Rapid Reaction: Seattle Seahawks
January, 11, 2014
By Terry Blount | ESPN.com
SEATTLE -- A few thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks' 23-15 victory over the New Orleans Saints in the NFC divisional-round playoff game at CenturyLink Field:
What it means: The Seahawks advance to the NFC championship next weekend in Seattle, one home victory away from the Super Bowl. The Seahawks have won 16 of their past 17 games at CenturyLink Field.
Stock watch: Despite giving up 409 yards, most of them in the fourth quarter, it was another solid performance by the Seattle defense against the explosive Saints offense. In two games at Seattle this season, the Saints scored a total of only 22 points. New Orleans was scoreless in the first half Saturday, when quarterback Drew Brees had only 34 yards passing. But it is a little disturbing how the defense continues to give up long drives in the fourth.
Beastly again: Apparently, all that exhaustive talking to the media the past two weeks didn’t tire out Marshawn Lynch. He carried the load all day, rushing for 140 yards on 28 carries and scoring two touchdowns, a 15-yard run in the second quarter and a 31-yard scamper that put the game away late in the fourth quarter.
Harvin suffers a concussion: Once again, receiver Percy Harvin was impressive in his return to the field, but it only lasted a half. Harvin hit his head on the turf while falling backward as he tried to make a leaping catch in the end zone late in the first half. His status for the NFC Championship Game will depend on how he makes it through the concussion protocol steps during the week.
Big day for Bennett: Seattle defensive lineman Michael Bennett had two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and half a sack. Bennett has been the best player on the Seahawks defensive front all season.
What's next: The Seahawks (14-3) will watch Sunday’s game between the 49ers and the Panthers in Charlotte to see which team they play next weekend. Seattle split its two games with San Francisco this season and beat Carolina 12-7 in the season opener at Charlotte.