BY Adam Lewis 12:31PM 01/12/2014

Lunch links: In loss, Saints’ tough tactics fail

New Orleans tried to beat the Seahawks by adopting the Seahawks defensive style. Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch made sure the strategy didn’t work.

Asked about his illegal hit on Seahawks WR Percy Harvin, Saints S Rafael Bush said he wanted to “set the tone.” / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

It was evident early Saturday the Saints were doing their best to be the biggest, baddest bully on the playground. Take TE Jimmy Graham’s pre-game yelling match with LB Bruce Irvin near midfield, or S Rafael Bush’s blatant illegal blow to WR Percy Harvin’s head early in the first quarter.

So the Saints tried to send a message. During a stormy afternoon of wind and rain, they tried to change the finesse label that has followed them since they won the Super Bowl in 2009. It failed. Season over, Seattle into the NFC title gamea gainst San Francisco after the 23-15 win.

Stupid idea, wrote Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com. 

For the third time in the past four years, New Orleans tried and failed in the playoffs to take down an NFC West opponent on the road. 

Some argued that Bush led with his shoulder before he leveled Harvin. What does this photo show?

Bush was given a 15-yard penalty for targeting a defenseless receiver. Fair or foul? / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

Following the hit, Harvin was ordered to the locker room for further evaluation of a concussion. He returned 10 minutes later and was productive (three catches for 21 yards and one rush for nine) until near the end of the first half.

The play that knocked him out of the game was more innocent.

Facing second-and-eight from the New Orleans eight-yard line, QB Russell Wilson scrambled and spotted Harvin in the back corner of the end zone. Harvin leaped high and backward, momentarily gaining possession before falling hard on his head, causing the pass to fall incomplete, and was hit while prone. Trainers escorted him to the locker room. Word came later that it was a concussion, and he was done for the day.

Will this be the lasting image of Harvin’s first season with the Seahawks?

The Seahawks passing game was unimpressive in windy weather. It wasn’t helped after Harvin was forced to leave the game. / Drew McKenzie

With Wilson, who finished with a career-low 103 passing yards on nine of 18 completions, trying to find the accuracy he displayed early in the season, Seattle’s offense will rely heavily on Lynch the rest of the way. That might not be a bad thing.

Against New Orleans, Lynch rushed 28 times for 140 yards (a franchise playoff record), two touchdowns and produced another earthquake that caused the CenturyLink press box to sway.

His “F-U” attitude probably rubs defenders (and opposing fans) like 40-grit sandpaper. But Lynch is loved by the 12th Man for a running style that is elusive and punishingSaturday he proved that the Seahawks were the tougher outfit.

Lynch’s 31-yard TD run in the fourth quarter all but assured the Seahawks a spot in the NFC Championship. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

According to ESPN Stats and Information, Lynch joined Terrell Davis and Thurman Thomas as the only running backs to rush three times for 130 yards in the postseason since the NFL adopted its current format in 1990.

The Seahawks host the San Francisco 49ers  in NFC Championship Sunday at CenturyLink Field. Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Monday.

The Seahawks split the season series with the 49ers, winning 29-3 at CenturyLink in Week 2 before losing, 19-17,  Dec. 8 at Candlestick Park.

Think the 12th Man wants another chance at San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh?

Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers will be back Sunday to CenturyLink Field for the NFC Championship. / Getty Images


YourThoughts

  • huskydwj

    Thanks, Adam. I thought both hits on Harvin that you mentioned were “over the top” as far as necessary. I’m waiting to hear about a fine from the league office after they have a chance to review….

    GO HAWKS!!!

  • jafabian

    I saw how the Aints would walk thru the Seahawks pregame workout. That’s as low class as ARod cutting across the field from 3B and stomping on the pitchers mound. Blatantly trying to get in the Seahawks heads. Obviously they knew the Hawks were the better team and resorted to high school tactics to make up for their shortcomings. I hope the Hawks get CenturyLine Field Security to watch over them during their routine in case the 49ers try the same stunt.

  • Mad Mark

    The league office should look at Bush’s hits carefully — all too reminiscent of Bountygate which got Payton suspended for a year. The Aints’ high-fiving and chatter on the sidelines was sickening.