For the third time in four seasons, the Saints are headed home after a road playoff loss.
Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch rushed for a team playoff record 140 yards and two touchdowns as Seattle eliminated the Saints, 23-15 Saturday at Century Link Field. Saints miscues were key. Shayne Graham missed a pair of field goals. Mark Ingram’s fumble on the first play of the second quarter was forced and recovered by Michael Bennett at the Saints 24 yard line.
“My responsibility,” said Ingram of the fumble. “I know better.”
Two plays later Lynch rumbled up the middle for 15 yards to give Seattle a 13-0 lead. “He is a strong runner,” said Saints cornerback Corey White. “We have to a better job of rallying to the ball. Get all hats on the ball and eventually get him to the ground.”
The Saints scored all 15 of their points in the 4th quarter. Khiry Robinson ran 1 yard for a touchdown and Ingram followed it up with a run for the two point conversion.
The Seahawks got their two touchdown lead back. On third and three at the Seattle 45, quarterback Russell Wilson lofted a beautiful 24 yard pass to Doug Baldwin, who was in single coverage with White.
On the next play, Lynch bounced it outside around the left end, stiff armed Keenan Lewis, and ran 31 yards for a touchdown.
Brees threw a 9 yard touchdown pass to Marques Colston with 32 seconds left to play.
“It is not like we are getting blown out (in road playoff games),” said Brees.
But, a loss is a loss. And, the Saints 8-0 at home this season, are done.
The Seahawks understand the value of home field advantage. Seattle has now won 8 of 10 home playoff games. The Seahawks are 2-9 on the road in the playoffs. Seattle will host the NFC championship game next Sunday against either San Francisco or Carolina.