NEW ORLEANS – A recap of the Seahawks’ 34-19 loss to the Saints at the Superdome on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Drew Brees. The Saints’ Pro Bowl quarterback and MVP in last season’s Super Bowl was as about as good as he could have been.
Asked what the biggest challenge was about the New Orleans’ offense on a day when the Saints rolled up 494 yards, scored 34 points and converted 11 of 15 third-down situations, Seahawks linebacker Aaron Curry did not hesitate.
“Drew Brees was the biggest challenge,” he said. “I mean, how do you catch him off guard? You have to find a way to catch him off guard, and he was sharp today.”
Was he ever. Brees passed for four touchdowns in a 29-of-43, 382-yard performance that would have produced even more ridiculous numbers if linebacker David Hawthorne had not intercepted one of his passes at the goal line, free safety Earl Thomas had not picked off his final pass in the end zone and a holding penalty had not nullified his 36-yard TD pass to former Seahawks running back Julius Jones.
Brees completed passes to 10 different receivers, including eight to wide receiver Marques Colston for 113 yards and two TDs. He also threw a pair of TD passes to wide receiver Robert Meachem. He was 8 of 11 for 117 yards on third downs, including throws that converted on third-and-14, third-and-13 and third-and-10 (twice).
As Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck put it after his 32-of-44, 366-yard passing performance, “They had better stuff than we did today.”
And nobody has better stuff than Brees.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: It was only a 5-yard run – and on second-and-6 play in the first quarter, at that. But the collision between Saints rookie running back Chris Ivory and Marcus Trufant knocked the Seahawks’ cornerback out of the game with a concussion. Walter Thurmond took over for Trufant and Brees exploited matchups against the rookie the rest of the game.
Defense: The Seahawks had just scored what proved to be their only touchdown to cut the Saints’ lead to 21-13 late in the first half. They had the Saints in a third-and-7 situation at their own 32-yard line. Colston dropped Brees’ pass, but defensive end Raheem Brock also dropped Brees and was penalized 15 yards for roughing the passer. Three plays later, Brees threw his third TD pass to give the Saints a 27-13 lead.
Brock wasn’t around after the game to tell his side of the questionable call, but he tweeted, “I guess I’ve forgotten how to tackle the quarterback.”
Special teams: Following the Seahawks’ only touchdown, linebacker Will Herring dropped Saints kickoff returner Courtney Robby with a huge hit after a 25-yard return. Herring was mobbed by teammates on the coverage unit, who converged on him to offer congratulatory shoulder-bumps. The way-to-go gestures continued after Herring got to the sideline.
Pre-game: Half the defensive line on the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team was on the sideline, as former Pro Bowl defensive end Jacob Green and former NFL defensive player of the year and All-Pro defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy were on hand for the game.
In-game: Running back Marshawn Lynch lost two fumbles while battling for extra yards, ending back-to-back possessions in the third quarter – one near midfield after a 17-yard run, the other at the Saints’ 44-yard line after a 12-yard reception.
Post-game: Leading receiver Mike Williams left the locker room on crutches after getting what coach Pete Carroll called a sprained foot. Before he went out, Williams caught six passes for 109 yards – pushing his team-high totals to 52 for 654 yards.
Rookie LT Russell Okung started only his fourth game, and finished only his second. He has missed time this season with high sprains of both ankles.
Thomas, the Seahawks’ other first-round draft choice, intercepted his fifth pass of the season to tie the franchise rookie record set by Michael Boulware in 2004.
After producing three touchdowns in three red-zone possessions in their Week 6 win at Chicago, the Seahawks’ last 20 trips inside the opposition’s 20-yard line have resulted in four touchdowns, 11 field goals, two missed field goals, two where they failed to convert on fourth-down plays and an interception.
Brandon Stokley caught six passes for 76 yards, despite sitting out last week’s game with a strained calf and being limited in practice all week.
The Seahawks generated 424 offensive yards, after compiling 490 in last week’s win over the Cardinals in Arizona. Those are the only two games in which they have had more than 355 this season.
Hawthorne led the Seahawks with 12 tackles, the second time in the past three games he has hit double figures.
The Seahawks did not generate a sack for the second time in three games – the only two times this season they have failed to get to the opposing QB.
The big losses, of course, were Trufant and Williams. They are scheduled for additional tests on Monday, which will determine how much time they might miss.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Our challenge as a team is how can we get all three phases working at the same time? We really haven’t done that yet this year. … If we can figure that out before the season is over, then we’ll be a very dangerous team. Until that, we’ll just be .500.” – strong safety Lawyer Milloy