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

quarter.

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

QB.

”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

credit.”

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

Bennett said.

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

possessions.

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

tonight.”

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org