The Saints got help on the opening kickoff when Olindo Mare kicked the ball out of bounds at the 10, giving the Saints the ball at the 40. The Saints marched down the field, including a 30-yard pass from Drew Brees to Marques Colston. But the drive stalled at the 9-yard line and they settled for a 26-yard Garrett Hartley field goal.
The Seahawks first possession ended quickly when Matt Hasselbeck s pass on 3rd and 1, intended for Ben Obomanu, was intercepted by Jabari Greer at the Seahawks 45-yard line. It appeared the Saints were going to be stopped again in the red zone, but a defensive pass interference penalty in the end zone by Walter Thurmond put the Saints at the 1-yard line.
On the next play, Saints quarterback Drew Brees hit former Seahawk fullback Heath Evans for a touchdown, putting the Saints up 10-0 with 6:25 left in the quarter.
The Seahawks marched quickly down the field on the next drive, including two strong runs by Marshawn Lynch, and Hasselbeck spreading the ball around. Following a defensive holding penalty, Hasselbeck hit tight end John Carlson for a 11-yard touchdown pass, pulling Seattle within 3.
TheSaints increased the lead again with a 10-play, 83-yard drive. While it was heavy on Brees passing, it ended with a 5-yard touchdown run by former Seahawk Julius Jones.
Obomanu would return from a shoulder injury and catch the first pass on the next Seahawks drive for 12 yards. Four plays later, Hasselbeck lobbed a ball to Cameron Morrah for 39-yards to the Saints 7-yard line. One play later, Hasselbeck hit a wide-open Carlson in the left side of the end zone for a touchdown.
After 3-and outs by both teams, Seahawks defensive end Raheem Brock caused Julius Jones to fumble, giving Seattle the ball at the New Orleans 18-yard line. The Seahawks could not muster a first down and settled for a Mare 29-yard field goal to tie the game at 17 with 7:07 left in the half.
The next Saints drive lasted just 5 yards and ended with a vicious sack on Brees by Raheem Brock. On the following drive, Hasselbeck hit Brandon Stokley in stride for a 45-yard touchdown to give Seattle a 7-point lead with 1:23 left in the half.
Brees was able to drive the Saints back to the Seahawks 3-yard line, but New Orleans settled for a field goal as the first half ended. Seattle leads 24-20.
The Seahawks scoring frenzy continued on the first drive of the second-half. The 7-play, 79-yard drive was capped by a Hasselbeck 38-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams to make it 31-20.
The Seahawks defense responded as well, turning up the heat on the Saints. Drew Brees was called for intentional grounding on the following drive, leading to another punt.
The Seattle offense moved down the field again methodically, with a good mix of run and pass. But on 3rd and 1, Hasselbeck threw an incomplete pass intended for Obomanu. Mare s 39-yard field goal made it 34-20.
On the next drive, down by two touchdowns, Saints head coach Sean Payton made a bold call to go for it on 4th and 1 at the Saints own 37-yard line. But, linebacker Lofa Tatupu stopped Julius Jones for no gain.
Some controversy on the next Seahawks drive. Hasselbeck threw a deep pass to Obomanu in the end zone that was knocked away by a Saints defender. It could have been argued pass interference. The Seahawks lined up for a 53-yard field goal, but a delay of game penalty pushed them out of range.
On the next drive, the Saints got help from the Seahawks thanks to a personal foul on defensive end Chris Clemmons, who took a shot at a Saints player out of bounds following a play. A couple plays later, Julius Jones ran the ball in from 4-yards outto make the score 34-27.
After another Seahawks 3-and-out, the Saints drove 53 yardsdown to the Seahawks' 4-yard line, but settled for a Hartley field goal to make it 34-30.with 9:13 to play.
On their next possession, Hasselbeck kept the Seahawks drive alive with a 12-yard pass to Stokley on 3rd and 8. But two plays later, Hasselbeck was sacked for six yards. Seattle would eventually punt.
The Saints were forced to start at their own 6-yard line after a holding call on the punt return. After Brees hit Jones for 11 yards, the Saints were called for a false start as the 12th Man got louder. On 3rd and 8, Brees threw incomplete, intended for Marques Colston. With only 1 timeout left, the Saints punted with 4:20 to play.
Two plays into the next drive, Marshawn Lynch took the ball up the middle, bouncing off and pushing off defenders. He almost ran out of bounds, but cutback inside for a 67-yard touchdown. Seahawks up 41-30. The 41 points are the most Seattle has scored this season.
Brees quickly moved the Saints back down the field on the next drive, which started at the Saints own 30. By the 2-minute warning, the Saints were at the Seahawks 22-yard line. With 1:30 left, Brees hit Devery Henderson for a 6-yard touchdown. A two-point conversion try was no good. Seattle led 41-36.
With one timeout left, the Saints were forced to try an onside kick, but the ball went straight into the hands of John Carlson. The Seahawks ran out the clock after that. Final score:Seahawks 41, Saints 36.
The Seahawksheadto Atlanta or Chicago next week, depending on the outcome of Sunday s Green Bay-Philadelphia matchup. The Seahawks beat the Bears 23-20 in the regular season and lost to the Falcons 34-18.