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Originally published January 10, 2011 at 8:00 PM | Page modified January 10, 2011 at 8:49 PM

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Not even the Seahawks can explain puzzling resurgence

How have the Seahawks turned the NFL on its ear by upsetting the defending Super Bowl champion Saints? Even the Hawks have a hard time explaining it.

Seattle Times staff reporter

The Seahawks didn't just survive two do-or-die scenarios in a single week.

They thrived.

And at some point after the Seahawks turned the NFL on its ear by upsetting the defending Super Bowl champion Saints, it became clear that all the stats, trends and results of Seattle's first 15 games don't have a thing to do with where it ends up.

All that matters is the ability to win that next game, and Seattle was able to do that first in the regular-season finale against St. Louis to earn its playoff berth, then on Saturday against New Orleans in the first game of the postseason.

"When it finally came down to that last game against St. Louis, we finally played our best football," coach Pete Carroll said. "I'm not real proud of that. I would have rather seen that for all the right reasons earlier on, but I'm having fun with it, enjoying it.

"We're going to see how far we can ride it."

So quit living in the past, because describing the Seahawks as the only team to win its division with a losing record is sooooo regular season. The 2-7 skid that had the Seahawks' season on the rocks is disappearing in the rearview mirror.

This isn't college football, where a team can't lose even one game and retain national-championship hopes, let alone getting beaten twice.

"There is a kind of an atmosphere around the playoffs and the opportunity to be part of the playoffs that is exciting in a different way," Carroll said. "You can extend your opportunities by winning games, and the attention and the buildup and the excitement and the fun all mounts as you go through that.

"When you play one bowl game, it's a one-shot deal and now you go to the polls to see what happens."

If this were college football, the Seahawks wouldn't have been bowl eligible. But this is the NFL, and they aren't just alive; they still have the possibility of hosting the NFC Championship Game.

That's getting carried away, though, because there are all sorts of trends working against Seattle heading into Sunday's game at Chicago. The Seahawks have not won a playoff game on the road since 1983, and Seattle's current two-game winning streak matches its longest of the season.

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But these past two weeks have shown just how little the past matters for these Seahawks.

Seattle entered the regular-season finale against St. Louis having allowed 34 or more points in three successive games, then went out and held the Rams without a touchdown. It was the first time Seattle had done that since the season-opening victory against the 49ers.

Seattle's offense came alive Saturday against the Saints. The Seahawks had scored more than 30 points in just three regular-season games and had the second-lowest rushing total of any team in the league. New Orleans hadn't allowed more than three touchdowns in any of its regular-season games. Yet the Seahawks scored five TDs en route to 41 points, a franchise record for a playoff game.

So how do you explain the resurgence of a team that appeared to be flatlining after its 38-15 loss in Tampa Bay on Dec. 26?

You don't.

"I don't have a great answer," quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. "I don't know. We're going to just keep doing what we're doing, though."

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