NFL Playoffs: Seattle 23 New Orleans 15 — The Seattle Seahawks beat the New Orleans Saints 23-15 in an rain-soaked divisional round playoff game in Seattle on Saturday, sending the Seahawks to the NFC title game next Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers in Seattle.
The Seahawks’ defence shut out the Saints’ normally high-powered offence for the first three quarters, building a 16-0 lead in the rainy and windy conditions.
New Orleans finally scored early in the 4th quarter, and a two-point conversion cut the lead to 16-8 in a game that Seattle had seemed to have complete control of up to that point.
Seattle got a spark with the return of wide receiver Percy Harvin in the first half, but he was forced to leave the game with a concussion. After that, the Seahawks’ offence stalled in the less than ideal conditions, but the defence was playing so well it didn’t look like it would matter.
When Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch scored on a 31-yard touchdown rumble, giving the Seahawks a 23-8 lead with 2:40 left in the game, it looked over.
But New Orleans mounted a last-minute desperate comeback, scoring on a 9-yard Drew Brees to Marquis Colston touchdown pass with 26 seconds left, and then recovering an onside kick to take possession again.
Too far to hurl a Hail Mary pass into the endzone, Brees hit Colston at the Seattle 37-yard line with a few seconds left. Instead of stepping out of bounds to stop the clock and set up a last-play Hail Mary into the endzone, Colston tried to lateral across the field to a teammate. It was clearly a forward pass, which resulted in a penalty and an automatic 10 seconds run off the clock according to the rules, which ended the game on a bizarre play.
The NFC title game will be the third meeting this year between Seattle and San Francisco, the division rivals having split the regular season matchups. The 49ers beat Carolina 23-10 on Sunday to advance to the title game.