By John Boyle
The Seahawks didn’t want to call Monday’s beatdown of the Saints a statement victory. Nor did they ever fear during the week that they’d get caught up in the distractions that came up early in the week. The Seahawks, who at 11-1 have now clinched a playoff berth and are in the driver’s seat for the NFC’s No. 1 seed, expected to play like this.
“I’m telling you, I’m not just saying this because it happened, but this is what we envisioned happening,” safety Earl Thomas said. “We always practice like this, we’re going to always have confidence.”
There were so many illustrations of Seattle’s dominance, from Russell Wilson’s big numbers (310 passing yards, 3 TDs), to Drew Brees’ lack of them (147 yards, 1 TD), but perhaps what stood out most is that a defense missing two of its three top cornerbacks still shut down one of the NFL’s best offenses, and limited big-play tight end Jimmy Graham to three catches for 42 yards (though one of those was New Orleans’ only TD).
Thomas didn’t think Monday’s win was a statement for his team, but maybe one to the pundits who wondered, as he put it, “‘How’s the L.O.B. going to hold Jimmy Graham? Do they have to isolate him with Sherm? Man, we had linebackers on him, Kam, it doesn’t matter. We’re not like everybody else, you’re not just about to have a highlight tape on us like that.”
Here’s a bit of what Pete Carroll thought about the game: “Well we had a blast tonight. It was just a great night for the Seahawks and fans. Just a really good night. I’m really proud that we came off of the bye so well. I was concerned, you don’t know how that’s going to turn out, but we got great rest and we came out strong and you could tell all night long that we had our legs and guys were flying. All phases played well… It was just a terrific night. I can’t even point out all of the guys that contributed.
“The defense, to hold that quarterback, that coach and that team to that kind of production tonight, that’s an incredible night for our guys. The really cool thing is we didn’t do anything special. We did what we liked doing and the way we want to play, we matched the guys up the way we always match up.”
Oh, and if you had any doubts that this wasn’t the Saints’ day, consider that they apparently are stuck in Seattle for an extra night because their plane broke down.
Injury update: Carroll said tight end Kellen Davis has, “a neck sprain or something, we’re not quite sure what that is yet. He’s the only guy that didn’t finish the game, so we came out of it very healthy.”
Asked if he though there was a chance of Percy Harvin playing (the receiver was listed as doubtful), Carroll said, “I held out hope. I’m kind of one of those hopeless optimists. But he just couldn’t quite get there. He felt a lot better today, but he’s just some stiffness that hasn’t quite gone away, and we don’t want to take a chance at this time. So here’s another week and we’ll go day-to-day, as soon as he’s ready to rock and roll, we’re going to go. It’ll be fun to add him to it.”
A few notes…
—The Saints’ 188 yards from scrimmage was their lowest total since Jan. 6, 2002.
—The victory was the 22nd for the Seahawks with Russell Wilson as a starter, tied for the most for a quarterback in his first two seasons with Ben Roethlisberger.
—Wilson’s 139.6 passer rating was the second best of his career? The best? That came in his last game when he posted a rating of 151.4 in a win over the Vikings.
—Michael Robinson’s 21- yard catch on Seattle’s second offensive play—and remember, he’s a fullback—was longer than any offensive play the Saints had on Monday night.