NFL Divisional Playoff Recap: Patriots & Seahawks Advance To Championship Games
The New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks advanced to the championship games of their respective conferences with victories in the NFL playoffs on Saturday. Here is a recap of all of the day's action:
New England 43, Indianapolis 22
LeGarrette Blount ran for 166 yards and four touchdowns, and the New England Patriots dominated the Indianapolis Colts, 43-22, in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs in Foxborough, Mass. on Saturday. The Patriots outscored the Colts 22-10 in the second half to advance to next week's AFC Championship where they will face the winner of Sunday's Broncos-Chargers game.
Blount ran for three of his scores in the first half as New England bolted out to a 21-12 halftime lead. The Colts were still within a score at the end of the third quarter courtesy of Andrew Luck's 35-yard touchdown pass to LaVon Brazill.
Blount's 73-yard run early in the fourth quarter coupled with Stevan Ridley's 1-yard TD run on New England's next possession helped send the Patriots to their third straight AFC title game.
Tom Brady threw for 198 yards for New England, which scored a franchise playoff-record six rushing touchdowns, all from Blount and Ridley.
Luck threw for 331 yards and two scores for Indianapolis, but he was intercepted four times. T.Y. Hilton caught four passes for 103 yards for the Colts.
Seattle 23, New Orleans 15
Marshawn Lynch ran for 140 yards and two touchdowns, and the Seahawks held off the New Orleans Saints, 23-15, in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs in Seattle on Saturday.
The Seahawks excelled in the rainy and windy conditions to advance to next week's NFC title game where they'll face the winner of Sunday's Panthers-49ers game.
Seattle had taken a commanding 23-8 lead on Lynch's 31-yard touchdown run with 2:40 to play, but the Saints refused to fade, scoring on a Drew Brees' 9-yard pass to Marques Colston on their next drive.
New Orleans recovered Golden Tate's fumble of the ensuing onside kick with 24 seconds left in the game. Colston then inexplicably threw a forward-lateral instead of getting out of bounds after making a reception at the Seattle 37-yard-line with eight seconds to play. The resulting penalty resulted in the remaining time running off the clock.
The Seahawks took a 16-0 lead into halftime on the strength of three Steven Hauschka field goals and a 15-yard touchdown run by Lynch. The scoring run was set up by Michael Bennett's recovery of a Mark Ingram fumble at the New Orleans' 24-yard line.
Brees finished with 309 yards passing and the touchdown to Colston, who caught 11 passes for 144 yards.