O’Neil: Seahawks grab control after forgettable first half in win over Giants
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – After a forgettable first half, tight end Jimmy Graham finally got control of the situation.
The same could be said for his team.
Graham’s 1-yard touchdown catch with 2:14 left didn’t just punctuate Seattle’s 24-7 victory at MetLife Stadium, it summarized a game in which the Seahawks spent the first two quarters repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot before pulling away from a New York team whose offense has been pretty thoroughly neutered by injuries.
Graham dropped a touchdown pass on the first play of the second quarter, and failed to catch a ball that hit him between the numbers for what would have been a 20-yard gain later in that period. Tyler Lockett had a touchdown negated by a penalty in the same quarter, and Thomas Rawls’ fumble set up the Giants for what turned out to be their only scoring play of the game.
But sometime in the third quarter, Seattle finally stopped harming itself long enough to let Russell Wilson throw three touchdown passes and put away a Giants team that was missing its top three receivers and starting running back.
Seattle held the Giants to 177 yards of total offense. New York crossed midfield on its own twice the whole game, and its only scoring drive was set up by a Seattle fumble the Giants returned to the Seattle 13. The Seahawks gained more yards in the first half than the Giants managed the entire game.
The Seahawks outgained the Giants 222 yards to 42 in those first two quarters. Seattle ran nine plays at or inside the opponent’s 10-yard line while the Giants had one. And yet the Giants led 7-3 at halftime.
This wasn’t a case of Seattle being inert on offense, though. The Seahawks were actively self-harming. They were penalized eight times in the first half, including three against right tackle Germain Ifedi alone.
The Seahawks had a touchdown pass dropped by Graham. They had a touchdown catch negated by a penalty against Lockett for offensive pass interference. They lost a fumble by Rawls, which was returned 31 yards by the Giants to set up New York’s only touchdown of the first half.
Oh yeah, there was also the second-quarter hubbub on Seattle’s sidelines that was captured by CBS cameras as an aggravated Doug Baldwin shoved offensive line coach Tom Cable as he tried to interrupt him.
But as Seattle has done so often not just this season but under Pete Carroll, the Seahawks came out and played a significantly better second half.
Wilson threw three touchdown passes in the second half, first on a perfectly placed lob to Doug Baldwin and then a trick play to Paul Richardson.
By the time Graham caught a 1-yard touchdown pass with 2:14 left, it served to underscore the point as the player who dropped two passes in the first half – one of which would have resulted in a touchdown – finally got control of the situation.