Grading the Seahawks at Giants
By Micah Nelson
Dec 15, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Byron Maxwell (41) celebrates an interception during the second half against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Seattle Seahawks defeat the New York Giants 23-0. Mandatory Credit: Jim O
The Seattle Seahawks made themselves at home Sunday afternoon as they dominated the New York Giants in a 23-0 beat down in the Meadowlands. The Seahawks were in Eli Manning’s face from the snap of the first play and it showed as he turned the ball over five times. This was Seattle’s last road game of the regular season and if they keep up their winning ways the only traveling they will have to do throughout the rest of this season is a return flight to MetLife Stadium for the Super Bowl.
Russell Wilson seemed somewhat human in this game as his throws were off just a bit throughout the game. Most teams would kill to have their quarterback be off the way Wilson was on Sunday — he didn’t play horrible by any means but his passes and decision making seemed to be a second behind as he held on to the ball far too long and was sacked four times for a loss of 29 yards. Wilson threw the ball for 206 yards on 18 of 27 passing with a touchdown and an interception which Wilson threw up for Ricardo Lockette to go make a play, but the safety came over to help and easily picked the pass off. Wilson did have a big touchdown strike to Doug Baldwin in the 4th quarter to put the game away. Wilson and the Seahawks were not very explosive in this game on the offensive side of the ball and they struggled on 3rd down as they were only 3 for 13 which they must improve the rest of the season.
Running Backs: B+
Marshawn Lynch had a career day receiving this week as he had six catches for 73 yards and he was the leading receiver for the Seahawks. The Seahawks again struggled running the ball this week as Lynch only had 47 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown. Lynch is still getting yards after contact but there seems to be a lot of contact as soon as he gets to the line of scrimmage. Teams are selling out to stop the run and it is just opening the field up for Wilson and the passing attack but at the expense of Marshawn Lynch’s numbers.
Wide Receivers: B-
The Seahawks receivers struggled in this game and were unable to create much separation although Wilson was under duress quite a bit and so they were stuck running shorter routes for the most part. Wilson trusts his receivers and is willing to give them opportunities to make plays which came back to bite the Seahawks in this game (i.e. Wilson’s interception. Although Golden Tate didn’t come down with the catches, Wilson threw two throws that Tate was able to go up and have a shot at in this game. Tate has shown an ability to make plays this season whether he is bouncing around on the field or he is jumping up to snatch a ball away from a defender. Doug Baldwin had a big game this week as he made a number of huge catches as he pulled in six balls on seven targets for 71 yards and a touchdown.
Offensive Line: C
The offensive line seemed to take a step back this week after a few weeks of having all of the starters back. Wilson was under constant duress and was sacked four times. Marshawn Lynch was being hit at or near the line of scrimmage on nearly every running play. The line play was atrocious at times, although Wilson regularly had to throw receivers open and seemed to be caught in the pocket holding onto the ball far too long.
Defensive Line: A+
It is hard to believe that the Seahawks only had four sacks in this game; the tone of the game was set from the very first play when Brandon Mebane pushed his blocker almost straight back into Eli Manning and the pass rush never let up. Eli didn’t have much time throughout the entire game as the pass rush forced two fumbles and errant passes through the whole game. Michael Bennett lead the defensive line with four tackles, a sack and a tackle for a loss. The Giants were only able to rush for 25 yards in the game as the defense closed up any and every gap throughout the entire game.
Bobby Wagner was all over the field again this week as he was the leading tackler on the team and recorded 10 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a tackle for a loss. The linebackers were able to hold the Giants receivers to under 50 yards in the game, which was great to see them continue the strong play in pass coverage. Malcolm Smith had a solid day filling in for the injured KJ Wright as Smith recorded five tackles and a tackle for a loss. Smith seemed to follow Wagner’s lead as he could be seen all over the field hitting the ball carrier.
The Legion of Boom again had an outstanding day as they were able to hold Eli Manning and the pass-happy Giants offense to under 200 yards. Richard Sherman again had an outstanding game as he continued to shut down the fade route and make another signature interception which was one of two interceptions in the game for Sherman. The whole Seahawks secondary had a great game but it might be the play of Byron Maxwell that stands out the most. Maxwell who is filling in for Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond had another outstanding game as he was tested early and often and he made Manning pay as he picked off two passes in the game. Maxwell’s play has far exceeded what Seahawks coaches and fans expected as he had been filling in with continuous strong play.
Special Teams: A
The Seahawks special teams again had an impressive game and, as was pointed out in the game broadcast, the punt coverage has been great this season on an all time record level, between Jon Ryan’s hanging punts and the outstanding coverage that had been down in the face of the return man on nearly every punt. Not only have both gunners been able to play their positions on the team (i.e Jermaine Kearse and Jeremy Lane), but they have both made names for themselves with their kickoff and punt coverage throughout the season. Overall this special teams unit has had an outstanding season thus far. Steven Hauschka again was also perfect as he hit three field goals in the game the longest being 49 yards.
This was a great statement game for the Seahawks as they looked to bounce back from their loss last week against the 49ers. The Seahawks now know what the stadium looks like and feels like as they return home hoping to have a return flight in late January.