Seahawks 21

(1-0, 1-0 away)

Saints 7

(0-1, 0-1 home)

1:00 PM ET, September 12, 2004


1 2 3 4 T
SEA 0 14 7 021
NO 0 7 0 07

Seattle gets rare road win

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The Seattle Seahawks need not fear the road.

With Shaun Alexander leading the way, the Seahawks were sure-footed on their first trip of the 2004 season.

Alexander scored three touchdowns Sunday to get the Seahawks off to a good start with a 21-7 victory over the New Orleans Saints. Seattle was 2-6 on the road last season, but used its first journey to start working on expectations the Seahawks will be strong contenders for the NFC title.

Allen's Analysis

Eric Allen

How encouraged is Seattle's run-defense with the effort against Deuce McAllister (57 yards)?

The Seahawks should be very encouraged by their ability to hold down McAllister for two reasons. One, they were able to accomplish the feat on the road after last season's poor road play. After a while last season's road woes started to wear down this team as it struggled to a 2-6 record away from the home. This was a big win for the Seahawks' psyche and one they should use as a building block.

Secondly, it's very impressive they were able to stop McAllister in the first week of the season when he doesn't have any of the bumps, bruises and normal hurts that start to limit a back later in the season. They were able to stop a fresh running back who also happens to be one of the best in the game.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders. He's a regular contributor to Insider.

"Winning on the road, you must do that to win the championship," Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said. "We understand that. But the curse and all the ghosts, I don't believe in any of that stuff. Usually if your team is a little bit better, you win on the road."

Playing behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, Alexander rushed for 135 yards on 28 carries. He ran for two touchdowns and caught another.

Alexander had his knee wrapped after the game, said it was sore, but doctors told him it was all right.

"Nothing hurt worse than when the doctors were tugging at it and all," Alexander said. "But I'm assuming I'm going to be all right."

Holmgren also thought the injury was minor.

Matt Hasselbeck completed 19 of 29 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown. Darrell Jackson had seven receptions for 98 yards.

Seattle outgained New Orleans 415 yards to 281 and outrushed the Saints 194-74. The Saints converted only three of 14 third-downs.

It was the second straight year the Seahawks defeated the Saints to open the season.

The New Orleans game plan had been simple: Keep Alexander from having a big game and don't turn over the ball. The Saints weren't able to do either, losing the ball three times. They also had eight penalties for 68 yards to slow them.

"This game boiled down to our good players making mistakes," Saints coach Jim Haslett said. "We had two fumbles going in for scores and a couple of penalties that put us in bad position."

After being shut out for a quarter, the Seahawks scored on the first play of the second period. Hasselbeck hit Alexander, who was alone of the left side and scampered 14 yards for the score.

Later in the quarter, Alexander did it again. Warding off Saints tacklers with his right arm, he rushed 6 yards to make it 14-0.

"I said a lot of prayers today," Alexander said. "I was praying my line was going to play great and they did. And that Matt would get me into good positions for catching some passes and he did."

Aaron Brooks had little preseason work because of a leg injury, but he wasn't the reason the Saints offense was ragged. Receivers dropped passes and the running game sputtered -- Deuce McAllister had only 26 yards on 10 carries in the first half, 57 yards on 16 carries for the game. New Orleans burned its third timeout with 5:10 left in the first half when it could not get lined up properly for the play called.

"No gap, no hole to run through," McAllister said. "We didn't play well. Our rhythm was in spurts."

After nine games with more than 100 yards rushing last season, McAllister has now had five straight without 100 yards.

Saints receivers ran the wrong patterns or couldn't get open. Brooks got a flag for intentional grounding on a broken play.

Brooks was 18-of-37 for 223 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted once, his first in 254 pass attempts. He was also pressured the entire game, scrambled for just 16 yards and was sacked twice.

Joe Horn caught six passes for 110 yards.

The Saints finally scored on a 6-yard pass to Ernie Conwell to make it 14-7 at the half. Brooks fueled the drive with a 14-yard run after finding no receivers open.

Grant Wistrom tipped a pass from Brooks into Michael Boulware's hands to set up a third-quarter Seattle touchdown. Two plays later, Alexander did his thing again, running 9 yards to make it 21-7.

"We heard before the game they were going to wear us out," Wistrom said. "When you hear that, we kind of take it personal, so we went out and played solid defense all day."

Game notes

Seattle is now (9-20) in season openers. New Orleans is (11-27) in season openers, the NFL's fourth-worst record. ... It was Seattle's fourth straight victory in the series. Holmgren is 5-0 lifetime against the Saints. ... It was the first regular-season home opener for the Saints since a 14-10 loss to Detroit in 2000 ... Saints DT Bryan Young had a hip flexor.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Scoring Summary

seaTD3:13Shaun Alexander, 9 yd run
Drive info: 2 plays, 26 yds, 0:13
Drive info: 2 plays, 26 yds, 0:13
seaTD6:45Shaun Alexander, 6 yd run
Drive info: 5 plays, 48 yds, 2:11
Drive info: 5 plays, 48 yds, 2:11
Drive info: 8 plays, 47 yds, 3:31
Drive info: 8 plays, 47 yds, 3:31
Drive info: 8 plays, 76 yds, 14:10
Drive info: 8 plays, 76 yds, 14:10