By Matthew Asher
Last week the New Orleans Saints were able to get their first ever franchise playoff win as an away team. Seattle’s defense made sure they ended the Saints good fortunes on the road as the Legion of Boom was able to hold off Drew Brees and the Saints passing attack for the second time this season as they win their Divisional Round game 23-15.
Marshawn Lynch gets an A+
Get the Skittles ready! The last time Lynch faced the Saints in the playoff game was during the Beast Quake. And while this game may not have the legend of an earthquake during any runs, Beast Mode certainly lived up to his nickname.
In the first half, Lynch was responsible for 15 of the Seahawks 21 rushes, had 69 of their 95 rushing yards and scored the lone touchdown of the game. By the end of the game, Lynch had 28 carries for 140 yards and both of Seattle’s touchdowns. The rest of the team finished with a combined seven rushes for 34 yards. As far as total yards, Lynch was responsible for 143 yards of total offense, more than half of his team’s 277 total offensive yards. Beast Mode indeed.
Seattle’s passing attack gets a D
It might have been possible to blame the lackluster passing numbers for Russell Wilson on bad weather, but only in the first half. At halftime, Wilson had only thrown for 68 yards, but he completed seven of his nine attempts. Drew Brees fared much worse, throwing for 34 yards while completing just five of 12 passing attempts.
But in the second half, Drew Brees completed 19 of 31 passes for 275 yards and one touchdown. Wilson completed just two more passes despite throwing nine times again for just 35 additional yards. His total stat line is an embarrassing 9-18 for 103 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions for a quarterback rating of 67.6. Brees finished 24-43 for 309 passing yards, one touchdown and no interceptions for a quarterback rating of 83.6.
Seattle’s second half pass defense gets a D-
Part of this has to do with how well Seattle’s defense did in the first half of the game. In the first 30 minutes, New Orleans was held to just six first downs, 113 total yards, with just 34 through the air, one turnover and just 12:44 of possession time. Compared to these numbers, the second half stats are simply atrocious.
New Orleans picked up 19 more first downs and held the ball for 17:35 in the second half. Marques Colston simply could not be stopped by Seattle in the second half. In the first half, Colston recorded just one catch for nine yards. In the second half he had 10 receptions for 135 yards and the lone passing touchdown of the game. Brees still threw for an additional 140 yards in the second half to the other Saints.
It should be noted that Seattle did a great job all game of limiting Jimmy Graham. Graham led New Orleans with 86 catches for 1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns. Brees targeted Graham six times this game but could only complete one pass for just eight yards in the final drive of the game.
Seattle now gets to sit around like the rest of us today as we anxiously await to see which team will get their rematch with the Seahawks: the San Francisco 49ers or the Carolina Panthers.
For more news and updates about the NFL Playoffs, visit NFL Playoffs Central.
Matthew Asher is a freelance journalist. From an early age, sports have played a major role in his life. He graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Journalism. After college he spent 2 years working with CNN Sports and still occasionally writes sports articles for several publications both in the United States and Canada. His work can be found on Examiner.com.