Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 24-3 victory over the New York Giants on Monday night at MetLife Stadium:
For such a one-sided game, Seattle’s offense didn’t do a whole lot. Seattle gained just 281 yards, wasn’t much of a threat with either the run or the pass, and continued to struggle on third down (3-for-12). It certainly didn’t help that quarterback Geno Smith suffered a knee injury in the second quarter, and although he returned after halftime he wasn’t his usual effective self. Twice in the third quarter Seattle could have put the game away, but the Seahawks came away with no points despite good field position. If the offense had found any kind of rhythm the final score would have been ugly.
Hard for a defense to do much more. The Seahawks tied a franchise record with 11 sacks, and this was a unit that managed just five through the first three games. Seattle allowed New York into the red zone just once, and when the Giants did finally drive into scoring position late in the third quarter, Seattle rookie cornerback Devon Witherspoon intercepted a pass at the goal line and returned it 97 yards for a touchdown. The Seahawks’ first TD was also a product of the defense as a forced fumble by Mario Edwards Jr. and recovery by Jordyn Brooks left the offense needing just seven yards for a score. And Witherspoon looks like a coming star.
A mostly solid performance by Seattle’s special teams was made to look much better when compared to the Giants, whose special teams were a disaster. Michael Dickson didn’t actually have his best day punting, but his numbers look great on the stat sheet because the Giants’ returners kept letting the ball bounce and roll inside the 20. Kicker Jason Myers yanked a 53-yard field-goal attempt wide, but made all his other kicks. Returner DeeJay Dallas has improved considerably from past years, and one 23-yard punt return set up the Seahawks in great field position. This mark is better if graded on a curve.
Pete Carroll and his staff deserve tremendous credit for two things. First, the coaches were forced to improvise with the secondary coming into the game because of injuries to cornerbacks, then were forced to improvise everywhere when players started dropping like flies in the first half. They made it work. Second, defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt recognized New York’s limitations due to a makeshift offensive line and never gave Giants quarterback Daniel Jones any time to throw. And even though it didn’t work out, it was fun to see the normally conservative Carroll go for it on fourth down when a field goal was a gimme.
There was so much hand wringing when the Seahawks lost their opener to the Los Angeles Rams. But those worries are long gone after winning three straight heading into the bye. OK, the caliber of Monday’s competition may not have been high, especially with Giants star running back Saquon Barkley out injured. But while the offense never got out of second gear, the defense is looking better every week. The concern is whether the victory was Pyrrhic, given the number of injuries sustained during the game (Jamal Adams, Damien Lewis, Jarran Reed, etc.). The Week 5 bye may have drawn groans from the Seahawks when the schedule was first announced, but it may end up coming at a needed time for Seattle.
– Nick Patterson, Herald writer