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.”
Peephole perspective: Giants, 41-7. The Seahawks got on the board on the first regular-season TD pass of Charlie Whitehurst’s NFL career – a 36-yarder to Ben Obomanu.
Player of the quarter: D.J. Ware gave new meaning to the term running out the clock, as he carried 13 times on the Giants’ final possession.
Play of the quarter: Whitehurst’s TD pass to Obomanu, of course.
Number of the quarter: 74. The number of points allowed by the Seahawks in their past two games.
The bigger picture: The Seahawks took the kickoff following the Giants’ second field goal of the third quarter and moved 70 yards in three plays to their first points – Charlie Whitehurst’s 36-yard TD pass to WR Ben Obomanu. RB Marshawn Lynch added a 26-yard run to the series.
When the Giants got the ball back, Sage Rosenfels took over for Eli Manning, who was only 4 of 11 for 58 yards in the third quarter after a 17-of-21, 232-yard, three-TD pass first half. The Giants then began to “Ware” out the Seahawks, as D.J. Ware took over for Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, and ran for 7, 5, 8 and 9 yards on consecutive plays. Jacobs return for a 7-yard run, then it was back to Ware for 4, 6, 5 and 0 yards. Then it was Jacobs for a pair of 3-yard runs. Back came Ware, who ran for 5 yards on third-and-4. The Giants then ran out all but the final 34 seconds.
Peephole perspective: Giants, 41-0. Two field goals for the Giants. Two three-and-out possessions for the Seahawks.
Player of the quarter: Lawrence Tynes. The Giants’ kicker cashed in on a couple of clock-killing possessions with 25- and 20-yard field goals.
Play of the quarter: On the drive to Tynes’ first field goal, Brandon Jacobs got the Giants rolling with a 38-yard run to the Seahawks’ 9-yard line.
Number of the quarter: 113. The Giants’ yardage total in the quarter, compared to 7 for the Seahawks – or 81, which was their yardage total in the first half.
The bigger picture: The Giants got the ball first in the second half, but the defense held – thanks to the 100th false-start penalty at Qwest since 2005, a holding penalty and CB Kelly Jennings’ breakup of Eli Manning’s third-down pass to Hakeem Nicks. Also, FS Earl Thomas was back on the field for the Seahawks after he was slow to get up on the pass for the Giants’ fifth TD at the end of the first half.
After another three-and-out by the Seahawks, Brandon Jacobs broke a 38-yard run the Seattle 9 on the Giants’ first play. But the one-play drive stalled and Lawrence Tynes kicked a 25-yard field goal to make it 38-0.
Tynes added his 20-yarder on the final play of the quarter.
Peephole perspective: Giants, 35-0. Eli Manning passed for two more touchdowns, while Charlie Whitehurst threw two interceptions in Giants’ territory.
Player of the quarter: Manning. Peyton’s kid brother was locked in, not only in the quarter but for the entire half. He was 6 of 7 on the Giants’ final TD drive of the half for 71 yards, and finished the half with 17 completions in 21 attempts for 232 yards and three TDs.
Play of the quarter: The Seahawks finally put together a mini-drive, as Charlie Whitehurst passed for 7 yards to WR Deon Butler and third-and-6, ran for 2 yards on fourth-and-1 and then hit WR Mike Williams for a 17-yarder. But on the next play, Giants CB Corey Webster looped behind Williams to intercept Whitehurst’s pass at the New York 14-yard line.
Number of the quarter: 35. That’s how many points the Giants scored in the first half.
Injury report: Seahawks TE Chris Baker injured a foot and his return was listed as questionable. For the Giants, Webster got leg cramps, but was expected to return.
The bigger picture: On the first play of the quarter, Charlie Whitehurst’s pass went off WR Mike Williams and Giants CB Terrell Thomas intercepted the carom and returned it to the Giants’ 27-yard line. The Giants drove 73 yards in 11 plays to Eli Manning’s second TD pass – a 6-yarder to WR Steve Smith on a third-and-5 play. The big play in the drive was Manning’s 22-yard to Hakeem Nicks to the Seahawks’ 21 on third-and-13.
The Seahawks picked up their second first down with 8½ minutes left in the half on Whitehurst’s 7-yard pass to WR Deon Butler on third-and-6. They then converted a fourth-and-1 as Whitehurst ran for 2 yards. Whitehurst then passed to Williams for 17 yards, and another first down to the Giants’ 25. But his next pass – to Williams – was intercepted by CB Corey Webster.
On the ensuing series, the Seahawks were again victimized by their season-long bugaboo – a screen pass. This one went to WR Mario Manningham on third-and-4, and it went for 32 yards to the Seahawks’ 48. The 10-play, 86-yard drive ended with Manning passing for 5 yards to TE Kevin Boss – who took the pass in the end zone between FS Earl Thomas and SS Kam Chancellor. Manning was 6 of 7 for 71 yards.
The Seahawks’ final possession of the half ended when Whitehurst’s fourth-down pass to Williams sailed long.
Peephole perspective: Giants, 21-0, as Ahmad Bradshaw scored on a couple of short runs and Eli Manning passed 46 yards to Hakeem Nicks for the third TD.
Player of the quarter: Manning was 7 of 8 for 109 yards and the TD, for a 158.3 passer rating.
Play of the quarter: Manning’s TD pass, as he lofted the ball to Nicks who grabbed it against CB Kelly Jennings and rolled into the end zone.
Number of the quarter: 94. It’s Junior Siavii’s uniform number, and he turned in a senior-level performance in the first quarter of his first start for the Seahawks with two solo tackles, including one of the loss, and a fumble recovery.
The bigger picture: The Seahawks got the ball first when Giants QB Eli Manning called tails in the coin toss and it came up heads. But the Seahawks not only went three-and-out, they netted minus-5 yards – and the first completion of Charlie Whitehurst’s first regular-season start went for minus-3 yards.
The defense got the ball back when LB Aaron Curry forced a fumble that was recovered DT Junior Siavii – on a third-down play that was called a complete pass, but reversed after the Seahawks’ challenge the ruling. But again, the Seahawks when three-and-out.
The Giants then drove 52 yards in seven plays to a 2-yard TD run by Ahmad Bradshaw. The biggest play on the drive was a 16-yard pass interference penalty against CB Marcus Trufant on an incomplete third-ans-9 pass to WR Hakeem Nicks. Manning was 3 of 4 for 30 yards, with two of the passes going to Bradshaw for 22 yards.
After another three-and-out by the Seahawks, the Giants struck again – this time as Manning lofted a pass to Nicks, who was covered by CB Kelly Jennings, for a 46-yard TD. The four-play, 63-yard drive again included a key third-down penalty against the Seahawks, as FS Earl Thomas was flagged for illegal contact on Manning’s third-and-eight pass to Steve Smith. The Giants scored on the next play. Maning was 2 of 2 for 56 yards.
It only got worse, as Leon Washington fumbled the kickoff return on a hit by Travis Beckum and LB Jonathan Goff returned it 22 yards to the Seahawks’ 4-yard line. Bradshaw scored on the next play to make it 21-0 with 2:03 left in the quarter.
But Washington then broke a 57-yard return to the Giants’ 32 and the quarter ended with the Seahawks facing a second-and-16 situation at the 17.
The following players are inactive for the Giants today:
WR Darius Reynaud (hamstring)
OT Will Beatty (foot)
RB Madison Hedgecock (hamstring)
C Shaun O’Hara (foot)
LB Gerris Wilkinson (hand)
OT Jamon Meredith
DE Alex Hall
DT Linval Joseph
Reynaud was listed as questionable, but the Giants’ kickoff and punt returner will not play. Also, Adam Koets started at center for O’Hara.
For the second game in a row, the Seahawks’ list of inactive players is dictated by injuries:
QB Matt Hasselbeck (concussion)
DT Colin Cole (ankle)
WR Golden Tate (ankle)
OT Russell Okung (ankle)
DT Brandon Mebane (calf)
OT Tyler Polumbus (knee)
RB Michael Robinson (hamstring)
DT Frank Okam
No surprises here, just a lot of good players who can’t play because of injuries. Okam is healthy, but was just signed on Tuesday.
So, it’s Charlie Whitehurst for Hasselbeck, Chester Pitts for Okung, Mike Gibson for Pitts and Craig Terrill for Mebane.
Greetings from a surprisingly dry and partly sunny Qwest Field, where the Seahawks are facing a Giant task today.
The opponent is the New York Giants, winners of four in a row and possessors of a 5-2 record coming out of their bye week. The storylines in this one have played out all week, as key players for the Seahawks have been falling like so many dominoes.
First, and foremost, Charlie Whitehurst will make the first start of his 4½-season NFL career for Matt Hasselbeck, because the Seahawks’ starting QB got a concussion while being sacked a career-high eight times in last week’s 33-3 loss to the Raiders in Oakland. The Giants already have knocked five quarterbacks out of games this season – the Cowboys’ Tony Romo, Bears’ duo of Jay Cutler and Todd Collins, Panthers’ Matt Moore and Lions’ Shaun Hill. For more on Whitehurst’s situation, click here.
The Seahawks also will have a new left side of the offensive line. Chester Pitts will make his first start for the Seahawks – and first since last September, when he tore up his right knee while playing for the Houston Texans. It was supposed to be at guard, because Ben Hamilton was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday after getting a severe concussion against the Raiders. But Pitts will be at tackle, because first-round draft choice Russell Okung is not ready to return from the sprained left ankle that has sidelined him the past seven quarters; and if Tyler Polumbus is able to play it will be in a backup role after he sprained a knee against the Raiders. So Mike Gibson will make his second NFL start at left guard. Pitts also missed practice on Friday to attend a funeral. He has quite a story, and you can read it here.
The best way to attack the Giants’ second-ranked defensive might be to run the ball, especially from passing formations. But the Giants have allowed an average of 47 rushing yards in their four-game winning streak, after yielding an average of 136.7 in their first three games. Another way to defuse a pass rush that has produced 24 sacks – eight from Osi Umenyiora, who will spend much of the game matched against Pitts – is to throw quick passes. But while Whitehurst throws a nice deep ball, he is not as accurate on the short and intermediate passes as Hasselbeck.
On defense, Kentwan Balmer makes his first start for the Seahawks at the five-technique spot for Red Bryant, who went on IR on Tuesday and had surgery on Thursday to repair a damaged ligament in his right knee. Balmer had started the past three games at the three-technique tackle spot for Brandon Mebane, who has a sore calf. If Mebane can’t play today, Craig Terrill will make the fifth start of his 6½-season career. The Seahawks also will have a first-time starter at nose tackle, where Junior Siavii steps in for Colin Cole, who is out with a sprained ankle. For more on Balmer, click here.
When the Giants pass, it has been a hit-or-miss proposition. Eli Manning has thrown 14 TD passes, but also 11 interceptions – and seven of that league-high total have caromed off the intended target. Leading receiver Hakeem Nicks has at least eight receptions in three of the Giants’ past four games. The Seahawks do get cornerback Kelly Jennings back after the starter on the right side missed the past two games with a strained hamstring. Nate Ness, who started for Jennings last week, was released on Tuesday.
Speaking of roster moves, the Seahawks made two more on Saturday. Zac Robinson was signed off the practice squad to serve as the backup to Whitehurst. So was tackle Breno Giacomini, to provide depth on the injury-ravaged O-line. Released were two players who had been signed on Tuesday – wide receiver Ruvell Martin, who isn’t needed because leading receiver Mike Williams is ready to play after getting a bruise just above his knee last week; and center Chris White, who was expendable because Gibson had replaced Hamilton as the backup to Chris Spencer at center.
As was stated at the top, this all adds up to a Giant challenge for the Seahawks. We’re all about to discover just how much magic the 12th Man crowd can wring out of Qwest Field, where the Seahawks are 3-0 this season.
Strange things not only can happen to visiting teams at Qwest, they often do. In 2005, the Giants came in with a 7-3 record and wilted under a barrage of 11 false-start penalties. The Seahawks won, but in overtime and with a much healthier team than they will field today.
He’ll back later with the inactives, which for the Seahawks will be dictated by the injury situation …
When: Sunday, 1:05 p.m., Qwest Field
Records: Seahawks 4-3 and first in the NFC West; Giants 5-2 coming off their bye week and first in the NFC East
TV: KCPQ/13 (Fox), with Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver
Radio: 97.3 FM and 710 ESPN, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller
Charlie Whitehurst vs. the situation: It has taken 4½ seasons and 71 games, but Whitehurst finally will make his first NFL start because Matt Hasselbeck, the Seahawks’ starting QB, is out with a concussion after being sacks a career-high eight times against the Raiders last week. Whitehurst has appeared in a regular-season game – twice as a rookie with the Chargers in 2006 and for the final three plays last week. But he has yet to throw a pass in a regular-season game. That, of course, will change on Sunday. But when Whitehurst drops back to pass, he’ll be facing a Giants defense that ranks second in the league and has gotten 20½ of its 24 sacks from its defensive linemen.
One to watch
Seahawks LT Chester Pitts vs. Giants DE Osi Umenyiora: Speaking of the Giants’ pass rush, Umenyiora has eight sacks and also has forced a league-leading seven fumbles. Pitts will be making his first start for the Seahawks – and first since last September while playing for the Huston Texans. He was expected to play left guard, but has moved outside because of injuries to first-round draft choice Russell Okung and backup Tyler Polumbus. Pitts got a couple of snaps at tackle last week, after Polumbus went down. But the last time he played the pivotal position for an extended period was the final 12 games in 2005.
Fun to watch
Seahawks FS Earl Thomas vs. Giants QB Eli Manning: The Giants love the long ball. But with it come passes that can be tipped or go off the hands of the intended receiver and lead to interceptions. While Manning has thrown 14 touchdown passes, he’s also had 11 picked up – seven on balls that first hit the intended receiver. That’s where Thomas comes in. The rookie already has four interceptions and he can use the same range, speed and instincts that helped him make those plays to help himself to any of Manning’s deep throws that go awry.
One tough task
The Seahawks vs. the situation: A first-time starter at QB (Whitehurst). Players making their first starts for the Seahawks at left tackle (Pitts), defensive end (Kentwan Balmer) and nose tackle (Junior Siavii). A practice-squad QB (Zac Robinson) as Whitehurst’s backup. A Giants defense that has knocked five QBs out of games this season. A Giants running game that features Ahmad Bradshaw (708 yards and a 5.3-yard average) and 264-pound Brandon Jacobs (five rushing touchdowns and a 4.9-yard average). A Giants passing game that features Manning throwing to Hakeem Nicks (45 receptions, eight TDs), Steve Smith (43 receptions) and Mario Manningham (15.7-yard average on 21 receptions).
The Giants’ four-game winning streak is the longest in the NFC, and they’re tied with the Falcons for the best record in the conference. … The Giants defense is holding opponents to a league-best average of 3.6 yards on first downs, with the Bears No. 2 at 4.5. … The Giants offense is averaging 6.5 yards on first downs, second best in the league behind the Chargers (6.7). … The Giants have not played at Qwest since 2006, when they lost 42-30. … In 2005, a Giants team that was 7-3 lost at Qwest 24-21 in overtime, as they were penalized for 11 false starts. … The Seahawks have forced 12 of their 13 turnovers at Qwest, where they are 3-0. … Leon Washington continues to lead the NFL in kickoff-return average (33.7) and he’ll also return punts for the Seahawks after averaging 27 yards on three returns against the Raiders last week. … SS Lawyer Milloy leads the Seahawks in tackles (40), while FS Antrel Rolle paces the Giants (39).
When: Sunday, 1:05 p.m., Qwest Field
Record: 5-2, first in the NFC East and riding a four-game winning streak coming out of their bye week
Where they rank: No. 3 on offense (4th rushing, tied for 8th passing); No. 2 on defense (3rd rushing, 2nd passing)
Series: Giants lead 8-5, including a 44-6 win at Giants Stadium in the meeting (Oct. 5, 2008). But the Seahawks have won the past two games at Qwest – 42-30 in 2006 and 24-21 in overtime in 2005.
Star power: Ahmad Bradshaw. Eli Manning might be the face – and arm – of the franchise, but Bradshaw provides the legs. Despite being off last week, he ranks fourth in the league in rushing (708 yards) and is averaging 5.3 yards per carry. He’s also eighth in combined rushing and receiving yards (813). So even though the Giants are passing (239) more than they’re running (212), Bradshaw has been a productive factor in both phases. That’s because he has emerged as the feature back. His 134 carries in seven games are 29 fewer than he got all of last season.
“We always knew he had the potential,” running backs coach Jerald Ingram said of Bradshaw, a seventh-round draft choice in 2007 who runs bigger than he is (5-9, 198). “And the more carries you get as a running back, the better you are. He just now took it to a point to where he wants to be fed. He wants that on his back, and he wants to be the guy that makes a difference in what he does and he wants to win.”
Prior to the Giants’ bye, Bradshaw was leading the NFL in rushing, with 24 yards more than the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson and 46 more than the Titans’ Chris Johnson – the backs who led the league in rushing the past two seasons.
Unsung hero: Osi Umenyiora. Unsung? How can a guy who has been voted to the Pro Bowl twice and led his team in sacks in five of the past six seasons be unsung? It’s all relative. Last season, Umenyiora was benched because of his play against the run and finished with seven sacks. This season, he already has eight sacks to rank second in the league and seven forced fumbles to lead the league. All this despite playing with a bothersome right knee that causes him to sit out practice on Wednesday and get limited reps on Thursday and Friday. Umenyiora’s rejuvenated play as prompted linemate Chris Canty to wonder “if this guy has a cape on or something.”
On the spot: Manning’s receivers. The Giants’ QB has thrown 11 interceptions, which ties for most in the league. But seven of them hit the intended target before being intercepted. The best of those intended targets, however, has been Hakeem Nicks. He is tied for second in the league in touchdown catches (eight) and tied for sixth in receptions (45).
Burning question: Who is Adam Koets? Sunday, he’ll be the Giants’ starting center because Shaun O’Hara is sidelined with a sprained ligament in his right foot. Koets was a sixth-round draft choice in 2007, but made his first starts this season when O’Hara was out with an injured left foot.
Familiar faces: SS Deon Grant started for the Seahawks the past three seasons and also was a defensive co-captain. DT Rocky Bernard started for the Seahawks from 2006-08.
The last word: “We feel that we have an explosive offense. Sometimes you’re going to throw the ball over the middle and you know if it gets tipped up it’s going to get intercepted. There’s a little risk in it. We have to be smarter in some of those things.” – Manning, who also has thrown 14 TD passes, on the interceptions