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Originally published December 2, 2013 at 10:42 PM | Page modified December 2, 2013 at 10:55 PM

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Byron Maxwell and Seahawks’ secondary shut down the Saints

Byron Maxwell, filling in with Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond out, more than held his own, and the Seahawks shut down Drew Brees and the Saints in a 34-7 victory Monday night.


Seattle Times staff reporter

Seahawks pass defense by the numbers

92 Passing yards by Drew Brees through three quarters. Brees cracked the 100-yard mark early in the fourth quarter.

20 Yards on longest pass completion of the game by Brees, on the first play of the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach.

2010 The last time Brees passed for less than 200 yards. He had surpassed that mark for 43 games.

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Cornerback Byron Maxwell had just started putting on his shoes when a few reporters gathered around his locker.

Maxwell has generally been able to get dressed and leave without much interruption, but he has been thrust into the spotlight this week with cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond out (Thurmond is suspended four games, while Browner is appealing a one-year suspension).

A visitor at Maxwell’s locker quickly alerted him to the cameras behind him.

“But I didn’t play too good, bro,” Maxwell said. “I dropped a pick. What do you mean? I didn’t really do nothing.”

Maxwell will have to get used to the added attention, especially if he and the rest of the secondary play like they did in Seattle’s 34-7 win against New Orleans.

Seattle’s secondary notched another victim on Monday night, when it held New Orleans to fewer than 200 passing yards for the first time in 44 games. The Seahawks also held Drew Brees to his fewest passing yards (147) since 2006.

The Seahawks knew coming in they had to stop New Orleans’ explosive plays. They thought that if they could make the Saints crawl instead of sprint, they could corral their offense.

New Orleans’ longest pass play went for 20 yards and the longest run went for 12.

“That offense is very impatient,” safety Earl Thomas said. “They want to take chunks. When you make them be patient, it’s tough on them.”

There was no avoiding the question dangling over the Seahawks’ defense this week. Would a secondary without Browner and Thurmond hold up?

True, the Seahawks went 3-0 last season while Browner was suspended and Thurmond was out with an injury. But the Seahawks didn’t play quarterbacks of Brees’ caliber or offenses as explosive as New Orleans’.

Maxwell had played heavily earlier this season, so he was a known commodity. But the bigger question was how the Seahawks would fare when they needed to play five or six defensive backs. Would their depth hold up with Jeremy Lane or DeShawn Shead on the field?

“We have a very sound defense, even with our corners that they made all this hoopla about,” cornerback Richard Sherman said. “We don’t hear anything about it now.”

Maxwell started opposite Sherman and more than held his own. He nearly picked off a couple of passes, including one in the end zone that he probably should have caught.

“I’m happy for him,” Thomas said, “but that’s what we expected.”

Added Sherman: “Maxwell is a starter. He made all the plays back there. He could start for 32 teams in this league. He’s that caliber of player.”

The only glaring flaw in Maxwell’s performance? His reluctance to talk after the game.

“Max, cut it out!” Thomas shouted across the locker room. “Let them boys know who you are.”

Jayson Jenks: 206-464-8277 or jjenks@seattletimes.com



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