8:00 PM ET, August 12, 2005
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Mike Holmgren said the preseason would be important for Seneca Wallace, and Wallace rose to the challenge.Wallace, tapped as Matt Hasselbeck's backup after Trent Dilfer was traded to Cleveland, scored on a slashing 24-yard scramble and passed for another touchdown in the Seahawks' 34-15 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Friday night in the preseason opener for both teams.The third-year reserve out of Iowa State played from early in the second quarter through the third, completing 12 of 20 passes for 137 yards. His touchdown pass was a perfect toss that dropped softly over the shoulder of former Saints receiver Jerome Pathon for a 28-yard score."He's a really fine passer. That gets overlooked because he is quick and he can run," Holmgren said. "His touchdown run was really something, but he threw some very, very good passes. ... We have to get him ready to play in (regular season) games if it's necessary."Half of Wallace's incompletions were dropped balls, including one bullet over the middle that appeared to be a certain touchdown until it slipped through D.J. Hackett's hands in the end zone. That drive ended with Josh Brown's 30-yard field goal."I felt really comfortable, and also the line gave me great protection and the running backs ran the ball well. All that just helped me out," Wallace said. "It was all up to Mike to keep me in there and keep seeing things."The game was largely an exercise in humility for the Saints, who finished 2004 on a four-game winning streak, then talked throughout the offseason about looking even better and being eager to get back on the field. They turned the ball over three times in the first half, all leading to Seattle touchdowns. The Seahawks had a 24-3 lead by halftime, when a number of fans booed the Saints as they walked off the Louisiana Superdome turf."It's not exactly the way we wanted to get going," Saints coach Jim Haslett said. "The thing that hurt us the most was the three turnovers. ... We have a long way to go but I think there are a lot of positives we can take out of it."New Orleans' new-look, run-oriented offense still needs work.Deuce McAllister fumbled three plays in when he was stripped behind the line of scrimmage by Niko Koutouvides. Seattle linebacker Michael Boulware recovered the ball on the Saints 18, setting up Hasselbeck's 13-yard scoring pass to Bobby Engram. Hasselbeck went to the bench for good early in the second quarter, having completed 6 of 10 passes for 40 yards.New Orleans only score with the starters came on the second drive. It was comprised of three strong runs by McAllister and a couple of short passes from Aaron Brooks. John Carney capped it with a 50-yard field goal."I had some holes out there, we've just got to try to sustain it for four quarters," McAllister said.The final numbers for the Saints' marquee players were unspectacular. McAllister finished with nine carries for 38 yards, his longest run going for 12 yards. Brooks was 3-for-7 for 15 yards. Joe Horn had no catches and one drop. Donte' Stallworth's only reception, a 25-yarder along the sidelines, was wiped out when top draft pick Jammal Brown was flagged for being lined up too far behind the line of scrimmage.New Orleans' other turnovers were backup quarterback Todd Bouman's fumble on the Saints' 35 and an interception an underthrown bomb into double coverage."Turnovers happen. ... This locker room has to be strong and know we can win football games," Horn said. "We'll respond, because we have those type of guys in the locker room."The Saints didn't get into the end zone until late in the third quarter when Todd Bouman found Talman Gardner for an 11-yard touchdown that made it 27-10.Seattle reserve fullback Leonard Weaver broke free for a 40-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. And Marquis Weeks ended up being Seattle's leading rusher with 59 yards on eight carries, all in the second half.
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