Penalty on Seahawks’ Raheem Brock is boon for Saints

Raheem Brock was trying to reach Drew Brees’ arm.

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The official ruled that Brock hit the quarterback’s head, though, and called a critical penalty that sustained New Orleans’ final touchdown drive of the first half.

“They said I hit the quarterback in the head,” Brock said after the game, “but I basically had my hands up, just trying to stop his arm from going forward.”

The penalty came after Brees had thrown an incomplete pass on third-and-three from the New Orleans 32. Seattle had cut the Saints’ lead to 21-13, and it appeared New Orleans would be forced to punt with less than 2 minutes remaining in the half.

Instead the roughing-the-passer penalty gave the Saints a first down. They scored three plays later on Brees’ 22-yard touchdown pass to Marques Colston.

“That was a huge exchange,” coach Pete Carroll said of the penalty, “because we were off the field, we had stopped them. We were close; the score was in hand at that time. We gave Drew another chance, and he went right down the field on us.

“I didn’t see the hit. Our coaches that saw it and what I’ve heard, (they) said it was one of those calls that didn’t have to get called.”

Okung returns

Left tackle Russell Okung returned from the ankle injury that kept him out the past three games, and he started and finished a game for the second time this season. Okung, the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft, has suffered injuries to both ankles this year.

Losing grip

Marshawn Lynch had lost four fumbles in his NFL career before Sunday’s game. He lost two in the third quarter alone and didn’t return to the game after the second one. Leon Washington replaced Lynch on the next series, and Justin Forsett finished out the game.

“I didn’t want Marshawn to go back out there,” Carroll said. “The game, I didn’t think he could be the factor in it, and I didn’t want to put him in the situation where the ball might get out again. I love him and he’s a great football player for us, and those are mistakes that happen some times. He’s got to find his way to not let it happen, and he knows that.”