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Game at a glance: Seahawks 23, Giants 0

Posted Dec 15, 2013

The NFL’s No. 1-ranked defense came up with its most dominating performance of the season in a 23-0 victory over the Giants on Sunday to lift the Seahawks to 12-2 and a club-record sixth road victory.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – A recap of the Seahawks’ 23-0 victory over the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on Sunday:

PLAYERS OF THE GAME: THE SEAHAWKS DEFENSE

Cop out? No, just giving credit where it’s definitely deserved. And this was a full-unit, start-to-finish definition of dominance by coordinator Dan Quinn’s group.

There were the numbers:

Five interceptions, two each by All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman and cornerback Byron Maxwell and one by All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas – in the end zone on a pass Sherman tipped.

Four sacks, including 1.5 by middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, one each by tackles Michael Bennett and Jordan Hill and half-a-sack by Leo end Cliff Avril – giving him eight for the season.

The Giants had 181 total yards, and only 25 rushing – on 14 carries for a 1.8-yard average.

There were the words:

“It was a complete game (by the defense),” coach Pete Carroll said. “The run (defense) was there all day long. It was there all day long, all phases. One out of 10 on third down. Sacking the quarterback. It was as complete a game as we’ve had here.” 

“When we have bad performances like that, of course it hurts. It hurts hard,” Thomas said of last week’s two-point loss to the 49ers in San Francisco. “But that doesn’t define us. And we know that. That’s why we came back and we won like we did today. At any moment in the NFL you can get beat. So we knew this game was one of those set-up games if we’re not on it. And we definitely were focused.”

Then there was this bottom-line indication of just how dominating the defense was in pitching its first shutout of the season, first since last Dec. 9 against the Arizona Cardinals (58-0) at CenturyLink Field and 18th in franchise history: The Giants had 14 possessions. Five ended on interceptions, eight with punts and the last as time expired.

UNSUNG HERO: CLINTON McDONALD

McDonald got the start at the three-technique defensive tackle spot because Tony McDaniel was “violently ill,” as Carroll described it. In the latest example of the next-man-up mentality and approach that has served the Seahawks so well all season, McDonald helped finished off the Giants.

“Clint started, he was active again. He’s had a fantastic year for us,” Carroll said. “There was a while back we let him go (on the roster cut to 53 players). He’ll tell you his world changed a little bit when he came back. He’s been a real big factor for us.”

PLAYS OF THE GAME

Offense: Marshawn Lynch’s 2-yard TD. If anyone ever asks how he got the nickname Beast Mode, just cue up the video of this run. As many as five Giants had a chance to prevent Lynch from getting into the end zone for his 11th rushing TD. Obviously, none succeeded. But it wasn’t for a lack of trying.

Defense: The end-zone interception by Thomas. First, because of where it happened, to help preserve the shutout. Second, because of how it happened, with one All-Pro (Sherman) tipping the ball up to allow another (Thomas) the opportunity to pilfer the pass.

“That’s why you can tell Earl is everywhere, because it wasn’t one-high (coverage),” Sherman said. “It wasn’t one-high at all. The back stayed in and that was his man and he just sprinted to where the ball was. I played inside (for the slant) and I saw him going for the fade (route), and I just started slowing down so the ball would be in catchable range. So I put my eyes up and I knew it was going to be a jump-ball situation. And I know Earl or Kam (Chancellor, the strong safety) are on their way at all times. They’re speeding somewhere to the vicinity, so I tried to tip it up with enough air for somebody to get under it. And Earl got under it.”

Special teams: Jeremy Lane downing a Jon Ryan punt at the 5-yard line. Lane might be the nickel back with Walter Thurmond serving the third game of his league-imposed four-game suspension, but obviously has not forgotten what got him on the roster in the first place. Lane also had two coverage tackles, pushing his team-high total to 11.

INJURY REPORT

Lane got a stinger, but other than that Carroll said, “We’re in pretty good shape.”

WORTH NOTING

Russell Wilson continued his rampage through the record book. Sunday’s win was the 23rd of his career, giving him the most of any NFL QB in their first two seasons. His 12-yard TD pass to Doug Baldwin was the 50th of his career, making him only the third QB in NFL history to have 50 in his first two seasons along with Dan Marino (68) and Peyton Manning (52).

The win was the Seahawks’ 12th this season, tying them with the 1984 team for the second-most in franchise history – one behind the 2005 team in its run to the Super Bowl.

The win also was the Seahawks’ franchise-record sixth on the road, one more than the 1984 and 2005 teams.

The win also lifted the Seahawks’ record in 10 a.m. PT starts to 4-1.

Wagner had a game-high 10 tackles, increasing his season-leading total to 99.

Sherman had two interceptions after going five games without one. Thomas got his end-zone pick after going six games without one. Maxwell, meanwhile, has three interceptions in the past two games.

Lynch had more receiving yards (73 on six catches) than rushing yards (47 on 16 carries), only the second time this season and fifth time since joining the Seahawks in 2010 that has happened.

The Seahawks need a win over the Cardinals next week or the St. Louis Rams in their regular-season finale to clinch the NFC West for the second time in four seasons under Carroll. A win in either week would also clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. 

YOU DON’T SAY

“That’s what we want to be known as. We want to be known as a great home team, but also road warriors.” – All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman on the franchise-record sixth road win

Game Rewind: Seattle Seahawks