Seattle, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - Pete Carroll may be the quintessential West Coast guy, but his Seattle Seahawks are definitely in a New York state of mind. The NFC's No. 1 seed moved within one game of a trip to the outskirts of Manhattan for Super Bowl XLVIII after holding off the New Orleans Saints with a 23-15 decision in a conference Divisional Playoff at a stormy and soggy CenturyLink Field. Seattle used a familiar formula to reach the NFC Championship Game for the first time since the 2005 season. Workhorse running back Marshawn Lynch churned out 140 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries, while the NFL's top-ranked defense kept Drew Brees and the high-powered Saints well under wraps with another stifling performance. Russell Wilson managed just 103 yards on 9-of-18 passing, running a Seattle offense that generated next to nothing for much of the second half, but had a turnover-free game as Lynch and the defense made a 16-0 halftime lead stand up. The Saints made it very interesting, however. Brees hit Marques Colston for a 9-yard touchdown with 26 seconds left to cut the difference to 23-15, and New Orleans recovered the ensuing onside kickoff before ultimately running out of time at the Seattle 38-yard line. The Seahawks will face either Carolina or San Francisco in next Sunday's conference title game at their hostile home of CenturyLink Field, where they've gone an intimidating 16-1 in Wilson's two years as the starting quarterback.
Final Score: New England 43, Indianapolis 22
Foxboro, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - LeGarrette Blount rushed for 166 yards and a franchise-record four touchdowns, and the New England Patriots gained their third straight spot in the AFC title game with a 43-22 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. The Patriots are the first team since the 2001-04 Philadelphia Eagles to go to at least three consecutive conference championship games. The Pats, the No. 2 seed, will play either at Denver or host San Diego next Sunday. Tom Brady completed 13-of-25 passes for 198 yards, but was held without a touchdown pass. The night belonged to Blount, who rumbled 73 yards for a score early in the fourth quarter to give the Patriots a two-touchdown lead. Stevan Ridley, who ran for two TDs, scored from a yard out less than two minutes later to seal the outcome in wet conditions at Gillette Stadium. The six rushing TDs are a franchise record for the Patriots in any game, regular season or playoffs. Andrew Luck had a pair of TD passes, but was picked off four times for the Colts, who rallied from a 28-point deficit a week prior to shock Kansas City, 45-44, in the Wild Card round. Luck completed 20-of-41 passes for 331 yards, with 103 of them going to T.Y. Hilton. LaVon Brazill caught both TD passes.