Thumbs up, thumbs down on the Saints’ 34-7 loss at Seattle

New Orleans Saints quarterbacks Drew Brees, left, and Luke McCown, right, study a play sheet on the sideline late in the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, in Seattle. The Seahawks beat the Saints, 34-7. (AP Photo/Scott Eklund) Show caption
New Orleans Saints quarterbacks Drew Brees, left, and Luke McCown, right, study a play sheet on the sideline late in the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, in Seattle. The Seahawks beat the Saints, 34-7. (AP Photo/Scott Eklund)

Thumbs up

SAINTS QB DREW BREES: Brees always gives the Saints a chance to win with his leadership and his ability to make good decisions and big plays. His numbers were good Monday. He can lead the team to another Super Bowl. He fought valiantly. He just needed more help from his teammates to win against a good team.

SAINTS P THOMAS MORESTEAD: How bad was it for the Saints? Morestead, along with Brees, was their most consistent player. He averaged 49.3 yards per punt in the first half. Had the Saints defense been able to make a few stops in the first half, his punts would have given the team an edge in a field-position battle. Hint: You know it’s not good when your punter is one of your best players.

SAINTS GET A WAKE-UP CALL: The good news about the Seattle game is that it is over. The Saints learned a key lesson about playoff football: You have to match your opponent’s intensity at all times. Sean Payton won’t let the team forget this.

Thumbs down

SAINTS FIRST QUARTER: The team came out ill-prepared for the challenge at hand, which was all of the emotion, speed and intensity that Seattle always has when playing at home. The Saints were a step slow and a play late. The 17-0 deficit was probably the team’s worst quarter in at least five years.

SAINTS PASS DEFENSE: Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson was 14-of-19 for 226 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the first half. The Saints made Wilson, who is a good player, look like he belonged in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

SAINTS ONE-DIMENSIONAL OFFENSE: This game was everything you feared about the Saints but were hoping wouldn’t come to pass. The inconsistent running game, which would have kept the Seattle offense off the field, wasn’t there. Brees was good, but he needed to be perfect to give the team a chance, and that was too much to ask of him. You can’t beat good teams the way they played.