SEAHAWKS 21

SAINTS 7 Shaun Alexander scored three touchdowns to get the Seattle Seahawks off to a good start on the season -- and on the road -- with a 21-7 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

Seattle was 2-6 on the road last season, but used its first trip this year to start working on expectations. The Seahawks are expected to be strong contenders for the NFC title after reaching the playoffs a year ago. Playing behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, Alexander rushed for 135 yards on 28 carries. He ran for two touchdowns and caught another.

Matt Hasselbeck enjoyed playing behind that line as well, completing 19 of 29 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown. Darrell Jackson had seven receptions for 98 yards.

Seattle outgained New Orleans 415 yards to 281 and outrushed the Saints 194-74. The Saints converted only three of 14 third downs.

It was the second straight year the Seahawks defeated the Saints to open the season.

The New Orleans game plan had been simple: Keep Alexander from having a big game and don't turn over the ball. The Saints weren't able to do either, losing the ball three times. They also had eight penalties for 68 yards to slow them.