by: Kristian Winfield
In the loudest arena in the NFL, the fans at Qwest Arena relentlessly cheered on, empowering their team to overcome all odds.
The once dominant Seattle Seahawks have resurged, pulling the biggest upset in playoff history. On Saturday, they defeated the Super Bowl XLIV Champion New Orleans Saints in what was an electrifying playoff matchup.
Things looked bleak for the Seahawks at first; wide receiver Ben Obamanu bobbled a pass which ended up being picked off by Saints’ cornerback, Jabari Greer. That interception led to a touchdown pass to Heath Evans, giving New Orleans an early 10-0 lead.
The Seahawks answered with an 11-yard touchdown pass to John Carlson, but the Saints were able to march up the field and put points on the board again; Julius Jones rushing for a five-yard touchdown.
It was then that the veteran decided to show his stripes. Matt Hasselbeck caught fire, marching up the field three straight times, including a 45-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Stokley and another touchdown pass to John Carlson. He led his team to 17 unanswered points, giving the Seahawks a 24-17 lead.
Hasselbeck threw for three touchdowns and 168 yards in the first half.
“It wasn’t just one thing, it felt like everyone did a little something to help us get the win,” Hasselbeck said. “It was just an awesome feeling.”
But it was definitely Hasselbeck’s play that catapulted the Seahawks to this home victory over the Saints. After halftime, Hasselbeck broke out and threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams. He then drove up the field again, setting up Olindo Mare for a field goal, giving the Seattle a 34-20 lead.
In the fourth, the Saints superiority complex came out, and they began the comeback. Drew Brees marched up the field, putting Julius Jones in position for another short rushing touchdown. Brees then put Garrett Hartley in position to nail a 21-yard, decreasing the deficit to four points.
But then the most amazing play, perhaps in Seahawks post season history, crushed the Saints’ spirit.
Marshawn Lynch ran for 67 yards, breaking eight tackles and scoring a touchdown, giving Seattle a 41-30 lead.
“That was the most unbelievable, unrealistic play I’ve ever seen in the history of football,” said Seahawks linebacker Adam Curry. “It was just unreal. It seems just like a routine football play, then he takes it to another level.”
Lynch rushed for 131 yards on 19 carries.
That rush was essentially the dagger in the Saints heart. Drew Brees worked his magic, marching his team into Seattle territory once again, but after his touchdown pass to Devery Henderson he failed to complete the two-point conversion. The onside kick was then recovered by the Seahawks and the game was over.
“We did it with our crowd and we fit together so beautifully,” said Seahawks’ coach Pete Carroll, who in his first season with the Seahawks led one of the biggest upsets in playoff history.”We kind of expected to win. I know that sounds crazy, but we did expect to win. The fact that it happened, it’s just kind of like, we want to take it in stride and go to the next one.”
Matt Hasselbeck was definitely the Player of the Game. He passed for 272 yards, completing 22 of 35 pass attempts, 4 of which led to touchdowns. He did all of this three days after being cleared to return from a soft tissue hip injury.
“We respect the heck out of the Saints,” Hasselbeck said, “but I think we felt something special all week and today, and we’ll see. It’s a good start for us.”
Today, the Seahawks became the first team in NFL history to have a losing record and win a game in the post season.