Player of the quarter: Hasselbeck. He was 7 of 11 for 89 yards in the quarter, and the TD pass to WR Mike Williams.
Play of the quarter: Hasselbeck’s perfectly thrown third-down pass that he laid over CB Jabari Greer and FS Darren Sharper, and Mike Williams made a finger-tip catch of for a TD that made it 31-20.
Number of the quarter: 0.7. The Saints’ per-carry average on three running plays in the quarter.
The bigger picture: Hmmm. The Seahawks took the kickoff to open the second half and drove 79 yards in seven plays to what might be the team’s best play of the season – Hasselbeck’s perfectly thrown third-down pass to Williams for the TD that made it 31-20. The hot-handed Hasselbeck was 4 of 5 – to three different receivers – for 76 yards.
The Seahawks struck again on their next possession, this time a 39-yard field goal by Olindo Mare that made it 34-20 with 5:27 left in the quarter. Hasselbeck passed to WR Brandon Stokley for 11 yards on third-and-8, but WR Ben Obomanu dropped a third-and-1 pass. Hasselbeck was 3 of 4 for 13 yards, while Lynch added runs of 9, 5 and 4 yards. The Seahawks got the ball back because the defense continued to turn up the heat on the Saints. SS Lawyer Milloy pressure Brees into an intentional grounding call on second down and FS Earl Thomas then broke up Brees’ third-down pass to WR Lance Moore.
The defense rose up again on the Saints next series, as MLB Lofa Tatupu stopped RB Julius Jones for no gain on a fourth-and-1 carry. On the third-down play, CB Kelly Jennings and DB Jordan Babineaux stopped Jones for a 2-yard on a third-and-3 pass play.
The Seahawks could not capitalize, however. WR Mike Williams dropped Hasselbeck’s second-down pass and the third-down pass was incomplete to WR Ben Obomanu, despite what appeared to be pass interference on Saints CB Patrick Robinson. Olindo Mare lined up for 53-yard field goal attempt, but the Seahawks were called for delay of game and had to punt.