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Seahawks rout Saints to top league at 11-1

SEATTLE -- Seattle's Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes and the Seahawks routed the New Orleans Saints 34-7 Monday, improving the hosts to an NFL-best 11-1 and clinching a playoff berth.

Seattle led 27-7 at half-time in the showdown of teams with the best records in the National Conference and kept Saints star quarterback Drew Brees contained most of the night.

The victory gave the Seahawks a two-game edge in the fight for the best record in the conference and a home-field playoff advantage with New Orleans and Carolina now both 9-3 with four games to play.

“If we can get the chance to do that, that would be something special,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.

Wilson completed 22 of 30 passes for 310 yards and ran for 48 more yards as the Seahawks stretched their home win streak to 14 games.

“He did a great job,” Carroll said of Wilson. “We just played our ball. We came out raring to go.”

Brees connected on 23 of 38 passes for only 147 yards, snapping his streak of games with 200 or more passing yards at 43, two shy of Dan Fouts' NFL record.

“We just played the defense we know how to play and that was good enough,” Carroll said.

Seattle opened the scoring on Steven Hauschka's 26-yard field goal and Michael Bennett returned a Brees fumble 22 yards for a touchdown to give the Seahawks a 10-0 lead.

Wilson found Zach Miller on a 2-yard touchdown pass but Brees matched him with a 2-yard touchdown toss to Jimmy Graham to pull New Orleans within 17-7.

Hauschka added a 20-yard field goal and Wilson found Doug Baldwin on a 4-yard touchdown pass with 13 seconds remaining in the second quarter to give Seattle a 27-7 half-time edge, the biggest half-time deficit for the Saints since 2007.

Wilson added an 8-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Coleman in the third quarter to complete the scoring.

The Saints fell into a tie with Carolina for the NFC South division lead and the two teams will meet twice in the next three weeks.

Whichever of them emerges as the division champion will likely earn a first-round bye and a home-field edge in the second round.

The Seahawks lead San Francisco (8-4) by three games atop the NFC West and can clinch the division by beating San Francisco next week.

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Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks runs with the ball as outside linebacker David Hawthorne #57 of the New Orleans Saints defends during a game at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington on Monday, Dec. 2. (AFP)

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