this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; By SHELDON MICKLES Advocate sportswriter Published: Oct 15, 2007 SEATTLE — It was a night of firsts for the New Orleans Saints. Thanks to their special teams, they scored first for the first time this season. Their defense applied consistent ...
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Saints beat Seattle for first victory
By SHELDON MICKLES
Published: Oct 15, 2007
SEATTLE — It was a night of firsts for the New Orleans Saints.
Thanks to their special teams, they scored first for the first time this season. Their defense applied consistent pressure for the first time this season. Their offense played like it was 2006 again. And Pierre Thomas, Eric Johnson and Lance Moore all scored their first touchdowns as members of the Saints.
They added up to the most important first of all — the Saints’ first win of the season —a much-needed 28-17 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in front of a restless crowd in Qwest Field.
The Saints had to go to great lengths to do it. In their longest road trip of the season, they traveled more than 2,700 miles — but hardly needed a plane to get home after floating out of the stadium with the long-awaited win.
“I was proud of the way we fought tonight,” Saints coach Sean Payton said after his team snapped a five-game losing streak that dated to the NFC title game last Jan. 21. “You know, it’s a good team we played on the road in a tough environment. We came here with good focus and good preparation leading up to the game.
“This is an important win for us right now,” Payton added. “We certainly needed one.”
The Saints got things started early, getting on the scoreboard first for the first time this season. Seahawks long snapper Boone Stutz, who was signed just this week, sent a low snap back to punter Ryan Plackemeier and the ball went through his legs.
A wild scramble ensued with Usama Young beating Plackemeier to the ball. But it squirted free and Chris Reis couldn’t secure it before Thomas picked it up and returned it for a 5-yard TD with 12:38 remaining in the first quarter.
“Finally, it was good just to have some positive things go right for us,” wide receiver David Patten said. “The first turnover, that first big play we had on special teams. That really sent a shock wave through our team. That’s what we needed.”
Indeed. Jolted by that early score, the Saints offense began to look like the unit that led the NFL in total yards last season. After a punt, they scored on three straight possessions, going 86, 66 and 80 yards to shock the Seahawks (3-3) and an unhappy crowd — which showered them with boos.
“Hey, that’s us,” a jubilant Saints quarterback Drew Brees said of the early offensive production. “You know — rhythm, tempo, converting on third downs. I felt like we did a great job with that today.”
The first offensive touchdown for the Saints (1-4) came on 3-yard pass from Brees to Johnson before Moore, who started in place of Devery Henderson, scored on a 7-yard run off a reverse for a 21-0 lead.
The Seahawks came back with a 17-yard TD pass from Matt Hasselbeck to Ben Obomanu, but the Saints rebounded to get a 2-yard scoring pass from Brees to Marques Colston just 30 seconds before halftime.
Josh Brown’s 52-yard field goal with two seconds remaining in the half pulled the Seahawks to within 18 at 28-10 going into halftime.
The Saints had an opportunity to extend the lead when they moved to the Seahawks’ 13 late in the third quarter, but Reggie Bush fumbled and Seattle recovered with 37 seconds remaining in the third period.
But that would be their only real miscue of the contest even though they had at least five dropped passes.
The defense gave up some yards, but they were more aggressive in getting after the quarterback. They went into the game with just one sack in their first four games, but recorded five against the Seahawks.
Defensive tackle Hollis Thomas ended the Seahawks’ first possession of the game when he dropped Hasselbeck for a 6-yard loss, which was followed by the poor snap by Stutz.
The Saints had back-to-back sacks in the third quarter when defensive tackle Brian Young and strong safety Roman Harper dropped Hasselbeck. Then, Charles Grant got his first sack of the season in the fourth quarter and Harper added another as the Seahawks tried to get back in it.
Free safety Josh Bullocks blocked a 44-yard field goal attempt by Brown and also intercepted a Hasselbeck pass with 3:49 to play in the game.
“I thought our defense hung in there exceptionally well and our special teams came up with a big play we talked about,” said Payton, who played things close to the vest in the second half after the first-half explosion. “I kind of backed off a little big and was trying to be smart with this lead. We might have been a little too conservative, but I wanted the clock to move.”
The Seahawks crawled to within 28-17 with 6:39 to play in the game on a 22-yard TD pass from Hasselbeck to Nate Burleson. But an ensuing onside kick was recovered by Moore and the Saints defense stopped the Seahawks twice on downs in the final quarter to hang on.
The Seahawks finished the game with 425 total yards, but the Saints had a season high 367 yards — including 258 in the first half when Bush rushed for 88 yards on nine carries and Brees hit on 15 of 20 passes for 163 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Hasselbeck completed 26 of 43 passes for 362 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. The Saints, however, held running back Shaun Alexander to 35 yards on 14 carries.
Brees had his best performance of the season in hitting on 25 of 36 passes for 246 yards and the two scores. Brees, who came into the game with just one TD and nine interceptions, did not throw a pick. He also was not sacked and posted a passer rating of 106.9.
Patten, who caught four passes for 67 yards on the TD drive that ended with Colston’s 2-yard TD reception, finished the game with eight catches for 113 yards. Both totals matched his career highs.
Bush rushed 19 times for a game-high 97 yards, ripping off the three-longest runs of his two-year career in the first half on dashes of 22, 19 and 22 yards. His second 22-yard burst of the game led to Moore’s touchdown.
Bush, who also caught six passes for 44 yards, had catches of 17 and 12 yards on the touchdown drive that produced Moore’s score.
“You have to tip your hat to New Orleans,” Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said. “I thought they came in and played a good game. You can’t start a game like we did against anybody and have a good game.”
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