No 8-8 NFL team has ever won a playoff game, but now, 7-9 teams have a perfect 1-0 postseason record. The Seattle Seahawks, considered not only to be massive underdogs, but undeserving of a playoff spot, found a way to oust the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.
Matt Hasselbeck, all of 35 years old, reverting back to top form on Saturday in Qwest Field. The quarterback recovered from an early interception to toss four touchdown passes and throw for 272 yards against a Saints offense that struggled to slow him down.
The most spectacular play of the game, though -- and perhaps, given the context, the best of the season to date -- was provided by Marshawn Lynch. (You can watch video here.) The Seahawks led 34-30 with just over four minutes left in the game, and Coach Pete Carroll doubtlessly was hoping for Lynch, who joined the Seahawks mid-season, to simply run for a first down. He did that and much, much more, escaping tackler after tackler to rumble 67 yards into the end zone.
The Saints then scored quickly to narrow the deficit to 41-36, but an onside kick failed. For their part, the Saints built momentum in the second half, and a come-from-behind win seemed likely. Drew Brees completed 39 of 60 passing attempts for 404 yards and two touchdowns, but the running game, despite ex-Seahawks Julius Jones' two rushing touchdowns, couldn't mount much of a threat.
This is certainly one of the biggest, and most exciting, upsets in the history of NFL postseason football. The 2011 NFL Playoffs are off to a spectacular start, and we hope this keeps up.