This was a 23-0 win that could’ve been 50-0.
Seattle completely destroyed the New York Giants. Only penalties and some uncharacteristically poor execution on offense stopped it being a complete blow out.
The main story of the day was the performance of the secondary. Despite missing Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond again, the Seahawks still picked off Eli Manning five times.
It’s worth noting at this point that Manning has been hopeless all year. He has 25 interceptions in 2013 and only 16 touchdowns. He’s had an absolute nightmare.
But it’s not the numbers that matter today. It’s the manner of the picks.
Byron Maxwell had to fight for his pair. He took the ball away from New York — contesting in tight coverage and then ripping it away from the receiver on both occasions. His second interception on a route over the middle flashed everything you want to see — recognising the play, recovery speed and an acrobatic catch.
Top drawer cornerback play.
We all saw in pre-season how good Maxwell could be. He just needed time on the field to prove it.
In 2011 Richard Sherman came into the team and stole a starting position away from Thurmond with his performances. Is Maxwell repeating the act two years later?
Here’s an interesting question — let’s say Browner trains this week. Does he start?
How the heck can you take Maxwell out of the line up playing like this?
He has to stay in there. And if he continues at this high level, he’ll probably be starting in the playoffs.
Manning tried to take him on and quickly realised he wasn’t going to get anywhere. So he challenged Richard Sherman instead.
Yeah, not the best idea.
I’m amazed how many quarterbacks try to beat Sherman with the fade. It’s like an automatic pick. You can see it coming as soon as the ball loops into the air. What are they doing?
Sherman’s second pick came on a hail mary, but he had a big assist on the final interception. The NFL Network did a feature on Sherman earlier in the year. In the piece he talked about tipping a pass to Earl Thomas. It’s something they actively work on.
Fast forward to the 6:30 mark:
How many other defensive backs practise stuff like that? I’d love to know. Either way, it worked for the Seahawks.
Without doubt this team has the best secondary in the league. Athletic, prepared, organised. It’s a nailed on certainty that Sherman and Thomas will get new contracts in the off-season — meaning three out of the four positions will be locked up for the long term.
It’s not just the starters either. Jeremy Lane had another terrific game. On one play on 2nd and 8 with 6:41 left in the third — he completely shut down Victor Cruz leading to an incompletion. Seattle picked up a sack on the next play and forced a punt.
Lane also continues to prove his worth on special teams — and he made a really nice stop on a running back too.
Just another one off the production line for Seattle’s defensive back factory. There isn’t another coaching staff in the league that keeps churning out corners like this.
Here are some other thoughts immediately after the game…
— Red Bryant is quietly having a big year. I’ve noticed in the last few weeks that he’s blowing up a lot of run plays with interior pressure. He really is a crucial part of the defense and still doesn’t get enough credit for me.
— Paul McQuistan gave off a ‘bad game’ vibe but I need to re-watch it. He whiffed in pass protection on one play at left guard to give up a sack and had a false start on 4th and goal to eliminate a likely Marshawn Lynch touchdown. Carroll spoke to him after that flag. I suspect James Carpenter will start to get more and more time at guard.
— In terms of the pass protection overall, there seemed to be a few errors today. Missed assignments, silly mistakes. Having said that, the Giants pass rush did a good job creating pressure.
— If they can afford to do it, Michael Bennett needs a new contract. We say it pretty much every week. Today he opened the second half with a big run stop and then a strip sack. He was constantly causing problems for the Giants’ struggling offensive line.
— Steven Hauschka’s only miss this year was a blocked field goal. Think about that. He’s been sensational.
— Penalties on third down were a big story in the first half — on both sides of the ball. It killed a few drives for Seattle and extended a couple for the Giants. In total the Seahawks were flagged eight more times today. Tidying this up still has to be a priority.
— As I mentioned earlier, for some reason there were little mistakes on offense. Golden Tate dropped a couple (unusual for him), blocks were whiffed and Russell Wilson had his worst decision and throw of the year on his interception. I’m not sure why he forced that one downfield. Rare impatience from Wilson? Whatever it was, it’s something he doesn’t do that often.
— The Percy Harvin will he/won’t he saga has gone beyond boring, but I think they need someone who can just be that X-factor on offense. The last two weeks that’s been evident. Let’s hope he makes it back for the post season.
The Seahawks are 12-2 ahead of two home games to finish. They’re one away from tying the franchise record for wins in a season. They became the first team to shut out the Giants at home for 18 years. And they’re back on top of the NFL as the only team on 12 victories.
This was the best possible way to rebound after last weeks tight defeat in San Francisco.
Now it’s all about taking care of business at home, securing home field advantage and regaining the NFC West title.