Mon, Jan 10, 2011 - Page 20 News List

NFL: Seahawks surprise Saints in shootout

NY FOLK HERO:In the late game, the Jets and coach Rex Ryan got the last laugh as Nick Folk’s last-second field-goal edged NY aheed of Payton Manning’s Colts

Reuters, SEATTLE

New York Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards, left, hauls in an 18-yard reception in the final minute of the fourth quarter against Indianapolis Colts defensive back Jacob Lacey in their AFC wildcard playoff game on Saturday night in Indianapolis. Edwards’ reception set the Jets up for a game-winning field-goal by Nick Folk on the next play.

PHOTO: AFP

The Seattle Seahawks stunned defending Super Bowl champions the New Orleans Saints 41-36 on Saturday in a thrilling opener to the NFL’s “Wildcard Weekend.”

The Saints had a 17-7 second-quarter lead, but gave up three touchdown passes and a magnificent 67-yard, fourth-quarter rushing touchdown by Marshawn Lynch that secured the victory for the Seahawks, who won the NFC West with a 7-9 record.

Lynch, who rushed for 131 yards on 19 carries, broke at least six tackles, including a fierce stiff-arm on Tracy Porter, as he powered his way through the Saints backfield in a run that symbolized the Seahawks’ determination.

The touchdown run came at just the right moment for the Seahawks, as New Orleans were mounting a comeback.

A fourth quarter touchdown run from ex-Seahawk Julius Jones and then a field-goal from Garrett Hartley brought the Saints to within 34-30 before Lynch’s heroics.

A Drew Brees touchdown pass to Devery Henderson with 1 minute, 30 seconds left gave the Saints a glimmer of hope, but they failed in their two-point attempt and then at recovering an onside kick.

As the passionate Qwest Field crowd celebrated, Seattle first-year head coach Pete Carroll was content to play down the significance of the victory.

“I know it sounds crazy, but we expected to win and so we will take this in our stride and move to the next one,” he said.

The Seahawks, whose chance to play at home in the playoffs was criticized by some given their record, will now travel to either Chicago or Atlanta in the NFC divisional playoff round.

For the Saints, the defeat was an agonizing epilogue to last year’s heroic Super Bowl triumph over Indianapolis.

New Orleans were without injured running backs Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory, but while that meant Drew Brees had to throw more, it was their defensive weaknesses that proved decisive.

Seattle’s Matt Hasselbeck completed 22 of 35 passes for 272 yards and four touchdowns, a week after he was forced to sit out the final game of the regular season with a hip injury.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed 39 of 60 passes for 404 yards and two touchdowns, but his efforts alone were not enough.

JETS 17, COLTS 16

In Indianapolis, Nick Folk booted a 32-yard field-goal as time expired to lift the New York Jets to a heart-stopping AFC wildcard win over the Indianapolis Colts, backing up their big talk with a huge victory.

The game had revenge overtones for the Jets, who missed a trip to the Super Bowl last season when they fell to the Colts in the AFC championship game.

Colts quarterback Peyton Manning had been Rex Ryan’s personal tormentor, running up a 5-1 record against the brash New York coach, who had said during the buildup to the rematch that there was no player he wanted to beat more.

Manning had looked ready to spoil the Jets’ Super Bowl dreams again with a late drive that culminated in a 50-yard Adam Vinatieri field-goal that gave the Colts a 16-14 lead with 53 seconds left.

However, it was just enough time for the Jets to work some late magic, as quarterback Mark Sanchez took the ball deep into Colts territory and Folk drove a stake into the Colts’ season.

The Jets, who sometimes talked a better game than they played this season, backed up their boasts with a gritty effort and now move onto an AFC divisional showdown against their bitter rivals, the New England Patriots, on Sunday in Foxborough, Masschusetts.

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