Seahawks-Giants: What we learned

Patti Traina, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Seattle Seahawks intercepted Eli Manning five times and converted two of the New York Giants' turnovers into 14 points en route to a 23-0 thumping at MetLife Stadium.
The five interceptions by Manning are a single-game career high, and extended the Giants' streak of at least one giveaway per game this season.
If that wasn't bad enough, Manning matched his single-season career high of 25 interceptions set in 2010. He now has 169 career turnovers, which passes Charlie Conerly's as the Giants' franchise leader.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who used the word "pathetic" to describe his extreme disappointment in the performance of the offense, shook his head when he was asked if he considered pulling Manning out of the game sooner than he did.
"Not really. Your dig your own hole, you have to fight your way out of it," he said. "He's our guy and that wouldn't have been my decision at that point in time."
Instead, Coughlin would have preferred to have seen some flashes of life from his offense.
It was not meant to be as Seattle took the reins and never looked back, jumping out to a 13-0 halftime lead thanks to two field goals by kicker Steven Hauschka sandwiched around running back Marshawn Lynch's 2-yard touchdown run, the first of their two scores following a Giants turnover.
Seattle continued to pile it on in the second half, adding a 24-yard field goal by Hauschka in the third quarter and then the capper in the fourth quarter on quarterback Russell Wilson's 12-yard touchdown pass to receiver Doug Baldwin.
In addition to the five interceptions, the Seahawks' defense recorded four sacks, six tackles for a loss, six quarterback hits and five pass breakups in what was simply a complete domination.
"A lot of it happened up front but the guys on the back end came through again with the matchups we had and played great coverage all day long," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.
The Giants' defense, which a week ago was gashed on the ground by the San Diego Chargers, did well to hold Lynch to just 47 rushing yards on 16 carries.
The Giants also got another strong game from defensive end Justin Tuck, who was credited with a half sack against Wilson in the third quarter, his fourth game in a row with at least a half sack.
However, the Giants couldn't shut down Wilson, who completed 18 of 27 passes for 206 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
"The best part about our offense what we do well is once we get into a rhythm, it's hard to stop up," said Wilson, who connected with seven different pass targets this week.
That's what the Giants have wanted to do all season as well, only to continue to struggle to find any rhythm. Moving forward, they might have to try to regain some sort of balance without Victor Cruz, their top receiver, who suffered a concussion and a knee sprain in the third quarter.
The Seahawks (12-2), meanwhile, have won six times on the road, a franchise best. Seattle is closing in on the NFC West title and its best overall record -- the Seahawks went 13-3 in 2005 before losing to Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl.
Seattle will finish out the 2013 regular season at home against the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams.
The Giants (5-9), who were eliminated from the playoff hunt last week, will finish below .500 for the first time under Coughlin since 2004, his first season as head coach. That year, New York finished 6-10 and in second place in the NFC East.

What the Seahawks said
"It was definitely fun being more involved in the game and having a chance to make an impact and help my team. It does get frustrating not having a chance to make plays for my team or make an impact, (but) if my job is to stand over there and cover and not get any balls, then that's my job." -- Cornerback Richard Sherman, who snapped a five-game streak of not having any interceptions.

What the Giants said
"Sometimes out there it looked like we didn't have a pulse." -- Safety Antrel Rolle, when asked about the offense.

What we learned about the Seahawks
1. The offense wasn't flawless, as evidenced by its third-down completion percentage (23 percent) or red-zone efficiency (50 percent) but despite those shortcomings, the Seahawks are a team that simply doesn't beat themselves with stupid mistakes, costly turnovers or lack of effort.
2. The Seahawks are thinking and playing like they will be the team to beat in the NFC and viewed this week's game at MetLife Stadium, the site of the next Super Bowl, as a major advantage. "Any time you get comfortable with the stadium, get a chance to play there, see the locker room and see the city and the weather and the time zone change, it's definitely advantageous to our team," said cornerback Richard Sherman.

What we learned about the Giants
1. The Giants apparently aren't "all in" on coach Tom Coughlin's message about being competitive and playing for pride in these last few games of the season. "I told the players who prepared and gave great effort that I appreciated what they did and I told those that it was obvious that they did not, that I felt sorry for them because they're missing the whole point," Coughlin said.
2. The locker room has apparently fractured and the finger-pointing has begun. Defensive co-captain Antrel Rolle, never one to be politically correct with his opinions, said the defense played hard, but wouldn't go so far as to say the same thing about the offense.
"If you don't have passion about this game you don't need to be out there on the field," Rolle said. "You can never do that playing a game of this magnitude, playing a game that's this physical and playing an opponent like the Seattle Seahawks that live and die by pride, swagger, and confidence. We knew that coming into the game. They imposed our will on us today."

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