One And Done: New Orleans Saints Falter Against Seattle Seahawks
By Keith Null
The Saints were heavily favored to beat the Seahawks in today’s wild card play0ff match up. New Orleans went 11-5 during the regular season while the Seahawks barely beat out the St. Louis Rams for the NFC West crown at 7-9.
It cannot be ignored either that the Saints beat the Seahawks 34-19 in week eleven.
Seattle, in fact, were the NFL’s worst losing team to ever reach the playoffs. Now the Saints have to live with the fact that they are the team that lost to the “worst team to ever make the playoffs”, cruel irony for the Saints who are coming off perhaps one of the greatest Super Bowl upsets in NFL history against the Colts.
So,e will say that the NFL’s seeding should change considering that the 7-9 Seahawks were awarded home field advantage over the 11-5 Saints. It’s fair to say that New Orleans chances of winning would have been considerably better had they been at home, but it is what is and Seattle earned their victory.
Matt Hasselbeck came out like a man on fire demolishing the Saints secondary to the tune of 272 yards and four touchdowns, three of those happening in the first half alone.
The Saints secondary entered the game only surrendering an average of 200 yards a game through the regular season and were in the top five in passing defense in the NFL.
Someone forgot to tell then that were in a playoff game, not week seventeen’s garbage match up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Strong safety Roman Harper, who many consider having a pro bowl season for the Saints, was quite honestly embarrassed by Seattle’s tight ends and receivers after surrendering two touchdown passes when forced into coverage.
It was just a pitiful performance for what had become an elite Saints defense in 2010 that allowed the Seahawks to rack up 415 total yards of offense (266 pass, 149 rush) in the game.
The game was over when Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch broke off a 67-yard touchdown run in the final minutes of the fourth quarter to extend the Seahawks lead to 11 points at 41-30.
Lynch finished with 131 yards on 19 carries, the first Seattle back to top 100 yards all season.
Offensively the Saints were good and Brees was equally as dynamic as Hasselbeck throwing for 404 yards and two touchdowns in the absence of any sort of rush offense.
Earlier this week the Saints placed both leading rusher’s Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory on injured reserve leaving Reggie Bush and Julius Jones as the primary running backs.
Bush did what all Saints fans expect him to do and rushed for little yardage, twelve yards on five carries, but did make a splash as receiver catching five passes for 37 yards. He left in the third quarter with a leg injury.
Meanwhike ex-Seahawk Julius Jones fared better rushing for 59 yards and two touchdowns, but unfortunately had a costly fumble in the first half that lead to three points for Seattle.
Jones also left the game in the fourth quarter after taking a big hit that left him noticeably staggered. That of course meant the Saints were left to turn to runnign back DeShawn Wynn whom they signed earlier this week after the loss of Thomas and Ivory.
It was noticeable to many that the Saints, going into this game, have not appeared themselves after dropping two of their last three regular season games.
The offense struggled to put up points at times while the defense managed to let most running backs and quarterbacks rack up the yards and points with abandon, the Saints had gone flat.
Going into Qwest Field against a fired up Seattle Seahawks squad was exactly what the Saints did not need, and it showed in their performance.
Try as they might to become the first repeat champion in over five years too many things (injuries, penalties, turnovers) were working against them this season and it finally caught up with them dead to rights in Seattle.
Now it is time to rest and rebuild, it’s long overdue for fans and players alike and there is always next season, right?
Who dat beleives in them Saints? We all still do.
Check out Keith Null’s weekly article about the Saints on NFL.com by clicking here.
Get WhoDatDish.com three ways subscribe to the RSS feed,become a friend of WDD on Twitter,or enjoy the new iPhone and Android app by searching for Who Dat Dish in your phone’s app store,it’s free.