by: COURTESY OF MICHAEL WORKMAN - Injured Seattle receiver Percy Harvin is helped off the field during Saturday's NFC home playoff victory over New Orleans.SEATTLE — The blustery weather did not help the New Orleans Saints, who thrive when playing at home inside their dome stadium but tend to struggle on the road.

But after Seattle knocked New Orleans 23-15 Saturday at CenturyLink Field, Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner was having none of that talk.

“The Saints did everything they could to prepare for the weather,” Wagner said. “Weather is weather. We’ve done this since (we were) little kids, so it doesn’t matter.”

New Orleans running back Mark Ingram agreed with Wagner’s sentiment.

“We ran the ball effectively when it was raining,” Ingram said. “We just didn’t make enough plays to beat a good team in Seattle.”

Saints quarterback Drew Brees was a little more inclined to blame the wind, but he did not completely use it to excuse the loss.

“Man, you just have to play,” Brees said.

  •  Saints kicker Shayne Graham may have been the most victimized by the conditions. With the wind swirling, Graham missed critical kicks of 45 and 48 yards.

    “You’ve got to kick it harder into the wind,” Graham said. “When you do that, it’s just a matter of you’ve still got to execute. If it was easy, everyone would do it.

    "My job as a professional athlete is to make those kicks, no matter what the situation is. It would have been big plays to help the team if I would have made them.”

    Graham said he tried to prepare for the elements.

    “We kicked in weather during the week. We had wind at practices. The same kick in practice.”

    It didn't help.

    “I don’t think anyone feels worse for my situation than I do,” Graham said. “I hate not making the kicks when the team needs it. It’s going to be hard to just forget about.”

  •  The Seahawks were quick to use the company line of it not mattering to them whether they play the San Francisco 49ers or the Carolina Panthers in the NFC championship game next Sunday at Seattle.

    “No preference,” Seahawks defensive end Red Bryant said. “Whoever is coming in here, just be ready to play because we damn sure will be.”

  •  Despite being plagued by a nagging hip injury, Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin was able to start Saturday’s game. His return to the field was short-lived, however.

    In the first quarter, Harvin was taken to the locker room to be examined for a concussion after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit. He returned to the game, only to take a knock to the head again in the second quarter when his head hit the turf as he attempted to make a catch in the end zone. Harvin did not return after his second trip to the locker room.

    “The poor kid,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “He finally gets to play, and he banged his head against the turf really hard.

    "He was OK the first time, but the second one really rocked him. They’re treating him for the concussion thing. He was just sick about the thought that he couldn’t go back out."

    Harvin will have to pass NFL concussion tests in order to be allowed to play in the NFC championship game.

  •  Saints running back Mark Ingram, known as a sure-handed ball carrier since his days at Alabama, coughed up a fumble on the Saints' 24-yard line in the second quarter that turned into the Seahawks first touchdown.

    “It’s critical that we take care of the football,” Ingram said. “We can’t help them out. I fumbled it on their side of the field, and they went and scored a touchdown. It’s my responsibility to take care of the football. It hurts.

    “Every time I carry that football I’m carrying the team’s dreams and aspirations. I let them down at a critical moment in the game. That’s unfortunate. I work awful hard, and it wasn’t enough today.”

  •  There was a typical playoff nastiness about the game, with players on both the Saints and the Seahawks pushing and shoving after plays and trash-talking throughout.

    Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson said he left the animosity on the field, though.

    “Me and the linebackers go back and forth,” Robinson said. “They have a great linebacker group. Those guys have a lot of class. You like playing against guys like that. They’re a classy organization. I have nothing but respect for New Orleans.”

  • • Max Unger, Seahawks center and former Oregon Duck, said Saturday's victory and what comes next is what the Seahawks have been preparing for all season.

    “This is a situation we thought we’d be in at the beginning of the year,” Unger said. “We prepared to play in big games and knew that if we do what we were supposed to do we’d reach our goal.

    "This is what we play the game to do. It was business as usual. We have to win. We really wanted to, so we got it done.”

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