Seahawks make statement in first half

SEATTLE -- The Seattle Seahawks must be thrilled to take a 24-20 lead into halftime against New Orleans despite a horrible start to the game.

The decision to rest Matt Hasselbeck last week and start him Sunday is working out perfectly for coach Pete Carroll. Seattle has also been able to run the ball pretty well for the second week in a row, particularly from its base offense, and that is a big help for Hasselbeck.

Hasselbeck has three first-half touchdown passes. Seattle has fooled the Saints by throwing to tight end John Carlson for two scoring passes from 22 personnel (two backs, two tight ends). And then Brandon Stokley was wide open for that 45-yarder on third-and-3.

Seattle gets the ball to open the second half and I think that could be important. The Saints still appear dangerous. I think they'll be able to move the ball through the air when they really have to do so. But the absence of the Saints' top power running backs is making them more one-dimensional, bailing out Seattle's defense to an extent.

Great first half for Seattle. The NFC West can exhale a little bit. There can be no embarrassment at this point.