Saturday, January 11, 2014
Halftime report: Seahawks 16, Saints 0
By Mike Triplett
SEATTLE -- History has been repeating itself so far in the first half at Seattle. The Seattle Seahawks are dominating the New Orleans Saints on both sides of the ball, just like they did six weeks ago. Seattle is leading the game 16-0 and winning the turnover battle 1-0.
Here are a few thoughts on the action so far:
Costly fumble: The biggest moment of the game was Saints running back Mark Ingram’s fumble on the first play of the second quarter (forced and recovered by Seattle end Michael Bennett). It was a momentum-killer in more ways than one. For one thing, it gave Seattle the ball at New Orleans’ 24-yard line and set up a 15-yard TD run by Marshawn Lynch two plays later that put Seattle up 13-0.
For another thing, that was the moment the Saints had been waiting for. After patiently running the ball throughout the first quarter, waiting to get the heavy wind at their back in the second quarter, they wasted the opportunity immediately. ...The Saints’ run game has been effective for most of the day (15 carries for 79 yards). But that fumble nullified all the positives. And the passing game has been non-existent.
Weather a factor: The rain and wind (not to mention Seattle’s defense) has conspired to completely shut down New Orleans’ passing offense. Drew Brees completed just 5 of 12 passes for 34 yards -- and only one of them to a non-running back. When Brees finally started airing it out with the wind behind him in the second quarter, his first pass sailed out of his hand, way over the head of receiver Lance Moore. Two other passes were slightly off target, and one was dropped by tight end Josh Hill. Ingram also dropped a screen pass in the first quarter.
Saints kicker Shayne Graham also missed a 45-yard field goal attempt, slightly off to the left -- which could have been weather-related (though video showed the laces were turned in). And both punters have hit poor punts into the wind (once after Saints punter Thomas Morstead dropped the snap).
The weather isn’t expected to let up in the second half.
Defense decent: The defense broke down once -- on Lynch's 15-yard touchdown run through at least three missed tackles. Other than that, they’ve tried their best to keep New Orleans in this game, forcing Seattle to settle for field goals despite some good field position.
They haven’t made the kind of game-changing big play, however, that New Orleans desperately needs in this matchup. Quarterback Russell Wilson is 7 of 9 passing for 68 yards. He has been sacked twice. Lynch has 69 yards on 15 carries.