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Seahawks rumble past Saints, 23-15
Marshawn Lynch rumbles Seattle into NFC title game with 23-15 win over New Orleans
Associated Press
2014-01-12 09:42 AM

SEATTLE (AP) -- Marshawn Lynch ran for 140 yards and two touchdowns the Seattle Seahawks downed the New Orleans Saints 23-15 in the National Football Conference divisional playoff game Saturday.

Steven Hauschka kicked three field goals in blustery conditions as the top-seeded Seahawks advanced to the NFC championship game for the second time in franchise history and will host San Francisco or Carolina next Sunday. Seattle last reached the conference title game in the 2005 playoffs.

Seattle shut out the Saints in the first half, got Lynch's first 100-yard game since Week 10 of the regular season and received a spark from the brief return of Percy Harvin before he left with a concussion. Lynch scored on a 15-yard run in the first half and capped the victory with a 31-yard scoring run with 2:40 left that coach Pete Carroll celebrated by jumping into offensive line coach Tom Cable's arms. Lynch stiff-armed Keenan Lewis on his way to the end zone for the clinching score that left CenturyLink Field swaying.

While the clinching score lacked the stunning explosiveness of Lynch's "Beast Quake" touchdown run against the Saints in the 2010 playoffs, this one was more important. It ensured Seattle would not be the latest No. 1 seed to get upset by a No. 6 seed in the divisional round.

Lynch finished with 28 carries and made up for another shaky day passing by Russell Wilson. Seattle's offense was a concern heading into the postseason and, outside of Lynch, did little to quell those worries.

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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