Battling Giants

  • By John Boyle Herald Writer
  • Friday, October 7, 2011 12:01am
  • Sports

RENTON — Coaches like to say that past results have no bearing on the next game on the schedule. This weekend, the Seahawks certainly hope that holds true.

Facing the New York Giants last season, Seattle fell behind 35-0 at halftime on the way to 41-7 home loss, and in 2008, the Seahawks lost 44-6 in New York. Both games rank amongst the most lopsided losses in franchise history.

But the good news for Seattle is that, if ever there were a case when the old coach’s cliche should hold true, it is with this weekend’s game in New York. Sure the Giants still have a lot of the same players as they did last year and in 2008, but the Seahawks? They couldn’t be much different than the team that hosted New York last season, let alone the one that went to New York in 2008.

Of the offensive players who started last season’s game, only Marshawn Lynch, Mike Williams and Charlie Whitehurst are on the current active roster, and Whitehurst is a backup. Defensively, there is a little bit more carryover, but there are still just four — or possibly five if Aaron Curry returns to the lineup — current starters who started against the Giants last season: Earl Thomas, Chris Clemons, David Hawthorne, and Marcus Trufant.

“It’s a new team,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said of the Seahawks.

So even though the Seahawks looked utterly hopeless against the Giants a year ago, that won’t be on their minds when they fly east today.

“It has no bearing,” receiver Ben Obomanu said. “A lot of things are changed — personnel wise, and both teams are at different stages. … You never know what this game will bring. It’s different circumstances for both teams, and both teams are still trying to find themselves.”

And while the Seahawks are trying to find themselves as a group of young players, many of whom are new to the team, the Giants are in the process of trying to adjust to plethora of injuries that have hampered them early this season. Yet despite all of those injuries, the Giants are off to a 3-1 start, good for a first-place tie in the tough NFC East.

Most impressive in their quick start has been the play of quarterback Eli Manning, who is putting up some of the best numbers of his impressive career. For years, the knock on Manning has been his penchant for turning the ball over. Since becoming a full-time starter, he has thrown 10 or more interceptions every season, including a career-high 25 last season. This season, however, Manning has thrown just two interceptions compared to eight touchdown, putting him on pace for career bests in both categories. His 105.6 passer rating ranks third in the league behind only Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.

“I’m just trying to make smarter decisions,” Manning said on a conference call. “Trying to throw the ball accurately, put it in the right locations and being confident in my throws then I make them, and not putting them into crowded areas.”

That Manning is playing some of the best football of his career is certainly bad news for the Seahawks, considering the success he has had against Seattle in the past. He has faced Seattle just four times in 108 career starts, yet the most recent two of those games rank among the top nine of his career in terms of passer rating.

“He’s really been sharp,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s just in such great command of their offense. … They’re doing a nice job of not giving the ball up — they had a little trouble last year with a lot of turnovers and they’re not doing that now. So he’s off to a fine start. His rating is over 100 already. He’s really the guy. And when you play him you have to recognize that. If we can’t affect his play then they’re going to be successful, so it’s a big challenge for us.”

Notable

Tight end Zach Miller (knee) practiced fully after sitting out Wednesday. Safety Kam Chancellor (thigh bruise) also returned to action, though on a limited basis. Receiver Mike Williams (concussion) did not practice for the second straight day. Cornerback Marcus Trufant was held out with a back injury. Pete Carroll wasn’t available to the media Thursday, so no update on Trufant was given, but Trufant did practice Wednesday. Trufant missed the first six games of the 2009 season with a back injury.

Herald Writer John Boyle: jboyle@heraldnet.com. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog

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