A recap of the Seahawks’ 41-7 loss to the New York Giants at Qwest Field on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Eli Manning. The Giants’ quarterback was “almost flawless,” as Seahawks coach Pete Carroll put it, while completing 21 of 32 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns. And that was with his 4-of-11, 58-yard performance in the third quarter tacked on.
In the first half, when the Giants scored touchdowns on five consecutive possessions, Manning was 17 of 21 for 232 yards and the three TDs to three different receivers – 46 yards to Hakeem Nicks, 6 yards to Steve Smith and 5 yards to Kevin Boss, the tight end from Western Oregon.
“He was on, man, he was doing his thing,” cornerback Marcus Trufant said of Manning. “He made all the right reads. So you can’t take anything from him.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: It took 4½ seasons, but Charlie Whitehurst finally started his first regular season game in the NFL – and threw his first pass. It took 22 more attempts in this first start to get his first regular-season touchdown pass – a 36-yarder to Ben Obomanu in the fourth quarter.
It came because the Giants had been jumping routes all afternoon, so Obomanu used a double move to get open and take the milestone throw from Whitehurst.
“They pressed/bailed a lot and they were jumping some of our inside routes,” Obomanu said. “We had game-planned a little bit and said, ‘OK, if they’re going to jump that route, we’re going to double move.’ Charlie just made a good play.
“It was one of those things where they we so aggressive, because they were up on the scoreboard they were going to jump routes and try to get interceptions. So it was just a double move to the back corner of the end zone.”
Defense: On the first play of the second quarter, the Seahawks had a chance to cut into the Giants’ 21-0 lead as Whitehurst went to leading receiver Mike Williams near the goal line. Instead of finding Williams, the ball ended up in the hands of Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas who returned the interception to the Giants’ 27 – which led to their fourth TD.
“I thought that was a very nice play by Terrell Thomas down by the goal line,” Carroll said. “He wrapped himself all around him. (Mike) can make that play. He has made those plays. But I thought it was a very good defensive play, as well.”
Special teams: The Giants did a good job of kicking away from Leon Washington, who came into the game as the NFL leader in kickoff-return average. The one time they didn’t, Washington made them pay, with a 57-yard return to the New York 32-yard line. It didn’t help, however, as Thomas made his interception four plays later.
Pre-game: As the Seahawks’ defensive players gathered along the sideline, middle linebacker and captain Lofa Tatupu went down the line and gave each of his linemen a rapid fire helmet-to-helmet butt.
“Lofa’s crazy,” said Junior Siavii, who started at nose tackle for an injured Colin Cole. “The guy could play with one leg. He’d still be in there. Lofa came out and got everybody psyched up.
“It didn’t hurt me, though,” he added with a slight smile. “It was kind of shocking. But it was pretty good.”
In-game: It has to be Whitehurst’s series of firsts: First start; first pass, a minus-3 yarder to Deon Butler on the Seahawks’ second play; and especially that first TD pass.
“After the first snap, it’s just football,” Whitehurst said. “It’s been awhile since I made a start that means something, for sure, but I can say it was tough because we couldn’t get anything going. It was kind of business as usual. You go out there and you play quarterback, and it was a tough day for us.”
Post-game: The blank stare of Carroll’s face as he stepped to the podium for his Q&A session. He looked like a coach who was searching for answers.
“For the second week in a row, we had a miserable performance,” he then said. “And it put us in a situation at the halfway point of the season being 4-4. We’ve seen the upside of our team and we’ve also seen the downside. At this time, really, what I am seeing is a coaches’ challenge.”
The Seahawks have surrendered 74 points and 1,032 yards the past two games, after yielding 30 points and 535 yards in the two-game winning streak that came before the two-game losing streak.
The Giants held the ball for 42½ minutes, including a 19-play, 73-yard trudge that consumed 13 minutes of the fourth quarter.
Linebacker David Hawthorne led the Seahawks with 12 tackles. He is the fifth player to lead the team in their eight games.
The Giants came into the game with 24 sacks, for a league-leading average of 3.4 per game. But they did not sack Whitehurst, who was playing behind a line that included first-year starters for the Seahawks at left tackle (Chester Pitts), left guard (Mike Gibson) and right guard (Stacy Andrews). The Seahawks had given up 13 sacks in their previous two games.
Hakeem Nicks caught six passes for 128 yards, making him the fourth 100-yard receiver against the Seahawks this season – joining the Raiders’ Darrius Heyward-Bey (5 for 105), Chargers’ Antonio Gates (7 for 109) and Bears’ Johnny Knox (5 for 120).
The Giants rushed for 197 yards. After allowing an average of 77.5 rushing yards in their first six games, to rank second in the league, the Seahawks have surrendered an average of 218 in their past two games.
The Giants were penalized twice for false starts, bringing the league-leading total at Qwest since 2005 to 101.
Tight end Chris Baker injured a foot in the first quarter and was limited the remainder of the game. But the damage was done before they ever took the field for the Seahawks, who played without QB Matt Hasselbeck, left tackle Russell Okung, left guard Ben Hamilton, fullback Michael Robinson, defensive end Red Bryant and defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, as well as Cole.
YOU DON’T SAY
“The last two weeks haven’t been the way we would draw it up, but that’s the league. As bad as it is, we’re still 4-4.” – strong safety and leading tackler Lawyer Milloy, on still being tied for the NFC West lead
YOU DON’T SAY, PART II
“It’s kind of like what I said earlier in the week to our guys. The only way to calm down their crowd noise is to move the ball, get first downs and get the crowd out of it. And that’s exactly what we did today.” – Manning on Qwest Field, where the Giants had 11 false start penalties in 2005 and three more in 2006