The Seahawks, a team that needed to win last week to get in the playoffs, was the first team under .500 (7-9) to reach the postseason as the NFC West Champs.
Matt Hasselbeck threw four touchdown passes for the Hawks, this against a secondary and team that had allowed a league low 13 this season. The killer was a late Marshawn Lynch electrifying 67-yard touchdown run in the final minutes to ice the win with the Hawks holding a 34-30 lead.
The Seahawks held a 34-20 early in the fourth quarter before Drew Brees looked ready to lead the Saints (11-6) on one of their patented comebacks. But Lynch broke about a half-dozen tackles for his TD with 3:22 left as Seattle finished off the Saints.
Brees threw for 404 yards on 39-of-60 passing with two touchdowns. He got the Saints to a 17-7 lead with 13:38 to play in the second quarter, but the Seahawks rallied with Hasselbeck throwing touchdown passes to John Carlson and a 45-yard score to Brandon Stokley to give the Hawks a 24-20 lead at the half.
Seattle scored 10 third quarter points to open up a 34-20 lead, but the Saints scored the next 10 points to make it 34-30 before Lynch’s run put a nail in the Saints’ coffin. Seattle will move on to play either the Bears or Falcons next week based on the results of tomorrow’s Packers-Eagles game.