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Originally published November 21, 2010 at 8:48 PM | Page modified November 21, 2010 at 9:25 PM

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Penalty on Seahawks' Raheem Brock is boon for Saints | Notebook

Raheem Brock was trying to reach Drew Brees' arm. The official ruled that Brock hit the quarterback's head, though, and called a critical...

Seattle Times staff reporter

NEW ORLEANS — Raheem Brock was trying to reach Drew Brees' arm.

The official ruled that Brock hit the quarterback's head, though, and called a critical penalty that sustained New Orleans' final touchdown drive of the first half.

"They said I hit the quarterback in the head," Brock said after the game, "but I basically had my hands up, just trying to stop his arm from going forward."

The penalty came after Brees had thrown an incomplete pass on third-and-three from the New Orleans 32. Seattle had cut the Saints' lead to 21-13, and it appeared New Orleans would be forced to punt with less than 2 minutes remaining in the half.

Instead the roughing-the-passer penalty gave the Saints a first down. They scored three plays later on Brees' 22-yard touchdown pass to Marques Colston.

"That was a huge exchange," coach Pete Carroll said of the penalty, "because we were off the field, we had stopped them. We were close; the score was in hand at that time. We gave Drew another chance, and he went right down the field on us.

"I didn't see the hit. Our coaches that saw it and what I've heard, (they) said it was one of those calls that didn't have to get called."

Okung returns

Left tackle Russell Okung returned from the ankle injury that kept him out the past three games, and he started and finished a game for the second time this season. Okung, the sixth overall pick in this year's draft, has suffered injuries to both ankles this year.

Losing grip

Marshawn Lynch had lost four fumbles in his NFL career before Sunday's game. He lost two in the third quarter alone and didn't return to the game after the second one. Leon Washington replaced Lynch on the next series, and Justin Forsett finished out the game.

"I didn't want Marshawn to go back out there," Carroll said. "The game, I didn't think he could be the factor in it, and I didn't want to put him in the situation where the ball might get out again. I love him and he's a great football player for us, and those are mistakes that happen some times. He's got to find his way to not let it happen, and he knows that."

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Lynch rushed for 36 yards on seven carries.

'A freaking stud'

Recognize rookie running back Chris Ivory? Well, maybe not considering the way he ran Sunday, blasting tackles on his way to 99 yards.

Ivory played at Washington State until being dismissed from the team for violating team rules in August 2009. He then went to Tiffin University in Ohio, and signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent.

"He was a freaking stud out there," Carroll said. "Our guys were laying it down and doing everything they could to hit him and knock him to the ground. He kept making plays and getting out."

Dead zone

As far as problems go, Seattle's difficulty scoring touchdowns in the red zone can now be considered chronic. The Seahawks had the ball inside the Saints' 20-yard line three times and reached the end zone just once. Combine that with last week in Arizona, when the Seahawks converted just two of eight red-zone opportunities into touchdowns, and they have a clear problem.

"Kicking field goals compared to scoring touchdowns is a big difference," tackle Sean Locklear said. "It's happened the last couple games, so we've got to fix our end. Not just getting down there, but getting six and not just three."

Note

• Seattle's inactive players: FB Michael Robinson, G Mike Gibson, WR Golden Tate, WR Ruvell Martin, TE Anthony McCoy, DT Colin Cole and DE E.J. Wilson. J.P. Losman was the emergency quarterback.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com

Seahawks schedule
Date Opponent
Sept. 12 San Francisco Won 31-6
Sept. 19 at Denver Lost 31-14
Sept. 26 San Diego Won 27-20
Oct. 3 at St. Louis Lost 20-3
Oct. 17 at Chicago Won 23-20
Oct. 24 Arizona Won 22-10
Oct. 31 at Oakland Lost 33-3
Nov. 7 N.Y. Giants Lost 41-7
Nov. 14 at Arizona Won 36-18
Nov. 21 at N. Orleans Lost 34-19
Nov. 28 Kansas City 1:05 p.m.
Dec. 5 Carolina 1:15 p.m.
Dec. 12 at S. Francisco 1:05 p.m.
Dec. 19 Atlanta 1:05 p.m.
Dec. 26 at Tampa Bay 10 a.m.
Jan. 2 St. Louis 1:15 p.m.

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