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December 2, 2013

Seahawks make statement with romp over Saints

SEATTLE (AP) — The rest of the NFC better get ready to visit the Pacific Northwest in January. After last night’s rout, the road through the NFC playoffs is almost certain to go through Seattle.

Russell Wilson threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns, and the Seattle Seahawks became the first team to clinch a spot in the NFC playoffs with a 34-7 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

More important than just clinching a spot in the postseason, the Seahawks (11-1) moved two games ahead on the rest of the NFC in the race for home-field advantage and hold the tiebreakers over New Orleans (9-3) and Carolina (9-3), the two closest pursuers.

Wilson was outstanding, picking apart the Saints’ defense. He threw touchdown passes of 2 yards to Zach Miller and 4 yards to Doug Baldwin in the first half as Seattle built a 27-7 lead. Wilson added a pinball 8-yard TD pass to Derrick Coleman in the third quarter.

Michael Bennett had a 22-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the first quarter to give Seattle a 10-0 lead and the Saints never threatened. It was a dominating performance by the Seahawks, making up for a lackluster effort the last time they were given a national television spotlight and were taken to the final yard and final play by St. Louis.

Not this time. The most anticipated game in the NFC this season was a laugher.

Wilson completed 22 of 30 passes and finished with a quarterback rating of 139.6. He has 22 regular-season wins in his first two seasons, tied for the most ever by a second-year QB.

Drew Brees and the Saints were stymied the entire night as he lost for the first time on Monday night after nine straight wins, and continued the belief that New Orleans can’t win outdoors late in the season. New Orleans didn’t crack 100 yards of total offense until midway through the third quarter. Jimmy Graham was nearly invisible outside of his franchise-record 12th TD catch of the season in the second quarter that pulled the Saints to 17-7.

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