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Giants-Seahawks ‘Kudos & Wet Willies’ review: Lots of heroes for the Giants

Let’s look at who played well and who did not in the Giants’ upset of Seattle

New York Giants v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

It is a happy Monday for the New York Giants after they stunned the Seattle Seahawks, 17-12, on Sunday. Let’s review in our traditional ‘Kudos & Wet Willies’ style.

Kudos to ...

Wayne Gallman — The Wayne Train didn’t leave the station in the first half of Sunday. The second half? Gallman had 12 second-half carries for 129 yards, finishing with 16 carries for 135 yards. He set up the Giants’ first touchdown with a 60-yard run, and the second with a 23-yard run.

Gallman has been amazing in recent weeks, taking over for Saquon Barkley and then Devonta Freeman. With backup quarterback Colt McCoy playing Sunday the Giants needed to run the ball effectively in order to win. Gallman helped make sure they did.

Alfred Morris — It drives Giants fans crazy when Gallman is resting and Morris is in the game (who thought I would write that sentence this season?), but Morris has done an excellent job since the Giants rescued him off the running back scrap heap at the end of September. Morris finished off two Giants’ drives with touchdowns, one on a 4-yard run and the other on a 6-yard pass reception, the first receiving touchdown of his nine-year career.

Morris had 8 carries for 39 yards (4.8 yards per carry) on Sunday. He has 176 yards on 37 carries (4.8 per attempt). He has been a productive backup, and that’s as much or more than the Giants could have expected.

Colt McCoy — Yes, he only threw for 105 yards. Yes, the ground game and the defense are what really won the game. Yes, he threw an interception. Still, McCoy did what backup quarterbacks are supposed to do. He gave his team a chance. He certainly didn’t do any damage. He made a couple of big throws late in the game to help the Giants bleed more than 4 minutes off the clock. Maybe it’s just a feel-good ‘Kudos’ for a guy who hadn’t started and won a game in a looooong time, but I think McCoy earned it.

Run blocking — Gallman’s 60-yard run was beautifully blocked. You can say that about a lot of the Giants’ second-half running plays. This wasn’t Gallman and Morris pushing piles and doing things on their own, although there was some of that. This was the Giants going BIG, sometimes with guard Shane Lemieux at fullback and Elijhaa Penny at halfback, and pushing the Seahawks around. Impressive.

Defense as a whole — How can I not give the entire defense a ‘Kudos’? The Giants held the high-scoring Seahawks to 10 offensive points. They confused and harassed Russell Wilson. They left Seattle coach Pete Carroll wondering how the heck they had done it. They got the big stop at the end.

The Giants played really well in the secondary. They kept DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett in front of them and limited yards after catch. They ended up with an interception and 7 passes defensed.

Wilson was sacked 5 times and, per Pro Football Focus, pressured on 23 of 50 drop backs.

The offense kept putting the defense under pressure in the first half, and the defense met the challenge. Once the Giants built a 12-point lead the Seahawks were in attack mode. Seattle might not have scored at all in the second half if not for a third-and-15 penalty on Darnay Holmes.

Several defensive players deserve to be singled out

  • Jabrill Peppers — Five tackles? Only five tackles? That’s all Peppers has? Hard to believe. maybe that’s because they were LOUD tackles. Peppers was blowing up blockers, ball carriers and receivers. He finished with a sack, a quarterback hit and two passes defensed. Peppers also yanked Russell Wilson’s arm away when Wilson was trying to recover a fumble that Niko Lalos eventually fell on, a huge play in the game that you won’t find in a box score. Peppers is playing better now than he has at any time in his two seasons with the Giants.
  • Leonard Williams — His 2.5 sacks Sunday give him a career-high 8.5 for the season. Williams was outstanding, adding 5 pressures of Russell Wilson to his sack total.
  • The rookies — Inside linebacker Tae Crowder’s athleticism was on display as he had a sack and ranged all over the field to make 7 tackles in 39 snaps. Carter Coughlin played a career-high 45 snaps. He was credited with just two tackles and one quarterback hit, but the seventh-round pick seemed to spend a huge chunk of the day in the Seattle backfield. Niko Lalos came up with a fumble recovery, his second takeaway in two NFL games. Holmes had a huge penalty, but also his first career interception.

Jason Garrett and Patrick Graham — I don’t usually include coaches in ‘K&WW,’ but today I feel like I have to.

We keep talking about Graham, but what the Giants were able to do to Seattle was outstanding. Tremendous plan, excellent creativity in terms of deploying personnel and getting pressure on Wilson. Each week it’s obvious how well-coached and prepared the defense is. Graham has done an amazing job figuring out what all of his players do well, and coming up with ways to let them do that.

Garrett deserves props, too. He talked leading up to the game about creating a “comfortable environment” for McCoy, and he did that. He stuck stubbornly with the running game even though it wasn’t successful in the first half, seeming to make some subtle play-call adjustments in the second half. Like Graham, Garrett has increasingly figured out what his players can execute, what his line can block and the offense has gotten better as a result.

Wet Willies to ...

Special teams — This is mostly about the punt team, but we can’t forget that placekicker Graham Gano did miss an extra point.

That punt team, though? Geesh!

A blocked punt that resulted in a safety and was inches from being a Seattle touchdown. At first glance, I want to blame Nate Ebner for letting a rusher run by him. I suspect, though, someone else was supposed to block Seattle’s Ryan Neal. No matter who was at fault, it is inexcusable to let a rusher come up the middle on a punt.

Two false-start penalties. How in the heck do you get TWO false-start penalties on punts?

A bad punt by Riley Dixon in the final two minutes. As good as Dixon has been pinning opponents inside the 20-yard line this season (56 percent of his punts prior to Sunday were downed inside the 20, No. 2 in the NFL), Dixon let the Giants down with his final punt. From the Seattle 42-yard line, he booted the ball into the end zone to give the Seahawks 10 to 15 yards of field position the Giants were not expecting to surrender.

It also can’t be a good thing that Dixon, with two, was the leading tackler on special teams.