Seahawks survive late Saints rally to advance to NFC title game
To set it up, New Orleans had just scored with 26 seconds left to make it 23-15 Seahawks. They then recovered the onside kick. After a few plays, Drew Brees hit Marques Colston (who caught the touchdown and recovered the onside kick) at around the Seattle 37. Step out of bounds and the Saints get one more chance at the spot that gives them more of a chance than a Hail Mary. Instead, as you can see by the picture, Colston inexplicably threw a forward pass. The resulting penalty ended the game. Seahawks win.
Before that, Seattle dominated the first half while the Saints had things happen like the punter taking a football to the groin, and a missed field goal due to laces out. At the half, and after three, the Seahawks led 16-0. The problem is after that, the Seattle offense was nonexistent. Until their final possession, the Seahawks gained 52 yards total and punted 5 times. Russell Wilson was 2/10 in the second half.
While the Seahawks struggled, the Saints clawed back in with a score early in the fourth, plus a two point conversion to make it 16-8. It looked like they'd get a real chance to tie it up after this play reminiscent of the Auburn play vs. Georgia. However, the drive stalled from there, and Sean Payton decided to try a 48 yard field goal against the wind instead of going for it on 4th and 15. That decision didn't end well, as the field goal was completely shanked.
Seattle got the ball back and finally did something on offense. A risky third down pass call worked as Doug Baldwin made a fantastic catch. Sean Payton was all but forced to challenge, and the loss took away his final timeout (the bigger problem being the two they blew on the previous drive). On the very next play, Marshawn Lynch ran it into the end zone to make it 23-8, setting up the finish.
The Saints season ends with a bit of a bitter taste, but the Sean Payton/Drew Brees combination should keep them in the conversation for a few more years, even if today was neither of their best moments.
The Seahawks move on to host the NFC Championship Game. If they are to win it, their offense, and Russell Wilson, will have to improve. The Saints are not known for good defense, but they shut Seattle down pretty well. The Panthers and Niners both have better defense. Seattle's defense may be even better, but they will need to score some points if they are to be Super Bowl bound.