5 things to know after Seahawks rout Saints 34-7
Russell Wilson was so impressed with the way Seattle prepared
for its showdown against New Orleans that he made a point of
texting coach Pete Carroll about it.
That’s just how Wilson is wired and partly why the Seahawks were
the first team in the NFL to clinch a playoff spot with their 34-7
manhandling of the Saints on Monday night.
”That preparation was big,” Wilson said. ”I really think it
showed up tonight.”
Seattle is the first team bound for the postseason. They need to
go 2-2 in their final four games to wrap up home-field advantage
and make the NFC playoffs go through Seattle.
Wilson finished with 310 yards passing and attempted only three
passes in the fourth quarter for 13 yards. His first three quarters
were so good he could have become a spectator in the fourth. He
threw touchdown passes of 2 yards to Zach Miller and 4 yards to
Doug Baldwin in the first half as Seattle built a 27-7 lead. Wilson
added a pinball 8-yard TD pass to Derrick Coleman in the third
Wilson completed 22 of 30 passes and finished with a quarterback
rating of 139.6. He is 14-0 at home and has 22 regular-season wins
in his first two seasons, tied for the most ever by a second-year
”They definitely played the run well tonight, we didn’t run the
ball as well as we’d like,” Carroll said. ”It allowed us to hit a
bunch of other stuff.”
New Orleans (9-3) again failed to earn a signature road victory
to prove it can win outdoors on the road late in the season. Drew
Brees finished 23 of 38 for 147 yards. Jimmy Graham had three
catches for 42 yards. Darren Sproles led New Orleans with seven
catches, many of them on check downs. The seven points matched the
fewest scored by the Saints since Sean Payton became coach in 2006
and the 188 total yards were the fewest in his coaching tenure.
The Saints were just as flustered by their defense and the
inability to slow Wilson.
”I don’t even know what to tell you. I don’t even know what
happened out there,” Saints linebacker Junior Galette said. ”We
better watch the films and see what we can adjust.”
Here are five things we learned from the Seahawks’ dominating
win over the Saints:
BAFFLED BREES: It’s rare to see Brees confused and unsure of
where to go with his passes. But he was regularly double clutching
his throws and being forced to move around the pocket. Seattle used
unusual coverages with its linebackers to try and make Brees
hesitate with his timing, and the Seahawks pass rush was able to
make him uncomfortable in the pocket.
”They put it all together and they play very, very well
together within their scheme,” Brees said. ”Obviously, they play
very well at home because they can thrive on that crowd noise and
typically an offense’s inability to communicate as well in snap
count and all those things. But listen, they deserve a lot of
NO DROP OFF: All those concerns about Seattle being without
cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond appeared unfounded.
Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane both played well filing in for
Browner and Thurmond. Maxwell got the majority of the playing time
on the outside, with Lane coming in as the nickel cornerback.
Maxwell was credited with two passes defensed.
”It’s impressive for those guys to step up and make those kind
of plays, but we expect that from them. Maxwell and Lane, at
practice, they don’t let people catch balls. Hats off to Richard
Sherman and Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond for keeping that
Legion of Boom the way it is,” Seattle defensive lineman Michael
BEAT THE BLITZ: Seattle noticed on film a certain alignment of
the Saints defense that tipped them a blitz was coming and there
would be a chance to get a big play downfield. One time Seattle
made the right checks resulted in a 52-yard pass from Wilson to
Doug Baldwin. The Seahawks’ offensive line also did its part
handling the Saints pressure with Wilson being sacked only once and
hit four times.
”We like the sense of pressure because there is a lot of green
grass behind it,” Wilson said.
THREE-AND-OUT: The Saints were among the best in the NFL at
avoiding three-and-out possessions. They had just 26 in 11 games
coming into Monday night, but the Seahawks forced the Saints into
five three-and-out drives including two of their first three
FEEL THE NOISE: Seattle’s noise factor is real. Its fans set
another Guinness World Record for the loudest outdoor sports
stadium on Monday night, a noise level of 137.6 decibels recorded
in the second quarter. But the kind of impact the noise can have
was evident on the first play of the game when the Saints were
unable to communicate a blocking change and Pierre Thomas was
dropped for a 4-yard loss.
”They said it was so loud that they had trouble getting off on
the cadence,” Carroll said. ”Without question, it was a factor
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