The 2010 season for the New Orleans Saints ended in the northwest as they fell to the Seattle Seahawks 41-36 in the NFC Wild Card playoff game.
New Orleans jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, but Seattle rallied with a touchdown before the end of the first period and then after trailing 17-7 in the second quarter managed to rail off 17 straight points to take a lead at halftime that they would not relinquish.
Saints QB Drew Brees set an NFL postseason record for completions in the contest as he was 39-of-60 for 404 yards with two touchdowns. It was the only the fourth time an NFL passer attempted 60 yards in a postseason contest and only the 15th 400-yard passing game.
Saints RB Julius Jones had a valiant effort in his return to Seattle where he played from 2008 until being released by the club following the start of the 2010 season as he rushed 15 times for 59 yards with two touchdowns and had six receptions for 61 yards.
WR Devery Henderson led the Saints in receiving with seven catches for 77 yards and a six-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
New Orleans started at the 40-yard line after Seattle K Olindo Mare's kickoff went out of bounds. QB Drew Brees immediately got to work with a five-yard completion to TE Jeremy Shockey. He then threw a screen to RB Reggie Bush for a six-yard gain. With a fresh set of downs, Brees handed off to Bush for a three-yard gain. On second down, Brees went downfield to WR Marques Colston who gained 30 yards and moved New Orleans to the Seattle 16. A first down shot to Colston in the end zone was a long. On second down, Brees dumped off a throw to former Seahawk RB Julius Jones and he gained eight yards. On third and two, a pass for Bush was dropped by the runner bringing the field goal unit in where K Garrett Hartley booted a 26-yard field goal attempt to give the Saints the early lead.
The Seahawks started on their 37. On a third and one play, a pass by Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck was tipped by LB Jonathan Vilma and picked off by CB Jabari Greer and returned ten yards to the Seattle 35-yard line.
The Saints took possession and following a defensive offside penalty by Seattle, started at the 30, where there was a two-yard rush by Jones and a four-yard run by Bush for a first down. Jones would then gain seven more yards on two plays and then Brees completed a pass to Bush for a ten-yard gain. A seven-yard rush by Jones moved New Orleans to the Seattle five. Four plays later, following a defensive pass interference penalty on Seattle, Brees completed a one-yard scoring throw to FB Heath Evans.
With Seattle starting at their 43, RB Marshawn Lynch gained six yards on a rush. Hasselbeck then completed a pair of ten-yard throws to WR Mike Williams and WR Ben Obamanu for first downs. Obamanu was shook up following his reception. Lynch then carried for a gain of ten yards before he was stopped by S Darren Sharper and LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar at the New Orleans 21. Hasselbeck then passed to WR Brandon Stokley who was forced out of bounds by CB Tracy Porter after a five-yard gain. On second and five, S Roman Harper was penalized for defensive holding, giving the Seahawks five yards and a first down. On the next play from the 11, Hasselbeck completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to TE John Carlson in the end zone.
The Saints would take over at their 17 and advanced to the 22, following an illegal contact penalty on Seattle. Brees then completed a throw to Colston who gained 11 yards before being forced out of bounds by Seattle S Earl Thomas. Bush then carried for a four-yard gain. On second down, a pass was completed to Colston for a 12-yard gain before he was stopped by Seattle LB Aaron Curry. One yard short of midfield, Brees handed off to Jones, who gained 15 yards to move in Seahawks territory. Brees then completed a throw to WR Robert Meachem for a 11-yard gain and another first down. T Zach Strief, in as an eligible tight end, was called for a false start on the next play. Facing a first and 15, Brees missed a potential connection with Shockey in the final play of the first quarter. On the first play of the second period though, they made up for it as a pass for a 19-yard gain to Shockey was completed, putting the Saints at the Seattle 11. On first down, Bush moved inside the ten with a three-yard gain. Jones then added a three-yard gain. On third and four, New Orleans called a timeout. New Orleans, took advantage, got the play right and Jones had a five-yard touchdown run against his former team to boost New Orleans' lead.
Seattle started at their 22 and Hasselbeck completed a 12-yard pass to Obamanu. Forsett then rushed for six yards and Seattle got into New Orleans territory on a defensive holding penalty against Harper. Lynch then carried and gained three yards before being stopped by Vilma. Following a timeout, Hasselbeck completed a 39-yard pass to Seahawks TE Cameron Morrah and then found a wide open Carlson for a seven-yard touchdown.
WR Devery Henderson returned a kickoff for 12 yards to the New Orleans 19-yard line. A first down pass attempt for Jones was broken up by Seahawks LB David Hawthorne. On second and ten, G Carl Nicks was called for a false start penalty. Jones carried, but was stopped by Thomas after a three-yard gain. A pass intended for Colston went incomplete forcing the punt unit out for the first time. P Thomas Morstead had a 45-yard punt to the Seattle 38-yard line.
Hasselbeck handed off to Forsett who gained six yards before being stopped by Vilma and DE Will Smith. A second down pass attempt for Forsett was incomplete and then Hasselbeck was forced to throw a third down pass out of bounds. WR Lance Moore called a fair catch on the punt at the New Orleans 19.
On first down, Brees handed off to Jones, who fumbled the ball in a pile and it was recovered by Hawthorne. Lynch carried on third down and gained six yards before being run out of bounds. Lynch carried on second down and gained two before being stopped by DE Jeff Charleston and CB Tracy Porter. On third down, Lynch ran up the middle and was stopped for no gain by Harper, sending the Seattle field goal unit out. Mare drilled the 29-yard field goal attempt to tie the score.
With New Orleans starting at the 23, Brees completed a four-yard throw up the middle to WR Devery Henderson. Brees then found TE David Thomas for a one-yard gain. On third down, Brees was sacked for a seven-yard loss by Seattle DE Raheem Brock, forcing Morstead out to boot a 55-yard punt that was called for a fair catch at the Seattle 24 by Seahawks RB Leon Washington. On first down, CB Patrick Robinson deflected a pass intended for Obamanu. On second down, Hassellbeck threw an outlet pass to Carlson, who was stopped by Porter for a one-yard loss. On third down in a wide open formation a 15-yard pass was completed to Seattle WR Ruvell Martin for the first down. Hasselbeck then handed off to Lynch, who gained three yards before being stopped by DT Sedrick Ellis and Harper. Following a New Orleans timeout, Hasselbeck threw to William for a six-yard gain before being tackled by Vilma and Dunbar. A Seattle timeout followed. Forsett converted a third and one, for the first down before the two minute warning, but following the warning, dropped a screen throw. After a seven-yard run by Forsett, Hasselbeck completed a 45-yard touchdown pass to Stokley.
With New Orleans starting at the 20, Brees immediately got to work on his two-minute offense, completing a 40-yard throw to Henderson. , on a play where the wideout got shaken up. At the Seahawks 40, Brees converted another first down to Moore, who smartly went out of bounds on his own following an 11-yard gain. Following an incomplete pass, a throw intended for Colston's back shoulder was tipped by Seahawks S Jordan Babineaux. On third down, Brees converted the first down on a 15-yard throw to Moore. Brees immediately spiked the ball to stop the clock and on second down, completed a pass to Bush inside the ten-yard line for a five-yard gain. On third and five at the nine, Brees scrambled for the first down and then spiked to give the Saints nine seconds on the clock. A pass attempt to Thomas in the end zone was defensed by Seahawks S Will Herring, sending the field goal unit out where Hartley kicked a 22-yard field goal to put New Orleans within four at halftime.
Seattle would start the second with field position at their 21-yard line. Lynch carried on first down and gained four yards before being stopped by Smith and Ellis. On second down, Hasselbeck completed a pass for a first down to Williams before he was dropped by Vilma following an 11-yard gain. Obamanu then had a screen pass deflected by DE Alex Brown. On second and ten, Hasselbeck pump faked and then completed an 18-yard pass to Obamanu. With a fresh set of downs, a throw was completed to Forsett up the middle before he was stopped by Dunbar and LB Scott Shanle. After Washington was stopped for a one-yard loss by Brown, Seattle called a timeout. On third and two, Hasselbeck completed a 38-yard touchdown pass to Williams.
Starting at the 18, Bush was stopped by Brock and Hawthorne for a two-yard loss. The Saints converted a first down on a 13-yard throw to Colston. Jones then carried and gained four yards. New Orleans suffered an intentional grounding penalty with loss of down and then his third down throw to Moore went out of his hands. Morstead then had a 43-yard punt that was returned to near midfield by Washington for 12 yards before he was dropped by LB Anthony Waters.
Lynch gained nine yards on a first down play. Lynch then converted the first down on a two-yard carry. A screen play for a five-yard gain by WR Golden Tate followed for Seattle. Hasselbeck then threw to Obamanu, who was tackled by Porter for a loss of three yards. On third and eight, a pass for an 11-yard gain and first down was completed by Hasselbeck to Stokley before he was tackled by Harper. The Saints were eventually able to stop the Seahawks before the red zone and Mare kicked a field goal to put the Seahawks up by 14.
Following a five-yard offsides penalty on Seattle on the kickoff, Meachem took the re-kick and returned it to the Seattle 28, where New Orleans would look to rally. On first down, Brees completed a screen to Bush where he gained two yards and was pushed out of bounds following a two-yard gain by Seahawks CB Marcus Trufant. A second down pass to Devery Henderson resulted in a five-yard gain. On third and three, Brees completed a pass to Jones that was one-yard short of the chains. Facing a 14-point deficit with under 20 minutes left, Saints head coach Sean Payton decided to go for it. Jones carried and was stopped for no gain by Seahawks LB Lofa Tatupu.
Hasselbeck handed off to Lynch on first down and he gained two yards before being tackled by DT Remi Ayodele. A second down throw was dropped by Williams. On third down a long pass was incomplete, and it appeared that Mare would attempt a 53-yard field goal, but a delay of game penalty on Seattle forced Ryan and the punt unit out. With Moore deep, he called a fair catch at the 12-yard line.
On first down, a pass up the middle to Jones was dropped by the running back. A second down pass intended for Moore was broken up by Tatupu up the middle. On third down, a throw was completed to Bush that gained 14 yards and the first down. Following a five-yard throw to Moore, a pass to Meachem gained nine yards and the first down. Brees then threw a screen pass to Jones who gained five yards before being stopped by Curry. Brees then moved the Saints into Seattle territory with a 18-yard completion to Moore on the final play of the third quarter. With play starting in the fourth quarter at the Seattle 36, Brees handed off to Jones who gained five yards. On second and five, a screen to Jones gained two yards, but Seahawks DE Chris Clemons was called for a personal foul penalty advancing New Orleans to the 14. Brees completed a throw to Henderson for a gain of four to move to the ten. On second down, Jones rambled down to the four-yard line for the first down and then reached the end zone for his second touchdown of the afternoon.
With the Seahawks starting at the 24, a first down screen attempt by Hasselbeck was dropped by Lynch. Greer then broke up a second down pass attempt. On third down, Hasselbeck overthrew Williams forcing the punt unit out on a series where only 16 seconds went off the clock in a key stop for the New Orleans defense. Moore returned the 40-yard punt and went out of bounds at the Saints 44.
On first down, Brees barely got off a screen attempt for Jones that hit the ground. On second and ten, Jones took a screen and barreled for a 33-yard gain as he juked and eluded several defenders. On first down at the 23, New Orleans called a timeout, Brees then completed a nine-yard throw to Meachem where he was pushed out of bounds by Seattle CB Kelly Jennings. Jones then gained three yards for the first down to the 11-yard line. With a fresh set of downs, Brees faked a handoff to Jones and completed a pass to Thomas for a five-yard gain, where he was tackled by Curry before reaching out of bounds. Jones then pushed the pile to the four-yard line on a two-yard gain.. On third and three, Brees attempted a screen to Henderson, but the wideout was stopped for no gain by Brock, forcing Hartley and the field goal unit out. Hartley then kicked a 21-yard field goal.
Starting at the 29, Lynch was stopped by Ellis for only a gain of two yards. A second down pass attempt was incomplete. On third and eight, the Saints called a timeout. A key third down pass was caught by Stokley for a 12-yard gain and the first down. Lynch then took a handoff and had no gain where he was stopped by Brown. On second and 11, Hasselbeck was sacked for a loss of six yards by LB Scott Shanle. Facing third and 17, a screen to Forsett was snuffed out by Greer for only a three yard gain, forcing the punt unit out. Following a pair of penalties on the punt against New Orleans, a holding call, which Seattle accepted, the Saints would have to start at their seven.
Brees found Jones on a pass in the middle of the field, but he was shaken up on the play. Following a false start penalty and an incomplete pass, Brees found Evans for a seven-yard gain on second down. Facing third and seven, New Orleans called a timeout. A third down Brees pass was broken up by Seattle S Kam Chancellor. Morstead then booted a 48-yard punt that was called for a fair catch by Washington. However, a 67-yard touchdown run by Lynch would put the Seahawks back up by 11.
Starting at the 30, Brees completed a 17-yard pass to Henderson on second down. Facing a third and ten, a pair of passes were completed to Evans for a total of 15 yards for a first down. Brees then completed a throw right before the two-minute warning to Thomas for a 16-yard gain moving the Saints to the Seattle 22. The pass out of the warning went incomplete. A second down pass was completed to Thomas for a 16-yard gain again. Brees then completed a six-yard touchdown to Henderson with the Saints going for two. The rushing attempt by RB DeShawn Wynn failed with the Saints trailing by five with 1:30 left.
Hartley's onside kick attempt was caught by Carlson though. Lynch then gained eight yards on a rushing attempt. Following a New Orleans timeout, on second down, Lynch was then stopped by Vilma for a two-yard loss on second down and there was only time left for a kneeldown.