NEW ORLEANS (Aug. 12, 2005) -- 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 against the New Orleans Saints 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."
|Seneca Wallace weaves his way through the New Orleans defense for a 24-yard touchdown.|
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
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."
Seattle reserve fullback Leonard Weaver
broke free for a 40-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. And
- Saints injuries included linebacker Cie Grant (left patella tendon), Devery Henderson (sprained right shoulder) and Fred Booker (right hamstring). The severity of Grant's injury was not immediately known and he was scheduled for an MRI, a team spokesman said.
- For Seattle, reserve cornerback Michael Harden was believed to have had a concussion after a heavy hit, while Andre Dyson left the game in the first quarter with a sore shoulder after an attempted tackle on Saints fullback Mike Karney.
- Seattle's Shaun Alexander carried the ball only three times for 18 yards.
Saints reserve quarterback Kliff Kingsbury
had a 57-yard completion to Michael Lewis.
Adrian McPherson, Kingsbury's competition for the No. 3 spot, passed for 28 yards and rushed for 25 in his lone drive, which stalled on a fourth down incompletion deep in Seahawks territory.
The Associated Press News Service
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