SEATTLE — By the time both the Saints and the Seahawks walk out of their locker rooms in CenturyLink Field today, they’ll both have heard plenty about how badly Seattle handled New Orleans six weeks earlier.
That 34-7 shellacking certainly looms large ahead of today’s 3:30 p.m. NFC divisional playoff rematch.
But the main players on both sides say it’s a bad idea to assume Game 1 will have any bearing on Game 2.
“We’re the same team, same people but with a different mentality, different mindset,” Saints left guard Ben Grubbs.
Added Seahawks coach Pete Carroll about the Saints: “This is a loaded football team. They could play better than anybody through the rest of these playoffs and win the whole thing, without question. We’ve need to make sure we understand that. That’s all.”
Those in the New Orleans (12-5) locker room spoke all week about how the past is in the past, about how the Seahawks (13-3) have their attention regardless of what happened on Dec. 2.
Yet, they’re not totally ignoring that game, one in which they gave up 429 total yards while gaining just 188. One in which they allowed three passing touchdowns and didn’t force any takeaways.
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has been confident in his unit throughout the season and with good reason. In spite of having to shuffle in new players constantly because of injuries, they finished the year No. 4 in total defense and stopped the league’s best running back a week ago in the playoffs.
He looks back at the last game against Seattle and doesn’t recognize his team in the video playback.
“We did not play really our style of game at all,” Ryan said. “I think that’s really the only game that I just don’t think we were ourselves at all.”
Since that Seattle game, the Saints have allowed more than 300 yards just once, and that was just 302 yards to St. Louis. The offense, meanwhile, has gobbled up at least 365 yards in every game since, including three on the road.
“I don’t think you carry the sins of old games into this one,” Saints right tackle Zach Strief said. “They don’t start up six points because they won last time. So, you know, it’s a new game for us. And we’ve seen plenty of teams in the past do something similar and come back and win.”
Still, to say it’ll have no bearing?
Well, that just might be generalizing a bit.
The Saints certainly remember it and will lean on it for at least one thing – motivation.
“After we lost, we knew that to get where we want to go, we’re going to have to go through Seattle,” linebacker Junior Galette said. “It is what it is. I certainly remember the feeling. I know other guys do as well, too.”