The Seattle Seahawks, 7-9 champions of the NFC West, have put together an impressive first half, taking a 24-20 lead over the New Orleans Saints in a wild offensive opening to the NFL Playoff schedule. The Seahawks have matched every Saints drive thanks to a calmly efficient first half from Matt Hasselbeck. The Saints, with Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory out for the postseason, have struggled to get their dangerous running game going, with Julius Jones getting the majority of carries.
Hasselbeck was 13-for-18 with 168 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, outplaying Drew Brees—16-for-27 with 189 yards—after missing last week’s playoff-clinching win against the St. Louis Rams. He’s coming off his worst season as Seahawks starter, but it hasn’t shown in this home game against the Saints.
Strong performers for the Saints include Marques Colston, who has three receptions for 53 yards, and Devery Henderson, who has two for 44. Jones, the Saints’ unlikely starter at halfback, has eight carries for 35 yards and a touchdown.