SEATTLE (AP) — The Saints' playoff run collided Saturday with two storms: the weather system that bore down on Seattle and the Seahawks' stout defense.
The wet and windy conditions made it difficult for Drew Brees to throw in the first half — and when he did, the Seahawks' top-ranked pass defense thwarted him.
Wearing gloves on both hands, Brees threw for only 34 yards in the first half — his lowest first-half showing since the final regular-season game against the Panthers in 2006, when the Saints pulled him early to rest for the playoffs.
With the wind at his back, the 13-year veteran found his rhythm in the second half but his comeback bid fell short and New Orleans' season ended with a 23-15 loss to the Seahawks in the NFC divisional playoff game.
"You just don't know how many more opportunities you're going to have," Brees said afterward. "That's what makes it so tough standing up here and talking about it."
Brees found Marques Colston with a 9-yard touchdown pass with 26 seconds left to narrow it. Colston recovered the onside kick and gave the Saints the possibility to tie it.
Brees again hit Colston on the Seattle 38, but the 8-year veteran didn't step out of bounds and instead tried to throw awkwardly across the field to Darren Sproles. The illegal forward pass brought an automatic 10-second runoff and ended the game.
In the end, Brees completed 24 of 43 passes for 309 yards. Colston wouldn't talk after the game.
The Saints had visited Seattle in early December and suffered a 34-7 loss. Brees was 23-of-34 for 147 yards and the lone touchdown in that one.
"We knew what we were coming in to here," Brees said. "We thought we had a great game plan."
After beating Tampa in the regular-season finale for the sixth seed, the Saints defeated the Eagles 26-24 in an NFC wild-card game last weekend in Philadelphia. It was the first playoff road victory in franchise history. Brees threw for 250 yards and a touchdown but also had a pair of interceptions.
The forecast on Saturday promised to make the game hard on both teams.
The crew at CenturyLink Field had tarp on the field overnight and a tractor braced goalposts against 60 mph winds that knocked out power to some 75,000 homes in Western Washington overnight.