(SEATTLE) — In a windy and rainy contest, the Seattle Seahawks did what they do best; win at home. The NFC’s top seed withstood both the elements and a late rally by New Orleans to advance into the NFC Championship Game with a 23-8 win over the Saints.
Seattle, who finished the regular season with a 13-3 record, opened the scoring with two Steven Houshka field goals in the first quarter. The kicker added another following a Marshawn Lynch touchdown run, putting the Seahawks ahead 16-0 at halftime. Lynch finished the day with 140 rushing yards and two scores in the win.
After a scoreless third, Drew Brees led the Saints down the field and made things interesting. Khiry Robinson scored from one yard out before New Orleans added a two-point conversion to cut the lead in half early in the fourth quarter. Lynch’s second rushing score with 2:48 seconds remaining seemed to clinch the victory but Seattle’s defense needed to make one more stand.
With less than a minute remaining, Brees found wide receiver Marques Colston for a nine-yard touchdown pass that made it a 23-15 game. Colston then recovered the ensuing onside kick but the Saints could not get into the endzone.
Brees threw for 309 yards and one touchdown in the loss while kicker Shane Graham missed two field goals. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson only threw 18 times, completing nine passes, for 103 yards. The Seahawks will host the winner of tomorrow’s other NFC Divisional round matchup between the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.
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Madison Park, Keith Allen and Andreas Preuss, CNN