If you looked at the New Orleans Saints’ offensive stats, you’d think they rolled through the first round of the playoffs. You’d feel sorry for the other team.
They put up 36 points. They gained 474 total yards. They got 32 first downs. They ran 82 plays and Drew Brees threw the ball 60 times.
In your mind, a Super Bowl repeat would be very much alive.
Brees set an NFL postseason record with 39 completions. His 404 yards gave him the 15th 400-yard passing game in postseason history.
Julius Jones, facing his former team, carried the ball 15 times for 59 yards with two touchdowns and had six receptions for 61 yards, giving him a team-high 120 yards from scrimmage.
His five-yard touchdown run was the first touchdown by an NFL player against a team that had cut him in the same season.
But the 28th-ranked Seattle Seahawks offense—you know, that 7-9 stepchild that crept into the playoffs practically unnoticed—out-gunned Brees and the league’s sixth-ranked offensive attack.
In Marshawn Lynch’s first game as a Seahawk—what? He’s been there since Week 6?
Funny, I didn’t notice.
Lynch torched the Saints for 131 yards on 19 carries, including a bruising 67-yard touchdown run indicative of the attitude the underdog Hawks brought to the game.
Nothing was going to get in their way.
Matt Hasselbeck looked like the quarterback that took the Seahawks to Super Bowl XL five years ago. He was 22-of-35 for 272 yards and four touchdowns. Though he did throw an interception, he posted a 113.0 quarterback rating.
The Saints had nine players with 20 or more yards receiving.
But the Seahawks dominated the ground game, out-rushing the beleaguered Saints backfield 149 to 77, the only offensive statistic, aside from the score, they topped the Saints in.
While the Saints head home, the Seahawks await a second-round opponent.
If the No. 6 seed Green Bay Packers take down the No. 3 seed Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, the Seahawks would travel to Chicago, a team they beat on the road, 23-20, in Week 6. If the Eagles win, the Seahawks will travel to Atlanta, a team they lost to at home, 34-18, just three weeks ago.
Either way, the Seahawks will be out to show the league that despite a losing record and holding strong at the bottom of the league in nearly every statistical category, they belong in the postseason.
This article can also be found at www.footballnewsnow.com.