Giants defeat Seahawks in Meadowlands

New York tallies over 500 total yards in defeating Seattle 44-6 ending the Hawks' eight-game streak against NFC East opponents.

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Quotable

Linebacker Lofa Tatupu on whether the Seahawks are taking a cue from how the Giants bounced back from an 0-2 start to win the Super Bowl last year:

"Absolutely, that's our attitude, but it's going to have to be a team effort. When they made the commitment to turn it around, you could really tell the difference in their style of play and the way they executed. It can't be just like an every other week thing, they made it happen week after week and that's why they were able to be so successful. It's a choice that everyone has, each one of these guys in this locker room has to step it up and correct all of the little mistakes."

This certainly wasn't the way Seattle Seahawks expected it to be coming off the bye week.

With receivers Deion Branch and Bobby Engram playing in their first game of the season coming off injuries and looking sharp in practice, there were plenty of reasons to believe traveling east to play the New York Giants would be the springboard to get the Seahawks back into the thick of the NFC race.

But if people weren't taking the Giants seriously as contenders to repeat as Super Bowl champions, they'd better take another look. With both teams coming off their bye weeks, the Seahawks ran into a steamroller of an offense, as Eli Manning and the Giants scored the first six times they had the football on their way to a 44-6 victory.

"Well, obviously having (Branch and Engram) back has been fun for the last two weeks," Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. "You know, it's just disappointing to come all this way, and play the way we did. We played very poorly and neither one of those guys are very happy right now. I think as a team, we were just a little in shock, but also we realize that we got a long way to go."

The victory raised the Giants record to 4-0, the only undefeated team in the NFC. The Seahawks dropped to 1-3 – ending their eight-game winning streak against the NFC East.

The Giants took control of the game from their first possession and didn't have a punt until well into the third quarter.

They amassed 523 yards of total offense, while the Seahawks struggled from the get-go with 187 yards. Hasselbeck was hit late on the Seahawks first series, helped off the field with his right knee being attended to. He returned the next series, but it set the tone for the game offensively.

Hasselbeck was done for the day before the third quarter ended, and with the Seahawks trailing 37-6. He seemed buoyed from time to time by the presence of Engram, but still finished the game just 11-of-21 for 105 yards, an interception and a 46.7 quarterback rating. Seneca Wallace finished the game for the Seahawks at quarterback. The most pronounced statistic for the offense was 1-for-11 on third down.

"Well, that was what we call a good old-fashioned you-know-what," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said. "I believe we're a better football team than that, but give the Giants credit.  They really took it to us today.  I think there's only one thing we can do now and that's lick our wounds a little bit and realize that it doesn't get any easier." 

The offense did move the ball on the ground at some points, but not enough as Julius Jones carried the ball 17 times for 61 yards. They fell behind quickly 27-6 by halftime, and then 34-6 after the first series of the second half, so what good runs Jones had didn't make enough of an impact. The consequence was a lack of rhythm – some of it attributable to the Seahawks offense and some to the Giants defense.

"It was a combination," said Engram, who had eight receptions for 61 yards. "But I mean I feel like we just didn't perform, we didn't play well. You've got to give a team credit when they beat you like that, it really doesn't leave a good feeling. They played very well, but at the same time, I feel like we didn't perform nearly as well as we should. I'm speaking in terms of: consistency, making plays, and sticking to our assignments. I mean we didn't make any big plays and we gave up too many of them…that is a recipe for disaster."

Meanwhile, Manning didn't play in the fourth quarter, finishing the game 19-of-25 for 267 yards and touchdown passes of 23 yards to Sinorice Moss and 32 yards to Domenik Hixon. Moss caught his second touchdown of the game with less than six minutes into the fourth quarter, catching a 5-yard touchdown pass from David Carr, who replaced Manning and finished the game for New York.

The Giants had perfect balance in their offense that surpassed 500 yards for the first time this season. Complementing Manning was monstrous running back Brandon Jacobs, who finished the game with 136 yards on 15 carries and a pair of touchdowns, as their 254 yards on the ground echoed the 269 in the air. A lot of it had to do with the Giants veteran offensive line.

"The offensive line played tremendous in every aspect," Manning said. "We ran the ball. We were getting chunks of yardage. And even when we weren't running for 15-20 yards, we were getting 6 yards a pop. You have great rhythm. You don't get stuck in third-and-longs, you don't have to search for a play, you can just call whatever – whether it's a pass or run. We were making it work, and that's when it's fun. You're in rhythm, guys are doing the right things and they're doing it in a timely fashion, and making plays."

John Carney added field goals of 29, 33 and 35 yards to close out the scoring for the Giants, while the Seahawks scoring came in the manner of field goals of 29 and 30 yards from Olindo Mare, who has yet to miss this season.

As Holmgren said, it won't get any easier for the Seahawks, who return home next Sunday to play host to the Green Bay Packers, and then head back out for road games at Tampa Bay and San Francisco to follow.

"I believe we're better than we've played," Holmgren said. "We're a good team that hasn't played up to its potential yet.  When you go up against a good team, they can make you look bad, and that's what the Giants did today.  Having said that, let's do our best.  Everyone has to fix it, coaches and players.  There are any number of statistical analyses of teams that have started this bad and still done OK, but those don't mean much unless you improve the product, and what you're doing on the field.  So that's our goal and then we'll get this one behind us rather quickly, I trust, and get on with Green Bay."


Fourth quarter Insider Point After

Offensive player of the game: In his first game of the year after cracking his shoulder in the first preseason game,Bobby Engram caught 8 passes for 61 yards to lead the Seahawks.

Defensive player of the game: Josh Wilson was all over the field for the Seahawks, not only returning eight kickoffs, but recording a team-high 11 tackles.

Special teams player of the game: KickerOlindo Mare continuing his unerring ways as the place-kicker, converting field goals of 29 and 30 yards. For the season, Mare has made all nine of his field goal attempts and is 8-for-8 on extra points as well.

Although Manning and Jacobs didn't play in the fourth quarter, it didn't stop the Giants from driving right back down the field on a seven-play, 77-yard with*Carr now playing quarterback andAhmad Bradshaw* running the football. Bradshaw caused most of the damage, with six carries – the big on a 32-yard burst when he broke numerous tackles. Carr topped off the drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Sinorice Moss, extending the lead to 44-6 with 9:25 left in the game.

Third quarter

Manning and the Giants offense picked right up where they started the game, scoring on their sixth consecutive possession to begin the second half.*They drove 80 yards on six plays, with Jacobs rambling 50 yards on three carries, including a 38-yarder. And Manning capped the drive with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Moss.* So just three minutes into the second half, and the Giants had expanded their lead to 34-6.

On the second series, however, the Seahawks defense held the Giants to just three plays and former Seahawks punter Jeff Feagles – now with the Giants – punted for the first time all day and gave the Seahawks the ball on their own 31.

With Hasselbeck clearly regaining confidence with Engram, they crossed midfield and facing a third-and-5 from the New York 40. This time Kevin Dockery stepped in front of Engram and returned the interception 44 yards to the Seattle 31.

With the help of a holding call and some timely blitzing, the defense held, and Carney came on to convert his third field goal of the game for the Giants – this one 35 yards – to make it 37-6 with 1:38 left in the third quarter.

Branch did not return to the game after injuring his right foot in the first half, and by the final series of the third quarter, Holmgren elected to replace quarterback Hasselbeck with Wallace. There was no indication that the move was related to the right knee Hasselbeck apparently tweaked in the first quarter, but rather the 31-point deficit.

Second quarter Insider at the Half

Giants 27, Seahawks 6

Giants quarterback Eli Manning had a career-best half, completing 15-of-18 passes for 224 yards and a 32-yard touchdown pass to Domenik Hixon. The 342 yards amassed by the Giants in the half accounted for the most of any team in the NFL this season, including 18 first downs. Brandon Jacobs rushed for 78 yards on 10 carries, including touchdowns of 1 and 3 yards. John Carney converted field goals of 33 and 30 yards.

Matt Hasselbeck, shaking off an injured right knee on the first series, was 9-of-17 for 82 yards, while Julius Jones carried the ball 10 times for 36 yards. Olindo Mare accounted for all the Seahawks points, with field goals of 29 and 30 yards.

Turning point: The Seahawks had the Giants stuck on their 9-yard line to begin their first possession, but New York responded by going 91 yards on four plays – a 9-yard flat pass from Manning to Jacobs, a 6-yard run from Jacobs an then a 44-yard run from Jacobs. Manning completed the 4-play, 91-yard drive with a 32-yard touchdown pass to Domenik Hixon. The Giants scored on all five series.

Play of the half: Manning stepped up to avoid a blitz on the second series and hit Amani Toomer with a 29-yard pass to the Seahawks 3, setting up Jacobs' first touchdown .

Finally, Manning threw an incompletion to start the second quarter on third down, forcing the Giants to settle for a 29-yard field goal from Carney. Nonetheless, it completed a five-play, 48-yard drive. That translated to the Giants leading 17-3 just 10 seconds into the second quarter.

The quarter may have changed, but the momentum didn't. After the Seahawks failed to move the football, the Giants took over on their own 28. This time, it was a masterful 11-play, 73-yard drive that ate up 6:24 off the clock. Mostly it was Jacobs with six runs, and Manning picking his spots completing 5-of-6. As it was, Jacobs took it in from the 1-yard line; the Giants had scored in their first four possessions, and led 24-3 midway through the second quarter. They faced only one third down on the drive and two during the first four drives.

The half wrapped up with the Giants adding a fifth score on its fifth possessions, as Carney converted a 33-yard field goal with less than a minute left in the half. That extended the lead to 27-3.

The Seahawks made one last effort, benefiting from a pair of facemask penalties – the latter with seven seconds left - that allowed Mare to boot a second 30-yard field goal to end the half and cut the margin to 27-6.

First quarter

On the Seahawks first play from scrimmage, quarterback Hasselbeck hit Branch, in his first game back after nine months recovering from knee surgery, for a 17-yard gain. Three plays later, following an incomplete pass that Billy McMullen couldn't hang on to, Hasselbeck was on the ground writhing in pain – holding his right knee. He was sandwiched after the throw. He hobbled off the field with the help of trainer Sam Ramsden.

After Jon Ryan stuck the Giants on their 9-yard line, the Giants offense exploded. Manning hit 6-4, 264-pound running back Jacobs for a 9-yard gain in the flat and Jacobs got the first down on a 6-yard blast up the middle. And as if that wasn't enough, Jacobs followed that up by bolting 44 yards off left tackle, the touchdown saving tackle made by Brian Russell. But on the next play, Manning hit Hixon down the left sideline – despite a penalty for illegal use of the hands on Kelly Jennings - for the 32-yard touchdown. That gave the Giants a 7-0 lead with 11:21 left in the first quarter.

Fortunately, Hasselbeck returned to the game on the ensuing series, and led the Seahawks right down the field – with the benefit of a personal foul penalty – to the 12-yard line. Jones ran well, and Hasselbeck completed passes to Branch and Engram. But Branch couldn't hang on to a great throw between two defenders, and the Seahawks settled for a 30-yard field goal from Mare. That cut the Giants margin to 7-3 with 7:09 remaining in the opening quarter.

But not for long.

Manning was nothing short of perfect as the Giants marched 75 yards on just six plays, with three completions that covered 55 yards to Amani Toomer. Hixon began the drive with a 15-yard run on an end around, and Jacobs finished it with a 3-yard touchdown. So with still 3:39 left in the first quarter, the Seahawks were now staring at a 14-3 deficit.

Three plays later the Giants got the ball back, with Manning and Hixon continued their magic. They collaborated for a 41-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage to the Seahawks 18. The quarter ended with the Giants facing a third-and-3 from the Seahawks 11 and leading 14-3. For the quarter, Manning was 7-of-7 for 145 yards passing and Jacobs had four carries for 55 yards. The Giants had 214 total yards compared to 63 for the Seahawks. Incredibly enough, the Giants had the ball just 36 seconds more than the Seahawks 7:48 to 7:12.

This and that

Considering Matt Hasselbeck was on the ground clutching his right knee following the third play from scrimmage Sunday, everyone on and around the team was thankful despite the final score.

"I think I'm alright. I dodged a bullet, I think, so I'm not overly concerned with that," Hasselbeck said after the game. "I hyper-extended my knee. As I was hyper-extending, I was able to twist with it. And so I don't know exactly what's wrong. The doctors didn't seem too concerned. I think we're going to do the normal scans. But I'm not too concerned about it."

Starting left corner Kelly Jennings suffered a concussion in the first quarter and did not return and Josh Wilson ended up leading the team with 11 tackles. Jennings' status will be updated as the week progresses. Leroy Hill was second with 9 tackles and Brian Russell followed with 8. Wilson also had a career-high eight kickoff returns. … Brandon Coutu, Mansfield Wrotto, Red Bryant, Courtney Taylor and Baraka Atkins were inactive for the Seahawks, as were Koren Robinson and Maurice Morris – both of whom were held out to rest their still questionable knees. Charlie Frye served as the third quarterback. … The Seahawks received the opening kickoff, with Josh Wilson and T.J. Duckett deep. … Deion Branch started at flanker instead of Keary Colbert, and Billy McMullen started at split end. Branch caught a 17-yard pass from Matt Hasselbeck on the first play from scrimmage. Bobby Engram came in on the second play and there was an incompletion. Branch injured his right foot in the opening half and did not play after intermission. He missed four games last season with a foot injury… As expected, Eli Manning's favorite receiver Plaxico Burress did not dress due to his suspension by coach Tom Coughlin for failing to show up or call the Monday after the Giants win over the Bengals two weeks ago. There was a settlement over his fine, however. Domenik Hixon started in his place. The talented third-year wide receiver played with Charlie Frye at Akron. Entering the game, Manning had won 17 of his last 21 starts. … Entering the game, the Giants are 2-3 under Coughlin and 5-11 since 1990 after the bye week. The Seahawks are 2-8 under coach Mike Holmgren, who had never previously lost to Coughlin as a head coach whether Holmgren was at Green Bay or Seattle, or Coughlin was head coach in New York or Jacksonville until Sunday.

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