Final: Saints 34, Seahawks 19

Drew Brees threw four touchdown passes and the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints beat the Seattle Seahawks 34-19 today in the Superdome, offsetting another 300-yard passing day by Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

The Saints improved to 7-3. The Seahawks dropped to 5-5, but maintained their one-game lead in the NFC West over the St. Louis Rams, who lost 34-17 to Atlanta.

Brees completed 29 of 42 passes for 382 yards and the four touchdowns. Hasselbeck completed 31 of 43 passes for 355 yards and one TD, despite playing with a cast protecting broken bones on his left hand sustained during the Seahawks’ victory over the Arizona Cardinals last week, when he also passed for more than 300 yards.

Brees threw for three of his touchdowns in the first half Sunday, helping the Saints to a 27-16 lead. Brees’ fourth touchdown pass capped an 80-yard, six-play Saints drive after they took the kickoff to start the second half.

Those turned out to be the only points the Saints would score in the second half. The Seahawks’ only points of the half came when Olindo Mare kicked his fourth field goal, a 20-yarder in the fourth quarter. Mare had five field goals last week against the Cardinals.

Brees and the Saints put together four first-half touchdown drives, the fourth covering 75 yards in just five plays less than a minute after the Seahawks scored their only touchdown of the game. Brees connected with wide receiver Marques Colston for a 22-yard score – Colston’s second TD of the first half. The Saints’ try for a two-point conversion failed.

The Seahawks came right back to get in position for Mare’s third field goal, a 43-yarder that finished off a flurry of scoring in the final two minutes of the half.

The Seahawks trailed 21-6 until Hasselbeck found Ben Obamanu with a two-yard touchdown pass with just 1:54 left in the half. The play completed a 69-yard, 12 play drive.

Until then, the Seahawks managed two Mare field goals, each set up by a long pass play.

On the first, Hasselbeck and Mike Williams teamed up on a 68-yard pass to the New Orleans 10-yard line. The Seahawks settled for a 20-yard Mare field goal that gave them an early 3-0 lead.

Williams, however, sustained an apparent leg injury on the play and sat out the rest of the game.

The second Mare field goal, a 42-yarder on the first snap of the second quarter, was set up by a 42-yard pass from Hasselbeck to Obamanu. That made the score 7-6.

Two of the Saints’ first-half touchdown drives, meanwhile, covered 80 yards. The first took 10 plays, with Chris Ivory plunging the final yard a few plays after his 24-yard run set the Saints up with a first-and-goal at the Seattle 5.

The second 80-yard drive took 12 plays, with Brees connecting with Colston for a 23-yard touchdown pass that hiked the Saints’ lead to 14-6.

The Saints’ third touchdown, a 3-yard pass from Brees to Meachem, came with 4:06 to go in the half, completing a 42-yard, 8-play drive following a unnecessary roughness penalty on the Seahawks’ Roy Lewis against the Saints’ punt returner