Seattle (AP) — In the afterglow of advancing to the NFC championship game, Russell Wilson patrolled the Seattle Seahawks locker room making sure the message was still clear to his teammates.
"We haven't done anything yet," Wilson said. "That's our goal, we have
60 minutes of football left. I was talking to some of the guys in the
locker room, I was talking to Coach Carroll, I was just kind of sitting
there. You have 60 minutes left of football, 60 minutes of your life,
the best 60 minutes that you can possibly play, and then you play in
the Super Bowl."
The Seahawks are one step from the Super Bowl because in the NFC
divisional playoff game against New Orleans on Saturday they leaned on
the principles Pete Carroll put in place in the infancy of his arrival
in Seattle. The Seahawks have been about running the football and
playing defense first and foremost, well before Wilson arrived or Percy Harvin was acquired.
It was of little surprise that Marshawn Lynch kept getting fed carries
and Seattle used another swarming defensive effort against Drew Brees
and New Orleans' potent offense in Saturday's 23-15 victory. It was a
blustery, nasty day where those traits Carroll values so deeply were
brought to the forefront.
Lynch finished with a franchise playoff record 140 yards rushing and
both of Seattle's touchdowns.
"This is exactly why you make a commitment to be a balanced offense and
a balanced football team, so that when you have these kinds of
opportunities and situations that you can play D, you can stick with
your kicking game and come through and you can run the football,"
Carroll said. "I think it was really a great look."
Seattle will host either San Francisco or Carolina next Sunday in the
NFC championship game with the possibility of advancing to the Super
Bowl for the second time in franchise history. Seattle's only Super
Bowl trip came in the 2005 playoffs when it routed Carolina in the NFC
championship game at home.
"It feels awesome, but this doesn't mean anything if we don't win next
week," Seattle fullback Michael Robinson said.
Even though he again was one of the top running backs in the league,
Lynch's regular season lacked consistency. Much of that was due to
blocking struggles by Seattle's offensive line, but something clicked
against the Saints and the Seahawks kept turning to their bruising
back. Lynch had 69 yards in the first half, including his 15-yard
touchdown run that gave Seattle a 13-0 lead early in the second quarter.
But it was his 31-yard touchdown run with 2:40 left that provided the
capper for Seattle. The 1- and 2-yard runs from earlier in the game
finally popped with Lynch's TD run that left CenturyLink Field shaking
"I just stayed with what we were calling and just believed in my team,"
Seattle's final numbers defensively won't look astounding even though
they stymied Brees and the Saints offense for much of the game. New
Orleans had 205 of its 409 total yards in the fourth quarter. The
longest play of the game, a 52-yard pass from Brees to Robert Meacham,
should have been intercepted by either Earl Thomas or Byron Maxwell but
instead deflected into Meacham's hands.
The 409 total yards were the most allowed by Seattle since Week 4 at
"He's going to fight all the way through until the clock hits zero and
you saw that," Thomas said of Brees. "If we give him a window of
opportunity, he always capitalizes. But fortunately, we didn't give him
The lingering question for the Seahawks will be the health of Harvin,
who played in just his second game of the season. Harvin suffered a
concussion late in the first half jumping for a pass in the end zone
and getting hit as he landed on the field by New Orleans safety Malcolm Jenkins. It was the second big hit Harvin absorbed after getting belted
by Rafael Bush on Seattle's opening possession.
Harvin brought a jolt of energy and excitement to Seattle's offense
before being injured. Harvin led Seattle with three receptions and had
a 9-yard run on his lone carry. He also drew attention and made
Seattle's offense function better. The Seahawks had 163 yards of
offense in the first half and 114 yards in the second half, 62 on their
"It certainly seemed like he had a contribution that was obvious,"
Carroll said. "He almost popped that run when we had him going on the
edge, and we had that big third down play. Just unfortunately, he got
smacked a couple of times, and he couldn't stay out there."
Seattle Avoids Stumble vs Lower Seed
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