We?re calling that a slightly above average showing despite pedestrian overall numbers for two reasons. One, the weather was pretty awful, making it tough for either team to throw the ball, and two, the Seahawks rushed for 174 yards, including 140 and two touchdowns from Marshawn Lynch. And even though Russell Wilson didn?t have his best day, completing 9 of 18 attempts for 103 yards, he made a huge throw when his team needed it, hitting Doug Baldwin for a 30-yard gain that helped put the game away.
Just as you?d expect, the Seahawks defense was stifling at home, shutting the Saints out for three quarters before Drew Brees and the passing game finally got going. The Seahawks didn?t contain the run as well as they?d like, allowing the Saints to gain 102 yards and average 4.2 yards per carry. Michael Bennett came up with another big play in a season full of them, forcing a fumble that led to Seattle?s only touchdown of the first half. Even New Orleans? biggest play of the game, a 52-yard pass, was a ball that should have been intercepted, but bounced off Earl Thomas? hands as he collided with teammate Byron Maxwell.
Special teams: B+
It?s hard to judge the punting game with such severe wind, though Jon Ryan did pin the Saints deep when he had a chance with the wind at his back. Steven Hauschka hit three field goals, which given the conditions was impressive, especially considering Saints kicker Shayne Graham missed two. Seattle?s coverage units were strong as usual, and as is the case at least once a game, special teams ace Jeremy Lane came up with a big play. Not coming up with an onside kick was the one notable flaw, though it ultimately didn?t cost Seattle.
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