SEATTLE — When they walked off the field Jan. 13, 2013, after losing at the top-seeded Falcons in an NFC division playoff game, varying emotions brewed in the Seahawks' locker room.
Some, such as quarterback Russell Wilson, peeked ahead to a bright future. Others were angry.
"We never want to feel that feeling again," cornerback Richard Sherman recalled. "I think as motivated as New Orleans is from what happened to them the last time they came here, we're just as motivated from what happened in Atlanta."
Seattle's chance at making amends arrives today. But this time, it isn't the upstart. It is the top seed, and anything short of a Super Bowl berth is a disappointment.
"Last year, a lot of the guys didn't know what to expect. We're just young, wanting to go out there, have fun and do our best," receiver Doug Baldwin said. "Now we kind of expect the atmosphere. We know what we're going into, and we know it's going to be amped up."
In many ways, the feelings the Seahawks had leaving Atlanta are similar to what the Saints felt leaving Seattle after a 34-7 loss Dec. 2.
And they also can make amends.
New Orleans is subtly different — for better and worse — since that blowout. It is more committed to running the ball, including 185 yards last week against the Eagles. It is better on the offensive line with Charles Brown replacing Terron Armstead at left tackle. But New Orleans is littered with injuries, the latest being starting linebacker Parys Haralson to a torn pectoral sustained last week.
"I was just hoping we have another opportunity," quarterback Drew Brees said. "And here we are with that opportunity."