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Seahawks down Saints 23-15 to advance to conference finals

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On a day more suited to to ducks than humans the Seattle Seahawks took another step toward what they see as their destiny by defeating the New Orleans Saints 23-15 at rain soaked and wind-swept Century Link Field Saturday afternoon. The Hawks will host the winner of Sunday's 49ers/Panthers game for the chance to go where Seahawks fans have believed they would go all along, namely the Super Bowl.

In conditions that were at times monsoon-like the Seahawks top ranked defense stymied Drew Brees and the Saints offense all afternoon. Brees, prolific throughout the regular season, had over 300 yards passing on the stat line, but much of that was due to a soft end game defense and a fortuitous tipped pass that went for 52 yards. Brees was consistently frustrated all afternoon. The New Orleans running game was effective against Seattle, but the Hawks had just enough defense to bring home the win.

Russell Wilson and the Seattle passing attack didn't find the conditions any more palatable than did Brees and the Saints. Wilson completed only nine passes for 108 yards on the day. Marshawn Lynch recreated previous success on the ground against New Orleans with 140 yards on 28 carries.

Late in the game and down eight the Saints needed one last stop to regain possession toward a possible tying score. On third and eight Golden Tate made what was perhaps the play of the game by hauling in a pass over his shoulder down the right sideline for a first down. Saints Head Coach Sean Payton challenged the reception, but Referee Terry McCauley called the catch "confirmed." Confirmed too that the Saints road woes would bedevil them again, and their season would die an ignominious death in the great Northwest.

For the Seahawks, next week will involve a rematch of some kind. The Hawks split with the 49ers and defeated Carolina on Opening Day. The Hawks will tell you that they don't care whom they face. They're just glad that the game will be in Seattle's rainy clime.

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