The Russell Wilson show was in full effect as the Seattle Seahawks pulled off a very impressive 34-7 win over the New Orleans Saints that puts them on top of the NFC, almost clinching home field advantage throughout the postseason, and positioning themselves as probably the best team in the NFL right now.
The Seahawks jumped on the Saints right from the start, finishing the first quarter with a 17-0 lead. Drew Brees couldn’t handle the defense, the crowd and the cold weather. Russell Wilson was the exact opposite. Not perfect, but not far from it.
The last time the Seahawks scored 17 points or more in a first quarter was in the 2008 season. It’s also been quite a while since the Saints allowed so many points in the game’s opening period – since their 2011 opening loss to the Green Bay Packers, the defending Super Bowl champions at the time.
That first quarter was a perfect example of everything that makes the Seahawks a superior team, especially at home, where their crowd set a new decibel record, taking the crown away from the faithful at Arrowhead. The first touchdown came from Michael Bennett picked up a Drew Brees fumble to score the first touchdown of the game, and that was followed by Wilson finding Zach Miller in the end zone. The Saints, a one-dimensional team, couldn’t get their Drew Brees – Jimmy Graham connection working, and weren’t close at any stage of making a comeback.
Wilson finished with 22-of-30 for 310 yards and three touchdowns. He also led the game in rushing yards with 47 on 8 carries. While there’s no one who will call him a better quarterback than Drew Brees, the numbers were overwhelmingly in his favor. They both attempted eight passes traveling 15 or more yards downfield; Wilson kept his reputation of being the best in the NFL on big throws, completing 5-of-8. Drew Brees? For only the second time since 2006, he didn’t complete a single one.
The Saints, who love to blitz on every opportunity they get, need to learn a new trick. Wilson was 8-of-9 against five or more pass rushers, sacked only once. He was 3-of-3 for 66 yards and a touchdown when the Saints blitzed a defensive back. Avoiding pressure and play-action (the Seahawks rushed for 127 yards on 38 carries) done to perfection were the key in the win, as Wilson threw two of his touchdown passes on play-action. The defense did the rest.
Drew Brees wasn’t intercepted, but couldn’t get anything long with Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston, finding the most success by dropping the ball of to Darren Sproles, finishing with 7 receptions. He completed 50% of his passes outside the painted numbers for 42 yards compared with completing 70% of his passes inside the painted numbers for 105 yards and his only touchdown. Jimmy Graham caught only 3 of the 9 passes directed at him, his second lowest rating of the season.
Russell Wilson – We wanted to be great against the blitz. We knew they were going to bring some pressure and we like the sense of pressure because there is a lot of green grass behind it. For us to come out in that fashion and to win that game the way that we did was awesome.