Final

Saints 10

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Seahawks 27

(1-0, 1-0 home)

4:15 PM ET, September 7, 2003

 

1 2 3 4 T
NO 3 0 0 710
SEA 0 21 3 327

Alexander rushes for 108 yards, 2 TDs

SEATTLE (AP) -- The Seattle Seahawks showed last season they can move the ball. And while it's only one game, the biggest difference this year appears to be that they can stop it, too.

Matt Hasselbeck threw two touchdown passes and Shaun Alexander ran for 108 yards and scored twice, and Seattle's retooled defense looked good Sunday in a 27-10 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

"We had to play well to win this game," coach Mike Holmgren said. "I think you saw we have a chance to be improved on defense."

Seattle's defense held the Saints to 103 yards rushing, meaningful because the Seahawks ranked last in the NFL last season, giving up 152.6 yards rushing per game.

Allen's Analysis
Eric Allen
Question on the Saints: So when will we see this new and improved defense?
We'll see it just as soon as the coaching philosophy changes. The Saints don't have the personnel to play the man-coverage, blitzing schemes they play. They might be better served playing a "Cover 2."

Question on the Seahawks: Do the Seahawks have the most explosive offense in the division?
No, the nod for that title goes to the 49ers with the Seahawks coming in a close second.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

It's harder to measure the number of hard hits the Seattle defenders put on the Saints, but the influence of new defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes was evident in the team's more aggressive play.

"That's what we talked about all week, being physical with these guys," cornerback Willie Williams said. "We're coming out with a different attitude this year. Hopefully, we can play like that every week."

The Seahawks scored 21 straight points in the second quarter, reaching the end zone on each of their possessions to erase the Saints' early 3-0 lead.

"We missed a couple of tackles in the second quarter that led to big plays, and we didn't move the ball very well," New Orleans coach Jim Haslett said. "It was a combination of everything."

Alexander started the binge with a 1-yard dive, Hasselbeck threw a 35-yard TD strike to Koren Robinson and, later, a 10-yard TD pass to Alexander. Josh Brown added a 37-yard field goal in the third period.

"We wanted to wear them down," Alexander said. "Those guys are big, and we wanted to run them sideline to sideline. But we had the most success when we ran straight at them."

The Seahawks averaged an NFL-best 475 yards over the final six weeks last season, winning their last three games.

"We're confident going into the huddle," Hasselbeck said. "We feel we can score on anybody. We have to do it, and we didn't do it as much as we should have today."

Chike Okeafor, who joined the Seahawks as a free agent, got his first career interception in the third quarter to set up Brown's 37-yarder, and forced a fourth-quarter fumble that led to Brown's 25-yard kick.

"We made some nice sticks. We need to keep that up," Okeafor said.

New Orleans, the NFC's highest-scoring team last season, managed only 10 points because of four turnovers. The Saints had won four of their last five openers, but they fell behind in the second quarter and never recovered.

"The offensive performance was unacceptable," quarterback Aaron Brooks said. "We're better than this. We've got to get back to the drawing board. We've got to talk about this."

Deuce McAllister of the Saints had 99 yards rushing on 22 carries and Brooks completed 29 of 47 passes for 274 yards with one interception. He threw a 2-yard TD pass to Joe Horn in the fourth quarter.

The Seahawks had two rookies starting in the secondary, Marcus Trufant at cornerback and Ken Hamlin at free safety. They both played well, with Hamlin putting a highlight-reel hit on Donte' Stallworth, knocking his helmet loose.

"He cut back on me," Hamlin said. "I was trying to hit the hole. I was just coming downhill, trying to make a big play."

Frustrations mounted for the Saints. Late in the third quarter, Horn shoved Hamlin just after Brooks lost a fumbled snap and Seattle's Anthony Simmons came away with the ball.

Alexander's 1-yard TD plunge put Seattle ahead 7-3. New Orleans committed its first turnover on the ensuing possession. Ken Lucas forced a fumble by Michael Lewis on an end-around, and Antonio Cochran recovered for the Seahawks.

Moments later, Hasselbeck threw to Robinson, who bounced off a hit by Tebucky Jones and Fakhir Brown and sprinted untouched the rest of the way to make it 14-3.

The Seahawks forced another punt, and Hasselbeck worked the two-minute offense to produce a 77-yard drive, capped by a 10-yard pass to Alexander.

Notes: Seattle FB Mack Strong broke a 20-yard run in the second quarter, the longest run of his 11-year NFL career. ... The Saints opened on the road for the third straight year. They beat the Bills in 2001 and won at Tampa Bay last season. ... Seahawks rookie FB Chris Davis left in the second quarter with a knee injury. Holmgren didn't know the extent of the injury, but said Davis will be evaluated late Sunday. ... Saints defensive end Darren Howard will miss up to three months after dislocating his right wrist.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
New Orleans
Seattle
1st Downs2017
3rd down efficiency
10-193-12
4th down efficiency
0-10-0
Total Yards359270
Yards per play4.84.6
Total Drives13
Passing263119
Comp-Att
29-4712-23
Yards per pass
5.65.2
Interceptions thrown
10
Sacks-Yards Lost
2-113-18
Rushing96151
Rushing Attempts
2633
Yards per rush
3.74.6
Penalties11-1143-20
Turnovers40
Fumbles lost
30
Interceptions thrown
10
Possession34:3925:21

Passing Leaders

NOC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Brooks29/472745.8112-11
SEAC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Hasselbeck12/231376.0203-18

Rushing Leaders

NOCARYDSAVGTDLG
McAllister22994.5010
Lewis122.002
SEACARYDSAVGTDLG
Alexander241084.5115
Strong5326.4020

Receiving Leaders

NORECYDSAVGTDLG
Stallworth810112.6030
Horn78311.9142
SEARECYDSAVGTDLG
Robinson35618.7135
Jackson35317.7029

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERNOSEA
FG9:40JOHN CARNEY 33 YD
Drive: 9 plays, 28 yds, 4:24
30
SECOND QUARTERNOSEA
TD8:08SHAUN ALEXANDER 1 YD RUN (JOSH BROWN KICK)
Drive: 8 plays, 89 yds, 4:23
37
TD9:17KOREN ROBINSON 35 YD PASS FROM MATT HASSELBECK (JOSH BROWN KICK)
Drive: 2 plays, 38 yds, :47
314
TD14:43SHAUN ALEXANDER 10 YD PASS FROM MATT HASSELBECK (JOSH BROWN KICK)
Drive: 9 plays, 77 yds, 1:50
321
THIRD QUARTERNOSEA
FG8:19JOSH BROWN 37 YD
Drive: 7 plays, 3 yds, 3:17
324
FOURTH QUARTERNOSEA
TD6:13JOE HORN 2 YD PASS FROM AARON BROOKS (JOHN CARNEY KICK)
Drive: 11 plays, 84 yds, 5:04
1024
FG13:59JOSH BROWN 25 YD
Drive: 7 plays, 23 yds, 2:09
1027