Jim Henderson Commentary, Week Thirteen

No highlights. No turning points. No drama. No excitement.

No contest.

At halftime Monday night the Saints defense had already given up more yards than they'd been surrendering per game through the first 11.

The Saints offense, so attuned to strafing opposing defenses with "chunk plays" was forced to settle for "chump plays." A 20-yard completion to Jimmy Graham would be the longest play of the first half. Another in the second half would equal it.

With nearly 9 minutes left in the first half, a 2-yard dart to Graham would provide the Saints with their first score and their last score in a performance as dark and dismal as a Seattle winter.

The totality of the Saints' domination by the Seahawks came as a shock...but the Seahawks' ability to dominate, totally or otherwise at home, was one the Saints were painfully acquainted with.

At the conclusion of the 2010 season the Saints had come there to face a Seahawk team it had beaten in New Orleans with six weeks left in the regular season, 34-19. They had come there as the biggest road favorite ever in the wild card round of the playoffs to face a division-winning Seahawk team with a sub-.500 record.

They came; they saw; and they were conquered.

But not nearly with the totality of Monday night's humiliation.

If the Saints have to go there again, it might be as a double-digit underdog in the playoffs this time.

Suddenly even that foregone conclusion of postseason inevitability is in doubt. Out of nowhere the Carolina Panthers come to town, riding the crest of an 8-game winning streak, tied with the Saints at 9-3 for the division lead and the second seed in the NFC.

Last night the Seahawks left absolutely no doubt in answering the question, "Who's number one?" Sunday the Saints must quickly re-group to successfully answer the question of "Who's number two?"

At least for now.