What we learned: Seahawks 36, Giants 25
Posted by Danny O'Neil
Three things we learned
- Seattle's offense is quickly improving.
Extra emphasis on the word "quickly." That has been key to Seattle's offense sparking to life. It's all about tempo. Seattle is at its best when it's playing fast. Everyone wondered whether Seattle's second-half success against Atlanta was a fluke borne as much out of the Falcons' satisfaction with their first-half success as Seattle's shift to the no-huddle offense. Well, that hypothesis was disproven in the first half. The Giants knew Seattle would be using a hurry-up offense, New York prepared for the Seahawks to go without a huddle and all that saved the Giants from a double-digit halftime deficit was the fact Seattle turned the ball over twice in the red zone.
- Charlie Whitehurst isn't an instant upgrade at quarterback.
Sunday's game showed there isn't some sort of steep dropoff from starter Tarvaris Jackson to the backup, Whitehurst. Whitehurst led three second-half scoring drives, including one for the go-ahead touchdown. But Whitehurst is not necessarily better than Jackson. That sounds like a criticism; it's not. Whitehurst played well enough to win, he avoided backbreaking mistakes, but he was also pretty quick to bail on a play and throw the ball out of bounds. He throws a beautiful deep ball, but there are times that he appears gun shy. The Seahawks haven't kept an offensive messiah parked on the bench. He was adequate Sunday and roughly the equivalent of Jackson.
- Chris Clemons needs to be mentioned with league's top pass rushers.
He's earned that. He led the Seahawks in sacks with 11 last season, but with four sacks in five games this season, he demonstrated his career-year wasn't a one-time deal. Did you see how quick he got around Giants tackle Will Beatty? He was flying off the edge, and he not only stripped the ball from quarterback Eli Manning to force one Giants turnover, but his pair of sacks certainly contributed to making Manning uncomfortable in the pocket.
Three things we already knew
- Undrafted Doug Baldwin is uncanny.
It's usually not a good sign when an undrafted rookie is leading the team in receptions. But undrafted rookies aren't usually as proficient as Doug Baldwin. He has caught 20 passes so far this season, most of any Seahawk. Cincinnati's A.J. Green and Atlanta's Julio Jones are the only two rookies who've caught more passes this season, and they were both top-10 picks. Baldwin has a great feel for coverages and incredible toughness in going up to get a ball. If he keeps up this kind of production, he's going to challenge Joey Galloway's franchise records for receptions as a rookie.
- The Seahawks don't have a shut-down secondary.
Eli Manning threw for 420 yards, the second-highest passing total given up by Seattle since 1998. Cornerback Brandon Browner's interception saved the Seahawks' victory, but Seattle must find improvements in that pass defense. Seattle has ranked in the bottom six teams in the league in pass yardage allowed for each of the previous three years and the absence of cornerback Marcus Trufant this week because of a back injury probably isn't going to help matters.
- Seattle's run defense is legit.
Sure, the Giants were missing Brandon Jacobs, but Ahmad Bradshaw has been effective for them, and the quickest way to slow Seattle's hurry-up offense was to dominate time of possession. Didn't happen. Seattle was so stout up front the Giants had to take to the air.
Three things we're still trying to figure out
- How severe is Tarvaris Jackson's injury?
Coach Pete Carroll said it was a mild pectoral strain, but Seattle's quarterback left the locker room Sunday with his right arm pretty much immobilized. He's a tough guy. The fact that he was knocked out of that game speaks to how much pain he was in. A pec injury can be season-ending if the tear is severe enough, and Seattle having a bye eases some of the pressure to answer his availability right away.
- How did Marshawn Lynch manage to play so well Sunday?
Could have been illness or perhaps it was the heat. He had to get an IV, and was seen vomiting on the sidelines. And with Seattle running that hurry-up offense, he figured to have very limited opportunities yet he rushed for 98 yards, his most in any regular-season start for Seattle. His 47-yard run in the first quarter was Seattle's longest regular-season run from scrimmage since Julius Jones' 62-yard touchdown run in Week 1 2009. Hard to imagine someone playing so well while feeling so sick.
- Just how Seattle came up with all those turnovers?
The Seahawks had just two takeaways in their first four games, which ranked No. 31 in the league. The Giants had committed only four turnovers in four games, tied for fourth-fewest. Well, Seattle then went out and forced more turnovers in four quarters than the Giants had committed in their first four games, picking off three passes and recovering two fumbles.
Dec 24 - 6:10 AM Looking back: Revisiting Sunday's scouting report
Dec 24 - 1:09 AM Seahawks' scoring binge
Dec 24 - 1:01 AM Video: Summing Seattle's victory
Dec 24 - 12:58 AM Video: Russell Wilson post-game comments
Dec 24 - 12:21 AM Rookie passing roll call