The Seattle Seahawks have a reputation for weirdness, particularly in prime-time. We got a whole bunch of weirdness in the opening quarter, which usually sets us up for the maddeningly close finish between Seattle and the opposition. Instead, we got a mauling of the New York Giants offense to offset some of the struggles of a depleted Seahawks offense, and a comfortable 24-3 win in front of an irritated fanbase at Metlife Stadium. They have had two home games, both on national TV, and have been outscored 64-3 and Daniel Jones has been treated like a human pinata.
Let’s get to Winners and Losers, which will be light on losers in a game that the Seahawks led by double digits for more than half the night.
That was one of the great performances I can recall from any Seahawks secondary player, let alone a rookie. Witherspoon showcased why he was coveted by Seattle and the team took him at No. 5 overall. Multiple tackles for loss, a pair of sacks, a pass defensed, a 97-yard dagger pick-six, and just tremendous instincts going after ball-carriers and after the ball in general. And to think, Witherspoon was the nickel tonight because of Artie Burns and Coby Bryant injuries, so all of the complaints about playing him in the slot look funny in hindsight.
Take a bow, rookie. Take a bow. You just did someone no other corner in NFL history has ever done.
Rookies in NFL history with at least two sacks and a pick-six in the same game. Devon Witherspoon is the first defensive back to do it -- ever. pic.twitter.com/NNEUPczevT— Doug Farrar ✍ (@NFL_DougFarrar) October 3, 2023
The whole damn defense
What complaints could you really have? We’re talking 11 sacks, 3 turnovers, 3.4 yards per play, and 3 points allowed. The pass rush had Daniel Jones under siege, and Clint Hurtt seemed very willing to blitz more than he usually does. They gave up a couple of chunk plays to Matt Breida as a receiving back, but otherwise the Giants had very few easy yards. Julian Love had his best game as a Seahawk, Quandre Diggs got his center field pick, and Riq Woolen dropped what should’ve been his first pick.
Bobby Wagner can still blitz and he picked up a couple of sacks. Boye Mafe continues his second-year surge, Derick Hall forced a turnover off a pressure, Mario Edwards Jr has been a great cheap addition to the defensive line, Dre’Mont Jones and Jarran Reed were wreaking havoc, Uchenna Nwosu got his first sacks of the season, Myles Adams got his first career sack, and the run defense continues to look much improved from last season’s mess.
Is the Giants offense terrible? Yes. But if the Seahawks defense was really bad they would’ve failed to take advantage of this situation. Tonight was an ass-whoopin’ tag team of the highest order. Kudos to Clint Hurtt and the staff for this effort.
Lock’s first regular season drive as a Seahawks quarterback ended in a touchdown. He had a couple of off-target throws but both of his completions were for first downs, and that throw to Noah Fant after recognizing and avoiding pressure resulted in the longest offensive play of the season. Drew did his job while Geno was getting worked on, and that helped guide Seattle to victory.
Did... did I see YAC?! By a Seahawks receiver?! Yes, yes I did. That was outstanding work by Fant to get the first down, avoid stepping out of bounds, and rumble his way a hair shy of his first touchdown of the season. We didn’t see a lot of tight ends targets tonight, but we did get the biggest play out of one of them.
Only two returns on the night but Dallas had a 30-yard kick return to start the 2nd half and a 23-yard punt return later on in the game. This is arguably the best he’s looked as a return man, and he’s looking more decisive with the ball in his hands.
Technically speaking, Metcalf caught all 4 of his targets, but one of them he was out of bounds so it goes down as an incomplete pass. His “late hands” diving catch for the 1st quarter touchdown was terrific, and it’s very clear that Metcalf has improved his hands catching this season.
Ken Walker and Zach Charbonnet
Won’t go down as a super efficient day, but Walker and Charbonnet combined for 23 touches, 119 yards, and Walker rushed for his 5th touchdown on the season. Considering the makeshift offensive line that was out there it’s a lot more impressive upon further review.
Not sure I’ve put him in any column this year but he had four punts and three of them were downed inside the 20, and one of them at the New York 2-yard line. Contrast the Seahawks special teams (even with Jason Myers’ current struggles) with the Giants, who committed an alarmingly high number of penalties as a kicking team and muffed a punt.
Not a good night for Curhan, who gave up both sacks to Kayvon Thibodeaux and wiped out a first down by being illegally downfield. I don’t want to be overly harsh because he’s done great work over the past two weeks, but this is also why you don’t want the backup tackles in there for weeks at a time. The offensive line still performed relatively well given the additional injuries suffered in this game, but it wasn’t Curhan’s best night.
Just 5 yards on 3 catches for the Ohio State rookie, and once again Shane Waldron insists on using him primarily at the line of scrimmage. If that’s the case then healthy scratch him, because this isn’t worth wasting plays. With that said, he got some deeper targets from Drew Lock and he had a drop (albeit on a difficult throw) and the other pass was behind him. Let’s see what happens after the bye and if JSN’s usage is a lot different than this uninspired stuff.
3rd Down Offense
Funnily enough, the biggest play of the night came on 3rd down when Lock hit Fant on the catch-and-run, but it’s a 3-for-12 performance and the Seahawks’ woes continue in this category. Too many 3rd and long situations occurring, and then even in short yardage I think Zach Charbonnet needs to get some of Ken Walker’s carries when they want a bruiser. That’s a real concern because Seattle won’t get to face awful offenses every week.
Another missed field goal from 50+ for Myers, putting him at 8/12 on the season. He had a great game against the Carolina Panthers but I think there is still reason to be concerned about his overall performance.
- Geno Smith I thought was going to have a good game before the injury, and we ended up with a pretty tepid 110 yards passing from him. There was one near pick-6 by Thibodeaux on a screen pass that would’ve gone down as just a great individual play. The TD to DK was a dime and he had a beautiful deep crosser to Tyler Lockett, but this was one of those games where the bare minimum on offense was acceptable. Evidently Geno got a flag for pointing at the Giants sideline over Isaiah Simmons’ hit on him, which... yeah. I can get why Smith was steamed over the hit.
- It’s hard not to feel for Jamal Adams. He worked his ass off to get back on the field, almost sacked Daniel Jones on his first series, and ended it by getting concussed on an inadvertent knee to the head. Apparently it’s not too serious of a concussion, and while I understand it’s not a good look for him to be yelling at the neurologist on the sideline, he was woozy and wobbly and that only strengthened the reason not to put him back in.
- Darrell Taylor got faked out badly on a 3rd down conversion when Daniel Jones had a read-option keeper and kept it. Taylor blew contain by chasing Matt Breida, and Jones got the first down. There’s a reason he’s losing snaps when Mafe and Derick Hall are healthy.
- Seattle had 8 accepted penalties and for the most part, they were legit. That is something that must be tidied up after the bye because they could’ve ended this game a lot sooner if not for some sloppy mistakes.
- Brian Daboll leaving Daniel Jones in there to get beaten up some more is damn near a sabotage effort. Might as well just bench him instead of risk his organs getting turned into pretzels. That’s twice he’s done that, and I suspect the Giants already regret that contract extension.
- We had a night of firsts: Cody Thompson’s first NFL catch, Myles Adams’ first NFL sack, Devon Witherspoon’s first sack and interception, and Mario Edwards’ first Seahawks sack.
- I don’t want to downplay Seattle winning comfortably on the road. You have to go back to 2018 for their last road win by 20+ points, and that was a neutral-site London game so you effectively need to rewind to 2015 for the last road win by a margin that large. We’re used to the Seahawks pissing these games away or leaving it to the final minutes, but not on this occasion. Savor these wins because they ain’t all gonna be pretty.
- Seattle could’ve folded up in Detroit and fallen to 0-2. That win really may be a turning point for the season, because the Seahawks have gotten off the canvas and responded with three straight wins before a much-needed bye. They need to stack victories before that gauntlet that is the 49ers twice, Cowboys, and Eagles in the span of a month. Now it’s all about healing up this week and then heading back out on the road against a reeling Cincinnati Bengals team that, for all we know, may end up starting Jake Browning that afternoon.