Lynch, defense carry Seahawks to NFC Championship Game

SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 11: Michelle Baker poses from the stands before the Seattle Seahawks take on the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at CenturyLink Field on January 11, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Im

SEATTLE -- Some hearts may have stopped, but the Seattle Seahawks are moving forward to the NFC Championship Game next weekend.

The Seahawks beat the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Divisional Round Sunday23-15, on the back of Marshawn Lynch and a tough defense.

But the end didn't come until after the Saints recovered an onside kick to put themselves within one touchdown. Still, after short pass from Saints quarterback Drew Brees to Colston as time expired, Colston tried to keep the game alive by throwing the ball downfield. The pass was ruled a forward lateral, and the game was called.

The Seahawks will now face either the San Fransico 49ers or the Carolina Panthers in their first trip to the NFC Championship game since 2005. The game will be broadcast next Sunday from CenturyLink Field on Q13 FOX.

Today's game featured everything from hail to sun, thunder to high winds. So naturally it was the Seahawks run game that  kept the Hawks rolling. Running back Marshawn Lynch notched his first 100-yard rushing game since Week 10 against the Atlanta Falcons, carrying the ball 28 times for 140 yards and two touchdowns.

Lynch's runs were much needed as the Saints' fourth-ranked defense held quarterback Russell Wilson largely in check. Wilson went 9-for-18 for 103 yards and a passer rating of 67.6. He had one completion to Percy Harvin, who left the game at the end of the 2nd quarter with an apparent concussion after two big hits.

An always high-spirited Wilson spoke highly of Lynch and the defense that carried the team after the game.

"Marshawn was excellent today, are defense kept going all day long," he said. "That's what it takes to win in the playoffs."

The victory was the Seahawks' sixth-straight home playoff win.

The number-one defense held tough when they needed to. Brees was limited to 34 yards passing in the first half, and went to the locker room with his Saints trailing 0-16. But Brees came out strong in the second halfa and ended the day 24-for-43 with 309 yards and one touchdown. And the Saints run offense gashed the Hawks for some large gains, with the core gaining 108 yards on the ground.

It wasn't enough when it mattered, and on two occasions the Saints were stuffed on fourth down for a turnover on downs.

The only injury report following the game was Percy Harvin, who left with a concussion. He will be evaluated throughout the week.

As the Seahawks head deep into the playoffs for the first time since 2005, the week ahead will be important for the Hawks and everyone around the city.

Tune in to the Q13 FOX News postgame show for more information.

Live Updates from the Game

-- Marshawn Lynch goes 30 yards for a touchdown to put the Hawks up 23- 8 with 2:40 left to go in the game. That might be it for the saints folks.

-- Ruling on the field is confirmed. The Hawks have the ball on the Saints 31 yard line.

-- A completion to Doug Baldwin is challenged by the Saints. This will be their last time out.

-- Missed field goal puts the Seahawks on their own 37. They need to close the game out. Wilson held the ball and took zero time of the clock.

-- 52 yard gain on a botched interception try by two 12s. Delay of game on the offense.

-- Third down close to the 35, and the Hawks go three and out. 5:31 left in the game and the Hawks look to stop the Saints again.

-- Backed up to their own 30, the Saints are forced to punt! Great work from Earl Thomas and the defense. Great play from the Seattle secondary with 7 minutes left.

--On their own 35, the Saints make it out to the 40. There's eight minutes left in the game. An offensive holding pushes the Saints back a bit.

-- On 2nd and 10, Drew Brees is forced to call a timeout, which could be crucial later in the game.

-- Down by 8, the Saints have the ball on their own 6 and hand-off to Robinson for an 8-yard gain. Drew Breese gets the ball out to the 20, and looks like he's found a rhythm. "This is the Drew Brees we are all accustomed to seeing," say the announcers.

-- On Third and 10, The Hawks get within one and are forced to punt the ball. A great punt, the Saints are backed up to their own 6 with 10 minutes left.

-- Seahawks get a first down on a pass from WIlson to Miller. Hawks have the ball out at their own 43. Wilson is taking a lot of time off the clock. Lynch is still short of 100 yards on the game, but is coming close.

-- The Hawks get the ball on their own 30, and on first down Wilson throws it away. He has 0 completions in the third quarter.

-- On Third and goal, the Saints get their first touchdown of the game. They go for two and get it. Seahawks lead 16-9 with 13:11 left in the fourth quarter. Get tough, 12s.

4th quarter -- Saints have the ball at the 11 to start the fourth quarter. The Seahawks have allowed zero rush TDs in the past nine games.

-- Mark Ingram gets seven yards and theen goes deep to Josh Hill for 23 yards to the Seahawks territory. Another completion to Colson goes 25 yards to put the Hawks on the Seahawks 15.

-- On 2nd down, the Hawks go to Lynch and he gets three yards. On fourth down, the Hawks can't complete and are forced to punt. It's only a two score game, but the Saints would need two two-point conversions to tie it.

-- Jimmy Graham does not have a catch so far. On Third and four, Bobby Wagner holds Sproles in place and the Saints go for it on fourth down. Incomplete over the middle and the Seahawks takeover the ball at their own 40.

-- Brees is way short on a pass from his own 35. The ball comes loose and Bobby Wagner gets a 15-yard penalty. But Pete doesn't throw the challenge flag.

-- Marshawn Lynch has 91 yards on 20 carries. They're leaning heavily on the run. On Third down, the Hawks take a loss to the 20 and forces the Seahawks to punt.

-- Seattle is certainly taking it's time on, hoping to keep the lead and hold on to the ball as long ass possible. Third-and-9 from the 6, and Marshawn Lynch gets a first down on 12 yards.

-- Huge sack for Chris Avril and Michael Bennett forces the Saints to punt. Hawks will get the ball on their own 5.

-- Drew Brees is now going without the glove. He had only 34 yards passing in the first half, and has just about that much already in the 2nd half.

-- Percy Harvin has a concussion and is out for the remainder of the game.

-- On Third down and four, Wilson goes incomplete to Doug Baldwin and goes three and out. Saints and Drew Brees will get the ball back at their own 32 yardline.

-- Here we go. Seahawks get the ball to start off the second half. Harvin was not back to return the kick. He's not visible anywhere on the sidelines. Lynch takes the ball on the first down, and gets three yards. He has 70 yards on the day.

For your halftime viewing. What do you think of the analysis?

Seahawks lead the New Orleans Saints 16-0 at the end of the first half

-- Brees has 34 yard at the half.

-- Hawks can't punch it in on first-and-goal. Percy Harvin hurt is arm and left a glove on the field, and they take him in on precaution. With 1:28 to go in the first half, Russell gets knocked out bounds. Hauschka nails it through to go up 16-0 with 1:18 left in the first half.

-- Marshawn Lynch takes it from a negative to a positive on 2nd down. Great coverage on third down, but it turn into holding. Automatic first down and half the distance to the goal. Huge penalty on the Saints.

-- On 2nd and 15 near the Saints' 45, Jermaine Kearse gets the ball out to the 15 yard line. Russell Wilson got out of the pocket but was looking to throw the entire time. He takes the ball down to the eight yardline.

-- It's raining cats and dogs out there right now. On third and eight, Wilson lofts it up to Harvin for the first down on a 16 yard gain. It's first and 10 on the New Orleans' 35.

-- Marshawn Money Lynch with a 19 yard run to midfield. Lynch is showing tremendous patience when deciding to cut. Lynch has 70 yards on 12 carries.

-- Robinson never hit the ground on a 15-yard gain. The Saints have third and four, but can't get the first down. Saints will try  a fourth down run. They're looking to score, and it's INCOMPLETE! Bobby Wagner knocks it down and the Hawks get the ball on their own 29.

-- Game is getting chippy as the Seahawks have to punt.

-- Marshawn Lynch has 8 rushes for about 45 yards. He's looking to break the 100-yard mark. In other news, we lost power here at the Q13FOX building. Luckily we still have power and are updating the game.

-- Saints are forced to punt it. It looks like Drew Brees is having trouble getting ahold of the ball, the ball seems to be slipping around. The Hawks get the ball on their own 5.

-- Seahawks have to stop this running game to hold onto the lead. So far they have 55 yards rushing. Brees overshoots his man with a wet ball.

-- Percy Harvin wants some action on a fly sweep. Gets 9 yards and brings the... Touchdown Seahawks!!!! Marshawn Lynch takes a 15 yard touchdown run to the house to put the Hawks up 12-0 with 12:17 to go in the first half. Seahawks take advantage of the turnover and some good running by Harvin and Lynch.

2nd Quarter -- Hawks lead 6-0 at the end of the first quarter. New Orleans is seeing 2nd and 6 on their own 30. Seahawks recover a fumble with great field position! There's some of that plus-20 turnover ratio. Great D so far. Lets see if the Hawks can't punch it in for a touchdown here.

-- How are you feeling so far, 12s? Drew Brees will take over down 6-0 on his own 20.

-- On the Saints 31, the Hawks get no gain. Wilson misses Golden Tate on the slant to bring up fourth down. Hauscka comes in for the 49-yard-field goal and it's good. Hawks go up 6-0 with 37 seconds left in the first. 

-- LYNCH! Runs ahead for 7 yards and a first down.  Hawks have the ball on the Saints 35. Turbin takes a first down run to get to the Saints 30.

-- The Saints have set a physical turn early. But so does Marshawn Lynch to pick up six on 2nd down. Golden Tate takes it out to mid-field on third down.

-- Harvin is back on the sideline and holding his helmet! And the Saints miss the Field Goal!

-- Bobby Wagner with a nice tackle on the screen for a loss of 3. The Saints have third down and long. On third and 14, they go up the gut and make it to the 30.

-- Another first down to the Saints, Ingram gets to the 35-yardline. A gain of 12. Cutting through this Hawks defense so far. They had 185 rushing yards against the Philedlphia Eagles last week.

-- Gotta love that fish go cam. The New Orleans Saints get 8 yards on the first drive. Second Drive was for 11 yards and Robinson got another one for 15 yards. The Hawks are missing some tackles here. Is the rust wearing on them after the bye week?

-- Percy Harvin is headed to the locker room. Did not appear to be happy with what he was hearing.

-- Steven Hauschka nails a 38-yard field goal to put the Hawks up 3-0 with 10:19 left in the first quarter. No word yet on how Percy Harvin is feeling after that big hit.

-- Looks like there was some confusion on that second down hand-off from Wilson to Lynch. The Hawks face a third and nine. The Hawks are 27 percent on third down in th elast third of the season.

-- That's a flag right off the bat on the 10-yardline. Defenseless player hit on Percy Harvin. Harvin would have dropped the ball anyway.  Lynch get the Hawks close to the Saints' 20 on the first down.

-- The Hawks have the ball in great field position to start the game. Lynch is hit immediatly and dropped for no gain at the 40. Percy Harvin is in the game for the first time.

-- Kam Chancellor knocks back Sproles on 2nd and 6.On Third and 6, the Saints drop the ball. It would have been a good screen if they could have held on to it. They're 3-and-out.

-- Drew Brees and the Saints get the ball on their own 20. Start off with a 2-yard-run.

-- Kickoff! Pete Carroll says Percy Harvin is in for the whole game. Up goes the 12th Man flag. Steven Hauschka kickoffs to the Saints.

-- National Anthem was rocking. Everyone is ready to roll for this game. Predictions?

-- Looks like it's raining again. The sun was short lived at CenturyLink Field.

-- Nothing like a hot cup of coffee to soothe those nerves. I'm ready for this.

-- There's two seismic monitors at the game. Are you ready for the next quake?

-- James Carpenter is inactive for the Seahawks today. Michael Bowie will take his spot against the New Orleans Saints. No word on why Carpenter was listed as inactive.

-- Loving this Richard Sherman interview on our national affiliate FOX. Earl Thomas is one of the most humble players in the game.

-- There's rain spotted in North Tacoma. More rain is coming our way, it looks like. Do you hope it remains sunny or we get some rain for the game?

-- Ugh. A half an hour before the game is the worst. Maybe it's the eternal Seattle fan in my, but I start thinking of all the bad things that can happen. The Saints are a good team. I just need to drown that out with thoughts of Richard Sherman interceptions and Marshawn Beast Mode runs.

-- There's a storm brewing... #SeahawksStorm

-- John Clayton, who is a Seattle local, said the weather is "weird" in Seattle right now. We're seeing sun at CenturyLink at the moment. We'll see what more time brings.

-- No update on the weather. But we love this meme. 

- The Rain looks like it's lightned up a little bit, and the Thunder seems to have subsided.