Seattle's rout likely locks up top seed in NFC playoffs

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL


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SEATTLE -- The rest of the NFC better get ready to visit the Pacific Northwest in January. After a rout Monday night, 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 against the New Orleans Saints at CenturyLink Field.

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 touchdown 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 previous 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 by a second-year quarterback.

Drew Brees and the Saints were stymied the entire game as he lost for the first time on Monday night after nine consecutive wins, and continued the belief New Orleans can't win outdoors late in the season.


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