The New Orleans Saints came to battle the Seattle Seahawks, but seemed delusional in their surroundings, at times they were so confused they forgot where they were. The Saints were on the field of the 12th man . Confused as they where they forgot what they were up against and lost themselves in a skirmish.
But the game was no piece of cake for the Seahawks, at home in CenturyLink Stadium, as the Saints did them a run for their money. However, they were the more alert team out the gate. It was wet and windy conditions to play in as no surprise to the Seattle faithful. The Seahawks seemed more prepared as they secured the ball more.
This wasn’t easy for either team, but the conditions in the air belong to the Seahawks it was their home they had the advantage. Playing inside a stadium with the roof only cover 30 percent of the building still was simply not the dome the Saints are use too. And of course, the “12th Man” the crowd noise that never vanishes away till the last whistle blows.
Durability and awareness is what Sean Payton stressed to his team, but the message didn’t get delivered enough on Saturday. A team that is extremely effective throughout the season on offense moving the ball for over 5,000 yards and forcing turnovers on defense ran into to a brick wall during the season was lost at times Saturday.
The game was only close for a short time as Saints finally got on the board in third and cut the score in half 16-8. But before the day was over it was quickly 23-8 and with little time on the clock the Saints were in desperation mode. As the Seahawks defense flustered Drew Brees and New Orleans and squeezed in a victory 23-15 and place themselves in the NFC Championship.
A simple recap of the game. The star of the game was running back Marshawn Lynch that carried the ball 28 times for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Seattle kicker also played a major part in the game for the Seahawks as Steven Hauschka added three field goals in stormy conditions and the top-seeded Seahawks advanced to the NFC title game for the second time.
Seattle completely shutout the Saints in the first half, and Lynch’s first 100-yard game since Week 10 of the regular season and received a spark from the brief return of wide receiver Percy Harvin before he left with a concussion.
Wilson missed on five of his first six pass attempts to start the second half, but came through with a 31-yard completion to Doug Baldwin with 2:57 remaining. The Saints blitzed again, but Wilson and Baldwin connected. Lynch on the next play scored on a 15-yard run in the first half and sealed the victory with a 31-yard scoring run with 2:40 left on the clock.
Wilson finished 9 of 18 for a career-low 103 yards. His leading receiver was Percy Harvin, making his second appearance of the season after nearly getting put on injured reserve less than two weeks ago. Harvin had three receptions for 21-yards in the first half and one rush for nine yards, but left the game late in the first half with a concussion.
The struggles began early in the game for Brees and his receivers as they never be on the same page in the first half. To make matters worse for New Orleans were so daze running back Marc Ingram on the first play of the second quarter fumbled the ball that was forced out by Seahawks Michael Bennett. That in terms turned out to be very costly as Lynch marched in for his first touchdown of the day and the Seahawks had a 13-0 lead.
But in all, Brees ended the day 24 of 43 for 309 yards and rubbed on Seattle feathers in the closing seconds. Brees took the Saints 80 yards in nine plays, capped with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Marques Colston with 26 seconds left that made it 23-15.
Colston then recovered the onside kick when it caromed off Tate’s and directly to the Saints’ receiver.
Brees took control at the Saints 41 with 24 seconds left and finally finding tight-end Jimmy Graham caught his first pass of the game on an 8-yard completion who was invisible for most of the game. Brees spiked the ball to stop the clock, then found Colston near the sideline. Instead of stepping out of bounds, Colston tried to throw across the field to running back Darren Sproles. It was an illegal forward pass and the penalty ran off the final 10 seconds of the clock giving Seattle the victory.
New Orleans is now on its way back to the “Big Easy” while the Seahawks punch their ticket to the NFC Championship.