Saints win first of season behind big games from Bush, Brees

SEATTLE -- Reggie Bush dodged and darted and left the
defense flailing. Drew Brees connected with his own teammates
instead of the other team's defenders.

The New Orleans Saints looked like the good Saints again, not
the 'Aints of old, finally breaking into the win column Sunday
night with a 28-17 victory over the sloppy Seattle Seahawks.

"This was us,'' Brees said. "Rhythm. Tempo. We did a great

Bush gained 141 yards, Brees threw for 246 and receiver David Patten had eight catches for 113 yards on a breakout day for New
Orleans (1-4), which hadn't scored more than 14 points in four
dispiriting losses that brought back chilling memories of all those
failures of the past.

In this one, the Saints had three touchdowns by the middle of
the second quarter, led 28-10 at halftime and were coasting by the
fourth quarter.

For at least one evening, they can focus on something other than
getting off the schneid. One possible topic: Can they join the 1992
Chargers as the second team to make the playoffs after starting

"It feels good to come in after the game and see a smile on
everyone's faces,'' Patten said. "Hopefully we can hang onto this
and keep this going.''

And the Seahawks?

The three-time defending NFC West champions must go directly
back to the drawing board after a second straight poor effort --
this coming a week after a 21-0 loss at Pittsburgh.

Shaun Alexander ran for 35 yards on 14 carries, hardly making
good on coach Mike Holmgren's vow last week to fix the troubled
Seattle running game.

Matt Hasselbeck threw for 362 yards, his most
since December 2004, though most came with Seattle (3-3) trying to
overcome a three-touchdown deficit.

"We've got a lot we can correct, and that's what we've got to
do,'' Hasselbeck said.

The ugliness, and the booing at Qwest Field, started early when
newly acquired long snapper Boone Stutz skidded one back to punter
Ryan Plackemeier, who couldn't field it. Pierre Thomas scooped up
the loose ball and scored for a 7-0 lead.

"Not a great way to start off the game,'' Stutz said. "I've
never had one get away from me like that.''

Bush took over for the rest of the first half. Coach Sean Payton
told Seattle media he hoped to limit his star running back to 25
touches if he could, but for a while, it looked like Bush might
reach that mark by halftime.

He finished with 97 yards rushing and 44 receiving on exactly 25
touches, almost all the damage done in the first two quarters. The
Saints spent the second half moving the ball and taking time off
the clock.

"He showed his speed and quickness,'' Holmgren said of Bush.
"He showed he's a fine back. He got around us. He cut back. It's
too hard to come back, as a rule, when you dig a hole like that for

Trailing by 11, Seattle twice moved into New Orleans territory
in the fourth quarter. Those drives ended with an interception by
Josh Bullocks and with a Hasselbeck incompletion on fourth-and-9.

Brees, who came into the game with one touchdown against a
league-high nine interceptions, threw for two scores without a pick
this time. His prime target was Patten, a free-agent pickup this
season who came in with a total of five catches.

New Orleans went 7-for-14 on third-down conversions, though none
of those successes said more than one that led to its second

On third-and-10 in the first quarter, Brees hit Patten for
first-down yardage, but a big hit popped the ball loose. It
squirted 15 yards up the field and was surrounded by Seattle

However, Saints tight end Eric Johnson hustled
downfield, shouldered his body into the pile and came up with the
loose ball, turning a possible turnover into a first down in
Seahawks territory.

"I just busted my butt to get down there,'' Johnson explained.

Bush ran for 19 and 14 yards to move New Orleans toward the goal
line, then Brees hit Johnson for a 3-yard touchdown and a 14-0

The Saints defense collected five sacks, including two from
blitzing safety Roman Harper. Despite his big numbers, Hasselbeck
was harassed all day, throwing off his back foot, hardly looking
like the Super Bowl quarterback he was only two seasons ago.

played without either of his opening-day receivers, Deion Branch
and D.J. Hackett, or fullback Mack Strong, who retired last week
due to a spinal cord injury.

"Our record is what it is,'' Holmgren said. "There are logical
reasons, honest reasons why we've lost games. There's only one
thing to do: Roll up your sleeves and work hard.''

Among the few bright spots for the Seahawks, who were booed
lustily all night long by the home crowd, are that they are still
tied for the lead in the bad NFC West and have another home game
against a winless team, St. Louis, coming up next week.

The game was delayed for about 10 minutes early in the first
quarter when the NBC overhead camera crashed to the turf during a
timeout. It nearly clocked Hasselbeck and receiver Bobby Engram as
they were walking toward the sideline.

"That's total access right there,'' Hasselbeck joked.

It was hardly the worst thing the Seahawks endured on this

Game notes
Alexander has 60 yards over his last two games, his
lowest two-game output since Nov. 10 and 17, 2002, when he gained
60 yards against Arizona and Denver. ... Struggling Saints kicker
Olindo Mare didn't have to attempt a field goal. He remains 3-for-7
this year. ... The Seahawks don't play a team that currently has a
winning record for another nine weeks.


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