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Brees, Saints outlast Seahawks 25-20

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Drew Brees passed for 265 yards and a touchdown, scored on a quarterback keeper, and the New Orleans Saints overcame several big plays by Seattle to defeat the Seahawks 25-20 on Sunday.

The victory wasn’t assured until the New Orleans’ much-maligned defense, which entered the game ranked 29th in the NFL, came up with a stop on Seattle’s final drive, which started on the Seattle 32 with 1:50 left. Russell Wilson took the Seahawks (4-2-1) to the New Orleans 10, where he had one final play. He lofted a pass toward the corner of the end zone, where Jermaine Kearse caught the ball, but landed out of bounds.

Wilson finished with 253 yards passing and was intercepted once by linebacker Nathan Stupar — a play that set up the Saints’ first TD on Brees’ 1-yard dive over a pile of players. Brees’ lone touchdown pass went to Brandin Cooks on a 2-yard slant , which gave the Saints the lead for good early in the fourth quarter.

Wil Lutz kicked field goals of 22, 53, 21 and 41 yards for the Saints (3-4), the latter coming with under two minutes left to put Seattle down by more than a field goal.

MISLEADING STATS: The Saints controlled much of the first half and held advantages in numerous statistical categories — such as yards (179-161), first downs (16-6) and time of possession (21:22-8:38) — but two big plays helped Seattle take a 14-13 lead into halftime.

First came Mark Ingram’s fumble . Seattle defensive end Cliff Avril punched the ball out from behind and it popped straight into the arms of safety Earl Thomas, who sprinted into the open field for a his 34-yard touchdown.

A trick play set up Seattle’s second score. Wilson threw a quick backward screen to his left to receiver Tanner McEvoy, who then threw deep back across the field for a 43-yard completion to running back C.J. Prosise to the Saints 2. That set up Christine Michael’s’ short TD run, making it 14-3.

New Orleans also might have cost itself a touchdown on its first scoring drive. Brandon Coleman gave himself up after a third-down catch, going to the ground a yard short of what would have been first-and-goal. The Saints then opted for a field goal.

Later, Lutz’s 53-yard field goal made it 14-6, and New Orleans finally reached the end zone on Brees’ keeper shortly before halftime.

Seattle’s defense also forced a field goal in the third quarter after the Saints had a first-and-goal on the 1.

BENCHED: Ingram was benched after his fumble on this third carry of the game. It was his second fumble in as many weeks while trying to fight through a pile of players for extra yards. A week earlier, Ingram’s fumble inside the Kansas City 10 stalled a likely scoring drive in a six-point loss. Tim Hightower replaced him and wound up with 102 yards rushing, the first 100-yard rusher of the season for New Orleans.


Lodeiro scores twice, Sounders top FC Dallas 3-0 in Game 1

SEATTLE (AP) — Nicolas Lodeiro scored twice and Nelson Valdez added a goal — all in an 8-minute span early in the second half— and the Seattle Sounders rolled past FC Dallas 3-0 on Sunday night in the first leg of the MLS Western Conference semifinals.

Dallas, winner of the Supporters Shield with the best regular-season record, now must score at least three times when the teams play the second leg in Texas next Sunday to keep its season alive.

Valdez, whose 88th-minute goal beat Sporting Kansas City in a knockout game Thursday, put Seattle on the board in the 50th minute. Joevin Jones crossed a target ball from the left side into the penalty area. Valdez ran to the top of the 6-yard box, went up and over Dallas defender Maynor Figueroa and headed it into the back left corner.

Lodeiro made it 2-0 at the outset of the 55th minute, running onto Jordan Morris’ short crossing pass and blasting it into the back right corner from 6 yards in front.

Just 3 minutes later, Lodeiro took a through ball from Jones, streaked down the left side, and, from the top left corner of the 6, fired to the far corner.


AP Top 25: Alabama, Michigan, Clemson, Washington at top

Alabama, Michigan, Clemson and Washington are at the top of The Associated Press Top 25 college football poll and the Big 12 was left without a top-10 team after a weekend during which four unbeaten teams lost.

Two days before the College Football Playoff selection committee unveils its first rankings of the season, the AP Top 25 provided a likely preview.

Alabama is No. 1, receiving all but one of the 61 first-place votes from the media panel. Michigan received a first-place vote. Both No. 3 Clemson and No. 4 Washington won road games against ranked teams Saturday, with the Huskies downing Utah. The Utes moved up one spot despite the loss, to No. 16.

Boise State, which suffered its first loss — to Wyoming — tumbled from No 13 to 24th.

West Virginia and Baylor from the Big 12 were not so fortunate. The Mountaineers slipped to No. 14 after their first loss. The Bears dropped to 13th after losing to Texas.


Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.