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NEW ORLEANS -- Thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks' 34-19 loss against the New Orleans Saints in Week 11:
What it means: The Seahawks weren't good enough to go toe-to-toe against Drew Brees in the Superdome, but they looked like the best team in the NFC West on this day. Watching quarterback Matt Hasselbeck over the past two games should give the Seahawks hope heading into their final six games. The team remains atop the NFC West with a 5-5 record heading into consecutive home games. The second-place Rams (4-6) play their next three on the road.
What I liked: The Seahawks forced their offensive tempo upon the Saints and made big, timely plays in the passing game. Hasselbeck commanded the offense effectively in a hostile environment, silencing the Superdome crowd with accurate passes. He looked like a Pro Bowl quarterback while completing 32 of 44 passes for 366 yards, one touchdown and a 104.9 rating. His protection was outstanding (no sacks). Receivers Mike Williams, Brandon Stokley and Ben Obomanu exploited the Saints' secondary. Williams caught six passes for 109 yards before leaving the game with a toe injury.
What I didn't like: Seattle's tackling was too often horrendous. Defensive players were bouncing off Saints running back Chris Ivory and others, including receiver Marques Colston. On offense, running back Marshawn Lynch lost two fumbles in a game for the first time in his career. Those turnovers prevented Seattle from keeping this game closer. The Seahawks replaced him late in the game.
You make the call: Questionable officiating affected the game negatively. The Saints scored a touchdown late in the first half after referee Mike Carey's crew turned a third-and-3 incomplete pass into first down near midfield with a roughing penalty against Seahawks defensive end Raheem Brock. The hit appeared clean. The play was pivotal and forced Seattle to play from behind.
Injuries of note: Seattle lost Williams, its leading receiver, and Marcus Trufant, its top cornerback, to injuries. Trufant suffered what the team described as a head injury. Left guard Chester Pitts was limping throughout the game.
What's next: The Seahawks return home to face Kansas City and Carolina over the next two weeks.