7-9. This was the record of the NFC West Division Champion Seattle Seahawks that earned them a spot in the playoffs to play the wildcard New Orleans Saints. It also earned them a home game in that contest, even though the Saints finished the year with a much better 11-5 regular season record. The only thing that record didn’t earn the Seahawks was respect.
All week, in every playoff preview discussion, NFL analysts dismissed Seattle as a beneficiary of a “broken” qualifying system that allowed them to host the wildcard game. For some teams, home field advantage doesn’t tip any scales. Not in the Seahawks’ case. Qwest field is the loudest outdoor stadium in the league.
It also didn’t hurt that Hasselbeck had an outstanding game, throwing for 4 TDs (3 in the first half). The Seattle defense also took advantage of New Orleans’ lack of resources in the run game. They were able to get good enough coverage to limit the Saints’ offensive production just enough to edge out the win 41-36 and prove a big point. That point, of course, is that in the playoffs, records don’t matter. What matters is winning that one game, and then 3 more.
Seattle has earned its place into the next round. We just have to wait to see who that will be against. If the Philadelphia Eagles win tomorrow, the Seahawks will face the Atlanta Falcons. If the Green Bay Packers win, Seattle would face the Chicago Bears.
Lets see what all the analysts have to say tomorrow about the Seahawks. I am thinking it will be something to the effect of “fluke, home field advantage, etc.”