Marshawn Lynch powers Seattle to NFC Championship Game

Running back gains 140 yards, two touchdowns

Published: January 11 2014 | 6:39 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 1:58 am in

Seahawks 23, Saints 15: Marshawn Lynch rushed for 140 yards and a pair of touchdowns to power host Seattle into the NFC Championship Game.

Russell Wilson threw for only 103 yards on 9-of-18 passing at rainy and windswept CenturyLink Field, but improved to 16-1 at home in his first two seasons for the Seahawks (14-3). Top seed Seattle survived a last-minute touchdown and recovered onside kick to advance against Carolina or San Francisco next weekend for the right to go to the Super Bowl.

The Seahawks' top-ranked defense, which dominated New Orleans in a 34-7 home victory Dec. 2, repeatedly stymied the Saints (12-6) before Lynch put the game away with a 31-yard scoring run off left tackle to make it 23-8 with 2:40 to play. The Saints got a 9-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees to Marques Colston (10 catches, 131 yards) with 26 seconds left and recovered the onside kick before time ran out on them at midfield.

Brees completed 24-of-43 passes for 309 yards - 275 in the second half - and one touchdown for New Orleans, which was held off the scoreboard until Khiry Robinson capped a 74-yard drive with a 1-yard run with 13:11 to play. New Orleans squandered a scoring chance after Brees hooked up with Robert Meachem for 52 yards on a deflected pass, but Shayne Graham missed badly on a 48-yard field goal into the wind with 3:51 remaining.

The Seahawks punted on their first five possessions of the second half and Wilson had only 11 yards passing after the break until connecting with Doug Baldwin for a 24-yard strike down the left sideline. Lynch swept around left end on the very next play, capping his third career 100-yard postseason game.

New Orleans was fortunate to be within 16-0 at the half after committing myriad mistakes, including a 16-yard punt and a missed 45-yard field goal by Shayne Graham that led to a pair of first-quarter field goals by Steven Hauschka. The Seahawks turned Mark Ingram's fumble into the only TD of the half - a 15-yard run by Lynch - and added another field goal by Hauschka after stopping the Saints on fourth-and-4 at their 29-yard line.

GAME NOTEBOOK: Seahawks WR Percy Harvin, playing in only his second game of the season after undergoing surgery on his Achilles' tendon, exited the game with a concussion in the final two minutes of the first half. He was also evaluated for a concussion when he absorb a shoulder-to-helmet hit on Seattle's first possession. ... Brees finished 5-of-12 for 34 yards in the opening 30 minutes, his lowest total since joining New Orleans and the first time he's been held to less than 50 yards in the first half since Dec. 31, 2006, against Carolina. ... Leading rusher Pierre Thomas was inactive for the Saints, who were blanked through three quarters for the first time since January 2002 against San Francisco.

Have you found an error or omission in our reporting? Is there other feedback and/or ideas you want to share with us? Tell us here.



Featured Jobs from corridorcareers.com