For a fifth consecutive season, the defending Super Bowl champion ended its following season without a playoff victory.
Behind Matt Hasselbeck’s four-touchdown performance, the Seattle Seahawks defeated the visiting New Orleans Saints 41-36.
Down 10 early in the first quarter, the 12-year veteran orchestrated a six-play, 57-yard drive that ended with the quarterback finding tight end John Carlson for an 11-yard score with 3:38 remaining.
Carlson and Hasselbeck weren’t done.
After former Seahawk Julius Jones scored his first of two touchdowns to extend New Orleans’ lead back to 10 in the opening minutes of the second quarter, Hasselbeck completed a seven-yard strike at 11:00 to a wide open Carlson after the tight end slipped and fell near the goal line and was left alone by the Saints’ secondary. An Olindo Mare extra point cut Seattle’s deficit to 17-14.
The Saints would lead for just three minutes and 57 seconds following the play.
Mare kicked his first of two field goals of the game, a 29-yarder, with 7:03 remaining in the first half to draw the score even.
Just under six minutes later, Hasselbeck was at it again. Facing third-and-three from the New Orleans 45-yard line, Hasselbeck aired it deep down the left side to a streaking Brandon Stokley who beat three Saints defenders to give Seattle its first lead of the game.
Hasselbeck opened the second half with his fourth passing touchdown to give the Seahawks a 31-20 lead following Olindo Mare’s extra point. The play, a 38-yard connection with Mike Williams, was the wide receiver’s longest reception in six weeks.
Following Seattle’s 27-10 run during the game’s middle two quarters, New Orleans responded.
Julius Jones took a four-yard carry into the end zone with 13:11 left. That was followed by a Garrett Hartley 21-yard field goal just under four minutes later. And, after a Marshawn Lynch 67-yard touchdown run to bolster’s Seattle’s lead to 11 with 3:22 remaining in the game, quarterback Drew Brees hit Devery Henderson for a six-yard touchdown pass with just 90 seconds on the clock. A failed two-point conversion kept the score 41-36.
Matt Hasselbeck finished the day with 22 completions out of 35 attempts, 272 passing yards and the four touchdown passes.
Brees, the reigning Super Bowl MVP, completed 39 of 60 pass attempts for 404 yards and two touchdowns.
Next weekend, the Seahawks head to either Atlanta or Chicago depending on who wins the Green Bay, Philadelphia Wild Card game Sunday.
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