SEATTLE — One of the initial signs that everything would be going in the right direction for the Seahawks on Monday night came when Michael Bennett suddenly had the ball in his lap.
The Seahawks were up 3-0 and had just kicked the ball back to the Saints.
New Orleans had a bumpy start, going three-and-out. It was about to get worse.
Defensive end Cliff Avril looped behind Drew Brees on third-and-5 from the Saints’ 25-yard line and hit him from behind, popping the ball forward.
It bounced right to Bennett, who, at 6-foot-4, 274 pounds is not built for speed, secured it and headed right.
He covered the 22 yards to the end zone in plenty of time, however. Bennett picked up a nice block from Jeremy Lane for his first NFL touchdown.
Bennett was a running back in high school the last time he scored. He thought a touchdown was an option earlier this year against the Tennessee Titans, but he was caught.
“If I ever get another tip, I’m going to run it back,” Bennett said.
Lane’s blocks is what allowed Bennett to get into the end zone and the subsequent dance. Bennett said he added “a little flair” to his standard dance.
“I was trying to do one of those Kim Kardashian things,” Bennett said.
The score put the Seahawks up 10-0, and served as a precursor for the bludgeoning to come. Just 8:33 into the game, Seattle had 10 points and the Saints had five yards.
The rout was on.
MAXWELL SOLID AS STARTING CORNER
Questions during the week of how the Seahawks would handle being without cornerback Brandon Browner (groin injury) and Walter Thurmond (four-game suspension for violation of the substance-abuse policy).
Byron Maxwell started at right cornerback opposite Richard Sherman. He played well throughout the night, once jumping underneath a deep shot to Saints tight end Jimmy Graham and defending another deep throw in the endzone. Maxwell almost intercepted the throw to Graham and knocked down the pass in the end zone. He felt he should have intercepted the latter.
“Max’s been doing it,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said. “We know that he can play the game.”
Maxwell finished with two tackles and two passes defensed.
“Technique and eyes, and playing big,” Maxwell said. “That’s what it came down to.”
Jeremy Lane was the backup at left corner and DeShawn Shead was the backup right corner.
Shead was on the 53-man roster last year for four games during Brandon Browner’s PED suspension, but was not active. He had didn’t record a tackle in his NFL debut Monday night on defense and special teams.
THE NOISE KEEPS COMING
A University of Washington earth sciences professor says noise from CenturyLink Field registered on a nearby seismometer with roughly the same energy as a magnitude 1 or 2 earthquake during Seattle's win Monday night.
John Vidale, director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, says it's hard to compare the fans' half minute of stomping, jumping and shouting during a first quarter fumble return for a touchdown to the quick "pop" of a small earthquake. Still he says, "the energy is very roughly the same."
The UW seismometer in question is located near CenturyLink Field.
Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin was inactive Monday night after being listed as “questionable” Saturday.
Harvin reportedly had a Cortisone injection over the weekend to help ease the pain in his surgically repaired hip.
Harvin caught one pass and returned one kickoff during his Seahawks debut Nov. 17 against the Minnesota Vikings. He did not practice all week, despite having a full bye week prior to rest, because of hip soreness.
A couple of guys with Northwest connections are playing down yonder in New Orleans these days: fullback Jed Collins, formerly of Washington State, and linebacker David Hawthorne, who played for the Seahawks from 2008-2011.
On Monday, Collins had one run for 12 yards and one reception for three yards.
Hawthorne had five tackles and one assist, and came away impressed with his former team.
“We knew they were a good team, and what they did was come out and play good,” he said. “We needed to match that intensity, and we didn’t do that today. It was obvious they were the better team tonight.”
Collins also credited the Seahawks. But he took considerably more joy in discussing the Cougars, who finished the regular season 6-6 and are bowl eligible in their second season under coach Mike Leach.
“I’ve been loving that,” he said. “I wish we could have got the Apple Cup, but a bowl game is a huge step forward for the Leach regime and the program.”
DAVIS GETS DINGED
Third-string tight end Kellen Davis left the game in the second half to be evaluated for a possible concussion. He did not return.
Carroll said Davis had a neck sprain.
Outside of Davis, the Seahawks did not have any injured players leave the field for the lockerroom.
Linebacker Bruce Irvin and wide receiver Golden Tate were temporarily banged up, but returned.
Marshawn Lynch fumbled on the opening drive at the New Orleans 8-yard line, but center Max Unger recovered. … Seattle native Fred Couples raised the 12th Man flag. … In the second quarter, the crowd at CenturyLink Field broke record for recorded noise at an outdoor sports stadium. It’s the second time this season the record has been set in Seattle.