turned a Saints punt into a 34-20 lead on Olindo Mare's 39-yard field
goal, then stopped New Orleans on a 4th-and-1 try when former teammate Julius
Jones was tripped up behind the line of scrimmage.
But the Seahawks moved themselves out of field goal range with a delay of game
penalty and were forced to punt. Brees moved the Saints 87 yards downfield and
Jones scored on a bruising four-yard run to make it 34-27.
Jones took a screen pass 33 yards down the right sideline on the Saints' next
possession and Garrett Hartley kicked a 21-yard field goal to pull them within
34-30 before Lynch's run.
To start the game, the Saints got the ball at their own 40-yard line after
Mare booted the opening kickoff out of bounds. Reggie Bush dropped a pass deep
in the red zone and New Orleans settled for a 26-yard field goal from Hartley.
Hasselbeck was intercepted by Greer on his third attempt and the Saints turned
it into a 10-0 lead when Brees hit a wide-open Heath Evans for a one-yard TD.
Seattle pulled within 10-7 on Hasselbeck's 11-yard touchdown pass to Carlson
on the ensuing possession, but the New Orleans came right back with an 83-yard
scoring drive that ended in Jones' five-yard touchdown on a draw.
The Seahawks then scored 17 straight points to take the lead, beginning with
Hasselbeck's seven-yard TD pass to Carlson. The play was set up by tight end
Cameron Morrah's 39-yard catch down the left sideline.
Following the game's first two punts, Seattle defensive end Raheem Brock
stripped Jones on the first play and Mare kicked a 29-yard field goal to tie
the game at 17-17.
The Saints punted again and Hasselbeck dropped a perfect pass into the arms of
Stokley, who got behind three New Orleans defenders for a 45-yard TD.
New Orleans got three points back before the half on Hartley's 22-yard field
goal, which was set up by Brees' six-yard scramble for a first down.
Jones, who played the first two games of the regular season with Seattle,
gained 59 yards on 15 carries with two touchdowns. Henderson led all players
with seven catches for 77 yards.
Seattle wrestled the NFC West away from the St. Louis Rams with a 16-6 win at
home last Sunday...The Saints had 32 first downs to Seattle's 19...New Orleans
outgained the Seahawks 474-415 yards.
01/08 23:23:25 ET