The Seahawks Fly by Saints to Clinch Playoff Berth
In what was billed as a clash as the top two teams in the NFC, the Monday night game in Seattle indicated there's quite a gap between No 1 and No 2.
The Seattle Seahawks showcased an impressive perfomance on both sides of the ball with a 34-7 drubbing of the New Orleans Saints. They thus improved to 11-1 and became the first team this season to clinch a playoff berth.
The completeness of this victory underscored the clarity that, to win the NFC, the gauntlet goes through Seattle.
Amidst rain and noise that registered on the Richter scale at the nearby University of Washington, the match was truly a massacre. The Saints managed only 188 yards of total offense.
New Orleans seemed discombobulated from the beginning. After a trio of successive three-and-outs -- a first under the Brees/Peyton regime -- the Saints were offensively inefficient throughout the first quarter and didn't manage to do much else for the rest of the game. New Orleans is known for sputtering in cold weather, and it showed, big time. Since 2006, the Saints are a putrid 2-6 in outdoor games where the temperature is 40º or lower.
On the other hand, Russell Wilson was brilliant. He finished the game with 310 yards passing on a 22-30 night. His uncanny ability as a dual threat kept the Saints' defense at bay for the majority of the game. Wilson's accuracy and pocket awareness were spot on, while his ability to keep the Saints' defense honest helped him effectively utilize the deep pass. Although Seattle doesn't rely on Wilson as much as they did last night, he easily displayed his leadership and ability manage a game successfully.
Seattle is known for its punishing running game, but on this night, the Saints held their own. Marshawn Lynch only managed to accumulate 45 yards on the ground. Wilson chipped in another 47, but that was it. The passing game took up the slack, with three TDs coming through the air.
Typically, suffocating defenses and punishing running attacks perform well in the playoffs. Right now, the Seahawks are the epitome of those two key factors.
Given the fact that this year's Super Bowl is being played in chilly New Jersey at MetLife Stadium, the Seahawks have a superior advantage. They're accustomed to inclement weather. All they need to do is get there.
Last night's thrashing of the Saints raised expectations that they would.