NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Drew Brees passed for 265 yards and a touchdown, scored on a quarterback keeper, and the New Orleans Saints overcame several big plays by Seattle to defeat the Seahawks 25-20 on Sunday.
The victory wasn’t assured until the New Orleans’ much-maligned defense, which entered the game ranked 29th in the NFL, came up with a stop on Seattle’s final drive, which started on the Seattle 32 with 1:50 left. Russell Wilson took the Seahawks (4-2-1) to the New Orleans 10, where he had one final play. He lofted a pass toward the corner of the end zone, where Jermaine Kearse caught the ball, but landed out of bounds.
Wilson finished with 253 yards passing and was intercepted once by linebacker Nathan Stupar – a play that set up the Saints’ first TD on Brees’ 1-yard dive over a pile of players. Brees’ lone touchdown pass went to Brandin Cooks on a 2-yard slant , which gave the Saints the lead for good early in the fourth quarter.
Wil Lutz kicked field goals of 22, 53, 21 and 41 yards for the Saints (3-4), the latter coming with under two minutes left to put Seattle down by more than a field goal.
MISLEADING STATS: The Saints controlled much of the first half and held advantages in numerous statistical categories – such as yards (179-161), first downs (16-6) and time of possession (21:22-8:38) – but two big plays helped Seattle take a 14-13 lead into halftime.
First came Mark Ingram’s fumble . Seattle defensive end Cliff Avril punched the ball out from behind and it popped straight into the arms of safety Earl Thomas, who sprinted into the open field for a his 34-yard touchdown.
A trick play set up Seattle’s second score. Wilson threw a quick backward screen to his left to receiver Tanner McEvoy, who then threw deep back across the field for a 43-yard completion to running back C.J. Prosise to the Saints 2. That set up Christine Michael’s’ short TD run, making it 14-3.
New Orleans also might have cost itself a touchdown on its first scoring drive. Brandon Coleman gave himself up after a third-down catch, going to the ground a yard short of what would have been first-and-goal. The Saints then opted for a field goal.
Later, Lutz’s 53-yard field goal made it 14-6, and New Orleans finally reached the end zone on Brees’ keeper shortly before halftime.
Seattle’s defense also forced a field goal in the third quarter after the Saints had a first-and-goal on the 1.
BENCHED: Ingram was benched after his fumble on this third carry of the game. It was his second fumble in as many weeks while trying to fight through a pile of players for extra yards. A week earlier, Ingram’s fumble inside the Kansas City 10 stalled a likely scoring drive in a six-point loss. Tim Hightower replaced him and wound up with 102 yards rushing, the first 100-yard rusher of the season for New Orleans.
GRAHAM’S RETURN: Jimmy Graham was silent about his return to the place where his NFL career started, avoiding media all week. He had a relatively quiet game as well, finishing with three catches for 34 yards.
BREES AT HOME: Brees now has a TD pass in 58 consecutive home games, extending his NFL-record streak.
UP NEXT: Seattle hosts Buffalo in the Week 9 Monday night game, while the Saints travel to meet San Francisco next Sunday.