Brees leads Saints past Seahawks 34-16
By BRETT MARTEL
AP Sports Writer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Drew Brees has made plenty of good defenses look bad during his steady accumulation of New Orleans Saints passing records.
That meant trouble for a Seattle team that was already struggling to stop teams from piling up yards in the air.
Brees became the Saints' all-time completions leader while throwing for four touchdowns in New Orleans' 34-19 win over the Seahawks on Sunday.
"Their offense and Drew Brees did what they were famous for -- threw the heck out of the football," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "They played a great game on offense. We couldn't slow them down when we needed to."
Brees was 29 of 42 for 382 yards and completed his 1,850th pass as a Saint in the second quarter to break a record held by Archie Manning since 1982.
Brees hit Marques Colston and Robert Meachem twice each for TDs to keep the defending champion Saints (7-3) one game behind NFC South leader Atlanta.
"Today we played at times as well as we've played all season," Brees said. "That's gets you excited because you feel like, man, we're knocking at the door. Just imagine if we can continue to kind of get all the weapons back."
Brees shredded the Seahawks (5-5) without the benefit of having Reggie Bush, Pierre Thomas and tight end Jeremy Shockey in the lineup. Yet he still managed to complete passes to 10 different receivers, including rookie tight end Jimmy Graham, who made five catches for 72 yards.
Certainly, New Orleans seems to be regaining its Super Bowl form, having won three straight and four of five, with all victories in that stretch coming by double digits.
"We are on the cusp," Brees said. "We had some weapons last year, but I think we have some guys emerging now that we really have a lot of places that we can spread this ball around."
Seattle came in ranked 28th in the NFL in pass defense, allowing 272.2 yards per game through the air. It didn't help when the Seahawks' best defensive back, Marcus Trufant, took a shot on the helmet from running back Chris Ivory's knee and left the game with a concussion. He was replaced by rookie Walter Thurmond.
Brees' accuracy helped the Saints go 11 of 15 on third downs. He eclipsed 300 yards by the third quarter, marking the 35th time as a Saint, which extended his own franchise mark.
Now in his fifth season in New Orleans, Brees owns numerous franchise passing records, including TDs with 144, but still has another significant one that he'll probably surpass this season. Manning's 21,734 yards passing remains a club record, but Brees is less than 500 yards behind at 21,267.
"It means we throw the ball a lot more than they did" when Manning played, Brees said, laughing. "Obviously, it's a huge honor to be in that category with guys like Archie."
Matt Hasselbeck was 32 of 44 for 366 yards, the most allowed by New Orleans' top-ranked passing defense this season, but Seattle had trouble getting in the end zone. The Seahawks lost two fumbles and had four drives end with field goals by Olindo Mare.
"It's really tough when you are playing against a great player like Drew Brees," Hasselbeck said. "Obviously he was real hot today and when a guy like that is making plays and throwing touchdowns like he did and keeping drives alive, well, it's really hard to win."
The Saints entered the game allowing about 166 yards passing per game. Hasselbeck's scrambling ran Saints pass rushers ragged, and the Seattle quarterback had little trouble throwing downfield.
He connected with Mike Williams six times for 109 yards, including a 68-yarder to the Saints 10, which set up the game's first points on a field goal. Hasselbeck hit Ben Obomanu five times for 87 yards, including one 42-yard gain and a short TD.
But settling for field goals and Marshawn Lynch's two fumbles while trying to fight for extra yards made it tough for Seattle to keep pace.
Roman Harper stripped Lynch and recovered his first turnover, while Scott Shanle got the strip and recovery on the second.
The Saints played their eighth straight game without Bush, who has been out since breaking a bone in his lower right leg in Week 2 at San Francisco. He worked out on the field before the game, but the Saints decided to make him a late scratch, meaning he wouldn't get to play against his old college coach.
Saints coach Sean Payton said he could come back against Dallas on Thanksgiving. The Saints did fine on the ground anyway, with Ivory rushing for 99 yards and scoring New Orleans' first TD on a dive over the pile.
Colston finished with eight catches for 113 yards. Meachem had three receptions for 50 yards, the longest going for a 32-yard score in the third quarter for Brees' last TD passing.
Notes: Carroll said Williams had a left foot injury that prevented him from playing late in the game, but he was not sure how serious it was. ... Brees has at least one TD in 24 straight games, including last season's playoffs. He has 55 TDs during that span. ... All five of Seattle's losses have been by double digits, with the others coming by 17, 17, 30 and 34 points, but the Seahawks still lead the NFC West.
Updated November 21, 2010