Marshawn Lynch rumbled for 140 yards and two touchdowns to propel the top-seeded Seattle Seahawks to a 23-15 mauling of the Saints and the team's first NFC Championship game since 2006.

With Lynch controlling the ball and game tempo, the Seahawks defense lived up to its billing by keeping Drew Breez and company out of the endzone for much of the game.

In fact, the Saints were held scoreless for the first three quarters. New Orleans started the fourth with a touch down and added another with under a minute to play. While the Saint recovered the subsequent on-side kick, the second TD was otherwise meaningless - leaving Brees just 26 seconds and needing more than a miracle, plus a two-point conversion to tie.

The story for the defense came in the opening three quarters, which included including two fourth down stops and a missed field - one of two that veteran Shayne Graham hooked on Saturday.

Brees ended 24 of 43 for 309 and touchdown.

Seattle's Russell Wilson threw for just 109 yards, but was able to connect on a few key third down conversions to prolong drives. His final third down conversion was a down-the-field connection with Doug Baldwin that set up a 31-yard scoring run for Lynch to punch his team's ticket to the NFC title game.