Seattle, WA, United States (4E Sports) – Marshawn Lynch ran for two touchdowns as the Seattle Seahawks advanced to the NFC Championship with a 23-15 triumph over the New Orleans Saints in Saturday’s divisional round playoff game at CenturyLink Field.
Lynch rushed 28 times for 140 yards to help the Seahawks advance to next weekend’s NFC title game against the winner of the Carolina Panthers-San Francisco 49ers showdown.
Russell Wilson completed just nine of 18 passes for 103 yards but led the Seahawks to five scoring drives, including three field goals from Steven Hauschka.
Wide receiver Percy Harvin was impressive in his return to the field, but he lasted a half after suffering a concussion late in the first half.
Harvin hit his head on the turf while falling backward as he tried to make a leaping catch in the end zone. His status for the NFC championship game will depend on how he makes it through the concussion protocol steps during the week.
Harvin, who had major hip surgery on Aug. 1 to repair a torn labrum, was playing in only his second game of the season and his first game since his season debut on Nov. 17 against Minnesota.
With the victory, the Seahawks have won 16 of their last 17 games at CenturyLink Field, where they will play for a spot in the Super Bowl.
Drew Brees struggled early with just 34 passing yards in the first half but brought the Saints within striking distance in the fourth.
Brees finished 24-for-43 for 309 yards and a touchdown while Khiry Robinson ran for 57 yards on 13 carries and a score for the Saints.
The Seahawks raced to a 16-0 lead in the first half behind three field goals from Steven Hauschka from 38, 49 and 26 yards and Lynch’s 15-yard scoring run.
Brees brought the Saints to life in the fourth, engineering a nine-play, 74-yard drive that Robinson capped with a one-yard touchdown run.
However, Lynch put the finishing touches with a 31-yard burst with 2:40 left in the game.