Who DAT??? Seahawks Play Their Best Game Of The Season, Beat Saints In Wildcard Stunner – Seattle Times
The run was as hard to believe as the game it won.
Six different Saints touched Marshawn Lynch on the play when he never went down, a 67-yard touchdown run. If ever there was an exclamation point, Lynch delivered it with a one-armed shove that knocked Saints cornerback Tracy Porter 5 yards backward.
And once Lynch reached the end zone, it was clear that these Saints, the defending Super Bowl champions, had been KO’d by a punch no one saw coming.
The final score: Seattle 41, New Orleans 36.
Lynch came back to the sidelines after his game-clinching TD, ball in his left hand, right arm raised as he flexed his biceps, and if there was any doubt, Lynch showed that yes, these Seahawks were stronger than anyone expected. The largest home underdog in NFL playoff history had won.
Doubted all week and down by 10 points to New Orleans, the first NFL team with a losing record ever to win a division went and earned its way to a fifth consecutive home playoff victory and one more game. At least.
Seattle will play at either Atlanta or Chicago next week, depending on the outcome of Sunday’s game between Green Bay and Philadelphia. If the Packers win, Seattle plays at Chicago. If the Eagles win, Seattle will play at the Falcons.
So when did your jaw hit the floor?
Was it with 1:15 left in the second quarter and Matt Hasselbeck threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Stokley to give Seattle its first lead over New Orleans?
Or was it when Seattle faced third-and-2 on its first possession of the second half, and Hasselbeck lobbed a 38-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams, to put Seattle ahead by 11?
Or maybe it wasn’t until the fourth quarter after the defending Super Bowl champions cut Seattle’s lead to four points and were playing to get the ball back only to Lynch run 67 yards to a touchdown as 66,336 fans had Qwest Field echoing with TNT-grade decibels.
The Saints scored a touchdown on their next possession, but with 1:30 left, they attempted an onside kick recovered by tight end John Carlson. Seattle ran Marshawn Lynch twice took a knee and began to celebrate.
Matt Hasselbeck passed for four touchdowns, a Seahawks playoff record.
Hasselbeck – who had his third pass of the game picked off – came back to throw three touchdown passes in the first two quarters. Two of them were to tight end John Carlson, whose only touchdown of the regular season came all the way back in Week 3.
This Seattle offense that scored more than 24 points in only four games all season had that many points at halftime. The defense that gave up five consecutive touchdown drives to the Saints back in November, forced two punts in the first half and a turnover that set up Seattle’s game-tying field goal.
That field goal was sandwiched between two touchdown passes by Hasselbeck.
Seattle scored 17 consecutive points, took a 24-17 lead on Stokley’s 45-yard touchdown catch.
The Saints came back to kick a field goal on the final play of the first half, and trailed 24-20 at halftime. Seattle got the ball and scored on Williams’ touchdown reception.
Seattle led by 14 points when the third quarter ended yet the Seahawks appeared on the verge of losing the game after New Orleans scored 10 points in the first 6 minutes of the fourth quarter first on Julius Jones’ 4-yard touchdown run and then on Garrett Hartley’s 21-yard field goal.
With 5 minutes, 36 seconds left, Seattle held a four-point lead and New Orleans had the ball at its own 6-yard line.
The first play was an 11-yard pass to Julius Jones. He was tackled by linebacker Lofa Tatupu, a collision so fierce both players left the game wobbly. Then came a false-start penalty against New Orleans, the Saints’ third of the game.
An incompletion follow by a 7-yard pass to fullback Heath Evans brought up third-and-8, and Brees threw incomplete on a play in which the Saints were penalized for holding. The Seahawks declined and got the ball back with 4:20 remaining in the game.
Two plays later Lynch ran roughshod over the Saints, sealing the victory.
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