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Rapid Reaction: Special Teams Steps To The Plate And Feasts 

Notes and takeaways from a Week 8 Win against the New York Giants.

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The Seahawks and Giants were locked in a low-scoring, defensive battle when Geno Smith and the offense took the field in a 13-13 tie early in the fourth quarter. Five plays later, all Smith completions, Tyler Lockett was in the end zone with a 33-yard touchdown reception that helped break open a close game, and that put an exclamation mark on a rollercoaster of a day for Lockett.

From there, the Seahawks got rolling, a defense that had been great all day—and for three weeks for that matter—did its thing, and the Seahawks finished off a 27-13 victory that improved their record to 5-3, and that handed the Giants just their second loss of the season.

Here are seven rapid reactions to Sunday's win, which helped the Seahawks stay in first place in the NFC West:

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1. The Seahawks defensive turnaround appears to be legit.

If ever there was a play that helped illustrate the improvements Seattle has made on defense in the past few weeks, it came in the second quarter when Giants running back Saquon Barkley accelerated through the hole on a well blocked play, got out into the open, then was tripped up by Quandre Diggs for a 9-yard gain. A few weeks ago, when the Seahawks were giving up big plays at an alarming rate, that play likely would have gone for a huge gain. Yes, the Giants got a first down on the next play, but they would punt no long after, one of their five punts in the first half.

And for the Seahawks defense, there was a lot more than one play showing just how far that unit has come since giving up a lot of points and yards in a three-game stretch that featured losses ot Atlanta and New Orleans and a shootout win over Detroit.

The Seahawks forced three-and-outs on the Giants first three possessions, with New York not getting a single first down until the second quarter. For the first half, the Giants had 46 yards, three first downs and were 1 for 6 on third down.

New York did move the ball better in the second half, but the defense was able to hold the Giants to field goals on both of their long scoring drives, and the only touchdown they managed all day came after taking over at the 2-yard line following a turnover.

Of all the things that jumped out in an all-around great effort from the defense, nothing was more impressive than the job the Seahawks did against Barkley, who came into the game with 726 rushing yards, the second most in the NFL, and had gone over 100 yards in three games. In this game, Barkley managed just 53 yards, a season low, on 20 carries.

2. Tyler Lockett made up for uncharacteristic miscues with a massive touchdown.

Tyler Lockett has barely practiced the past two weeks due to injury and was a game-day decision, and perhaps that all factored into a couple of very costly miscues for someone who is normally one of Seattle's most dependable players.

First, Lockett fumbled with the Seahawks backed up near their goal line, a turnover that gave the ball to the Giants at the 2-yard line, leading to their only touchdown of the game. Later, Lockett dropped a sure touchdown on a beautifully thrown deep ball, an incredibly unusual occurrence for one of the NFL's best pass catchers.

After the Giants tied the score at 13-13 following that drop, which led to the Seahawks settling to a field goal, the Seahawks quickly marched down the field, with Smith completing all five pass attempts for 75 yards, the last of which was a 33-yard touchdown pass to Lockett, who got open by using a double move to blow past cornerback Adoree Jackson, the same player who stripped the ball from Lockett and recovered the fumble earlier in the game.

3. Fourth-down aggressiveness paid off.

In a first half in which both teams struggled to move the ball and score point, Pete Carroll decided to get aggressive on a second-quarter drive as the Seahawks got into the red zone, and the move paid off.

First, the Seahawks were looking at fourth-and-1 while in field goal range, but rather than kick the offensive stayed on the field, and on a well-designed play, Smith his Lockett for a short gain to keep the drive going. Soon after that, the Seahawks faced fourth-and-2, and again the field goal unit stayed on the sideline, and this time the Seahawks converted when Smith threw a shovel pass to Will Dissly.

Eventually, the Seahawks capitalized on those two fourth-down conversions, with Smith hitting DK Metcalf in the back of the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown.

4. Special teams came through with some big plays.

For a stretch this season, the Seahawks were hurting themselves with some very costly miscues on special teams, four of which led to touchdowns for their opponents. In Sunday's victory, however, the Seahawks made some big things happen in their favor on special teams.

Most notably, the Seahawks forced two turnovers on punts, the first of which led to a field goal and the second of which set up the fourth-quarter touchdown that all but put the game on ice. Will Dissly had the forced fumble on the first turnover with rookie Joey Blount recovering, then in the fourth quarter with the game still very much up in the air, Travis Homer, just back from injured reserve, knocked the ball loose from Richie James, and Dissly came up with the recovery. Two plays later, Kenneth Walker III scored from 16-yards out to give the Seahawks a two-touchdown lead.

5. Bruce Irvin was a nuisance in the Giants backfield.

Less than a month after signing to the practice squad, Bruce Irvin was activate for his second game with the team that drafted him a decade ago, and the soon-to-be 35-year-old showed he still has a lot left in the tank.

Pete Carroll said during the week was to get Irvin more involved than when he made his debut last week, and with out with a hip injury for nearly the entire game, Irvin's role was even bigger than he or his coaches probably envisioned coming into the game. And with those extra snaps, Irvin showed he can still be a headache to opposing offenses. While Irvin didn't record a sack, he was in the backfield often pressuring Daniel Jones, and he also turned in one of the game's more memorable plays, slamming into Jones on a running play, knocking the quarterback back into Barkley for an 8-yard loss.

Officially, Irvin finished the game with two tackles, one for a loss, but his impact was much greater than those numbers would indicate.

6. Uchenna Nwosu has been a great signing.

Outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu has been one Seattle's best defensive players all season, if not the best, and once again he came through with a big performance in a win, this time recording six tackle, two sacks, a forced fumble, and even some solid coverage some 30 yards down the field while covering Barkley down the sideline on an pass that went incomplete.

7. Ryan Neal had another great game, but left with an injury.

A week after playing arguably the best game of his career, Ryan Neal had another standout performance in a win. Unfortunately for Neal and the Seahawks, he left the game with an injury in the fourth quarter.

Prior to that injury, however, Neal was all over the field, getting two third-down stops on those early three-and-outs, including a tackle for loss on a screen pass to Barkley, and he finished the game with six tackles and two tackles for a loss.

Check out some of the best action shots from Seahawks vs. Giants at Lumen Field on October 30, 2022. Game action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery.

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