EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ. — The Seattle Seahawks defense shined as they beat the New York Giants, 24-3, at MetLife Stadium on Monday night. Giants QB Daniel Jones turned the ball over three times and was sacked 10 times.
It wasn’t all great for the Seahawks as safety Jamal Adams was lost early in the first quarter after being evaluated for a concussion. It was his first game back since he suffered a left torn quad tendon in last season’s opening game.
This season marks the 10-year anniversary of the 2013 Seahawks team that won Super Bowl XLVIII, a feat that seems like longer than a decade ago given all the suspect defense Seattle has played of late.
But on Monday night, in the same stadium where they claimed their lone Lombardi Trophy, they turned back the clock and delivered a dominant defensive performance reminiscent of that 43-8 trouncing of the Denver Broncos.
Eleven sacks. Three takeaways plus a pair of turnovers on downs. Only a field goal allowed.
Eat your heart out, Legion of Boom.
Cornerback Devon Witherspoon, the high-flying rookie cornerback whose aggressive style would have fit right in with the LOB, helped turn a close game into a runaway victory for Seattle with a 97-yard pick-six in the third quarter.
The Seahawks are 3-1 despite a long list of injuries, and they appeared to dodge another serious one when Geno Smith briefly left the game after hurting his knee. Teams usually don’t like byes in Week 5, but the Seahawks won’t complain about that right now.
Buy on a breakout performance: This was already shaping up to be Witherspoon’s breakout before his pick-six. He had a sack of Jones on a blitz and was credited with another sack on a backwards pass. His touchdown came at a clutch time, with the Giants knocking on the door of a score that could have cut Seattle’s lead to three points. The Seahawks were second-guessed left and right after taking Witherspoon fifth overall instead of Jalen Carter, who would have filled their most glaring need. But in addition to their concerns with Carter the person, they also thought Witherspoon was the better player. Time will tell there, of course, but Witherspoon’s immense talent is starting to shine after a slow start.
Promising trend: Eleven sacks is a beyond promising development for Seattle’s pass-rush. It had been inconsistent over the first three games before exploding against the Giants. The 11 sacks tied a franchise record and more than doubled their combined total (five) heading into Monday night’s game. Bobby Wagner, Jordyn Brooks, Witherspoon and Uchenna Nwosu all had two sacks apiece.
QB breakdown: Smith hadn’t missed a snap in his first 21 games as the Seahawks’ starter until he went down with a knee injury in the second quarter on a sideline tackle. He returned for the start of the second half and finished 13 of 20 for 110 yards and a touchdown. Drew Lock went 2 of 6 for 63 yards in relief, including Fant’s 51-yard catch-and-run that set up a Walker III touchdown.
Troubling trend: Adams’ much-anticipated return lasted all of nine plays. He went down on the opening possession after taking a knee to the helmet and was ruled out after being evaluated for a concussion. Adams can’t catch a break injury-wise. Entering Monday night, he’s missed 28 of a possible 53 regular-season games since Seattle acquired him in the blockbuster trade with the Jets in 2020. Also on Monday night, the Seahawks lost guards Damien Lewis (ankle) and Phil Haynes (calf) to injuries. Nose tackle Jarran Reed (shin) also left. — Brady Henderson
Next game: at Cincinnati Bengals (1 p.m. ET, Sunday, Oct. 15)
New York Giants
The Giants offense is a mess. Jones has regressed to his old turnover-prone form. The result is the Giants’ season has quickly slipped away only four ugly games into the season. Jones lost a fumble and threw two interceptions — one that was returned 97 yards for a touchdown when the game was still in doubt. Not that he received much help. The offensive line was a disaster and allowed 11 sacks. The special teams committed six penalties. This was bad. As the season slips away, the Giants will have to do something with road games in Miami and Buffalo on deck. It could get worse before it gets better.
QB breakdown: Jones completed 27-of-34 passes for 203 yards and 2 INT. This isn’t the quarterback everyone saw in the first season under coach Brian Daboll last season. Sure Jones is under constant pressure, but he’s also not playing well. Both can be true. The three turnovers were all on Jones. He now has six through four games this season. Did the Giants make a mistake giving Jones that $160 million deal? This was the third time in four games that he has played poorly. New York needs much better or this season will spiral out of control.
Troubling trend: The Giants have been outscored 77-9 in first half of games this season. To say they’ve struggled in the first half of games would be an understatement. The Giants have not scored a touchdown in the first half of their four games this season. They’ve only managed field goals of 44, 55 and 57 yards. Their minus-68 point differential in the first half of games is tied for the fourth-worst for a team through four games in the Super Bowl era. This after the Giants talked all week about finding ways to start faster. Safe to say, it again didn’t work.
Eye-popping NFL Next Gen stat: Seahawks TE Noah Fant‘s 19.8 expected yards after catch. This was what Fant was expected to get after being 15.34 yards from the nearest defender on his 51-yard catch late in the second quarter. But Fant got so much more, thanks to missed tackles on the sideline by inside linebacker Bobby Okereke and cornerback Adoree Jackson. Fant racked up 46 yards after the catch on the play, and eventually was ruled down at the 1-yard line. Seahawks RB Kenneth Walker III scored on the very next play. The Giants’ poor tackling came back to bite them again. — Jordan Raanan
Next game: at Miami Dolphins (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)