"10 Reasons the Saints Will Repeat as Super Bowl Champs"
"NFL Playoff Preview: New Orleans Saints Will Take the Seattle Seahawks to School"
"Super Bowl Predictions: Why the Saints and Steelers Will Meet In the Super Bowl"
All of the above headlines are stories that are history now.
Written prior to Saturday afternoon's contest, so many predictions on Bleacher Report and other websites seemingly thought the Saints would tear apart the Seahawks.
After all, the Seahawks were only 7-9 in the regular season (the worst record ever for a divisional winner) and the Saints had beaten them once already. On Nov. 21 they beat the Hawks 34-19, a game that saw Drew Brees dominate at the Superdome, throwing for 382 yards and three touchdowns.
The Seahawks were 11-point underdogs. No way would they win this game, especially after the Saints held the necessary leadership in order to go back to the Super Bowl, as many predicted.
They said the Seahawks were gassed, winning the division at home last Sunday night over the Rams with a pathetic 16-6 victory that impressed hardly anyone.
But this was a different scene.
Most NFL fans would agree that Qwest Field in Seattle is one of the toughest places to play in the league and that any given night the Seahawks can win there, and they did.
A 41-36 victory over the defending Super Bowl champs proves this, and they did it with leadership and big plays.
Matt Hasselbeck, older than the Seattle Seahawks franchise themselves at 35, threw for 282 yards and four touchdowns in a seemingly flawless performance.
He shook off the "upset" label in a postgame interview and called Drew Brees and the Saints "a good team."
Wonder what that makes the now 8-9 Seahawks?
Reborn running back Marshawn Lynch ran for 131 yards, and the 67-yard stiff-armed scamper that sealed the deal for Seattle with less than two minutes left.
Coach Pete Carroll gave his ex-USC receiver Mike Williams a second chance this year, and with a touchdown today in the playoffs proved that he indeed belongs on an NFL roster.
12th-year wideout Brandon Stokley also added a catch that capped off 17 unanswered for Seattle to end the first half.
Notre Dame-product John Carlson had three catches, two of them scores in the red zone.
Brees threw 60 passes, completing 39 of them for 404 yards and two scores. However, he and the crew couldn't pull off a victory without a running game, and the defense couldn't stop the victorious Seahawks.
It was, in my lifetime, simply the greatest playoff upset. Give the Seahawks the credit they deserve; they have, after all, won four playoff games in the last six years, believe it or not.
What a setting it was, an under-.500 team defeating a 11-5 club that expected to easily to "roll" and "repeat," as Bleacher Report headlines noted, but it was not to be.
As NBC's Tom Flanagan noted, this is a night to remember for Seattle, a city that has seen its recent success dwindle with the loss of the SuperSonics and the disappearance in contention with the Seahawks and the Mariners.
Who Dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints? The Seattle Seahawks.
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