Day After Seahawks Win: How real is defense’s breakout?
Oct 3, 2023, 10:36 AM
(Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
The Seattle Seahawks’ defense dominated in Monday’s 24-3 win over the New York Giants.
So how much of what we saw from the defense was real?
‘Any given Sunday,’ yeah, yeah. But there was little excuse not to have an improved performance against a Giants team that had been outscored by 58 points in two losses, and had to scratch and claw their way back for their lone win against the Cardinals. This is an offense that was averaging just 165 passing yards per game, that would be experimenting with its fourth offensive line configuration in as many games, and would be without its best weapon, running back Saquon Barkley.
It felt silly for a team struggling as much as Seattle was defensively coming into the game to look past any opponent – particularly after the Seahawks’ Week 1 upset loss to a rebuilding Los Angeles Rams team. And yet here was a real opportunity to build momentum heading into a much-needed bye week.
The defense didn’t just meet the moment. The Seahawks slammed into it at full speed and pummeled it to the ground. Seattle’s 11 sacks of Giants quarterback Daniel Jones tied a franchise record set in 1986. Four different players had multiple sacks. The secondary picked off Jones twice and limited the Giants to three measly points, which is the fewest scored for New York since being shut out by Dallas in Week 1. They limited Jones’ top two targets, Darren Waller and Darius Slayton, to a combined 44 yards on five receptions.
The Seahawks benefited from facing a struggling offense, but they also took advantage of it. They won’t replicate an 11-sack performance against the Bengals coming out of the bye week, but they might benefit from a swing in momentum after the first three weeks saw Seattle allow nearly 30 points per game.
What does feel more real? Devon Witherspoon. It’s early, but the No. 5 overall draft pick out of Illinois has been promising (and physical) through three games so far, even with some rookie mistakes in Week 2. This time, though, he took off. Witherspoon registered two sacks and a pick-6 (complete with a 97-yard return), becoming the only rookie defensive back ever to do so in a game.
It feels so good to say bye
The Seahawks’ bye week couldn’t come at a better time for a team that saw a couple more starters carted off Monday night.
Guards Phil Haynes and Damien Lewis were forced out of the game, leaving Evan Brown as the only remaining starter on the offensive line. Head coach Pete Carroll postgame said Haynes re-aggravated a calf injury and Lewis suffered a twisted ankle.
Defensive tackle Jarran Reed went to the locker room after being kicked in the shin. Safety Jamal Adams, playing his first game in over a year, suffered a concussion on the ninth play of the game. Carroll said both will be fine.
Then there’s quarterback Geno Smith, who was able to re-enter the game in the second half but was walking with a noticeable limp after Giants defender Isaiah Simmons landed on the back of his legs during a tackle. Carroll called it a twisted knee, and Smith didn’t seem overly worried about his status.
Those offensive injuries make it a bit easier to overlook a somewhat quiet day on the offensive side of the ball. The Seahawks will need health on their side, and far more efficiency, for a tough slate of defenses starting next month.
More on the Seattle Seahawks
• Recap: Seahawks’ defense dominates in 24-3 win over Giants
• Instant Reaction: Seattle Sports’ voice on win in New York
• Seahawks tie franchise record with 11 sacks in victory
• The Big Plays: Highlights from Seattle Seahawks win over Giants