The Seattle Seahawks have advanced to host the NFC Championship game after defeating the New Orleans Saints, 23-15 on a blustery, rainy early evening.
In a game where both defences were dominant, it was ultimately the running ability of Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch, 28 carries 140 yards, and two touchdowns, that lifted Seattle through to next weeks Championship game to host either San Francisco or Carolina, who battle it out later today.
The stats do not back up exactly how good the Seattle defence played, the Saints accumulated 407 yards total offence compared to the Seahawks 277. They swarmed all over the Drew Brees led pass attack and everywhere his passes were located there seemed to be a man in blue and green to knock it away. Brees would end the day with 309 yards through the air as he chased the game late on, and nearly pulled off a comeback.
Steven Hauschka, the ‘Hawks placekicker was busy in the first half, kicking three field goals, and Lynch went in from 15 yards for his first score early in the second period. Seattle went into the half time interval 16-0 up and the Saints had no idea how to sustain any type of drive, although they did have a missed field goal to show for their limited efforts.
Early in the fourth quarter, after a scoreless third period, New Orleans found a way into the end zone, Khiry Robinson going in from a yard out, and Mark Ingram converting the tw0-point conversion/ Game on then, and now, with the Saints defence still managing to force the Seahawks to punt, it seemed we were in for a thrilling finish.
Then it was time for Lynch to seal the deal as he broke through the line, shed a tackle and raced 31 yards for his second score of the day to put his team ahead by two scores again. New Orleans set about trying to save their season in the last two minutes, and Brees orchestrated another long touchdown drive which ended with his 9 yard toss to Marques Colston.
The Saints then recovered the onside kick, but had to go the best part of 60 yards with no timeouts to to the game up. They had a chance to set-up a Hail Mary chance, but when Colston opted to throw illegally across the field instead of stepping out of bounds the game was over.
As predicted the Seahawks are a tough proposition on their own patch and whoever wins later tonight will have to be at their very best to beat them.