For a while it looked as though the Giants had the Seahawks right where they wanted them. The Giants were down 10-7 out of halftime, then ground out a methodical 16-play drive. It started on their 8-yard line and finished with a field goal to tie the game on the Seattle 13-yard line and chewed up 9 minutes of game-clock.
Unfortunately, the Giants weren’t able to summon their fourth-quarter magic on the eve of All Hallow’s Eve and ultimately this was a forgettable game for the Giants.
What can we take away from the Giants’ second loss?
First down: Nick Gates’ return
It was something we thought might never happen. Nick Gates’ return to the football field is one of the most inspiring stories of the 2022 season. Gates suffered a complete fracture of his tibia and fibula early in the 2021 season — all the way back in Week 2 of that year. At the time, the Giants feared that it could potentially be a career-ending injury, but Gates vowed to return.
Giants’ veteran offensive lineman was activated off of the PUP list on Oct. 26, but we didn’t know what to expect from him.
His injury was a gruesome one and his ability on the field was anything but known. It was nothing short of a fantastic accomplishment to overcome his injury and return to health. Returning to the football field once seemed a faint hope for Gates, who needed seven surgeries to piece his leg back together.
Sunday, Gates not only returned to the field, but laid the key block in Saquon Barkley’s touchdown in the second quarter.
Who knows what the future holds for Gates, but this is simply fantastic.
Second down: Can’t keep it clean
The Giants’ recipe for success to start the season has been equal parts scheming and execution. I’ve been contending in recent weeks that the Giants have the best coaching staff in the NFL — and I still think so after this week.
The Giants’ coaching staff has done a fantastic job of scheming to put the Giants’ players in position to succeed, and an equally good job of coaching the players up to execute cleanly. The Giants’ refusal to hurt themselves with penalties and miscues forced their opponents to play with almost nonexistent margins for error. New York’s opportunistic play allowed them to capitalize when other teams screwed up.
This time it was the Giants who weren’t able to play a clean game. We saw some cracks in the Giants’ execution against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but things snowballed on them in Seattle.
The Giants’ six penalties for 53 yards weren’t terrible, but combined with some breakdowns in coverage and protection, the Seahawks also converting a pair of fourth downs, those yards add up.
There’s also the matter of Richie James’ two fumbles. Those were absolute backbreakers for the Giants, and more than New York could overcome. Hopefully the Giants will be able to tighten things back up over the bye week.
Third down: We see you, Tomon Fox
This was largely a forgettable evening in the Pacific Northwest for the Giants, but there were a few bright points. The first was, of course, Nick Gates getting back on the field. The second is probably the play of rookie EDGE Tomon Fox
Fox earned a spot on the Giants roster after a good camp and preseason, and got sporadic playing time through the first seven games. This week, however, the Giants were forced to lean on the undrafted rookie from North Carolina. He responded with eight tackles, was frequently in the Seattle backfield, and was a menace in the run game.
The Giants finding ever more depth along the defensive front is fantastic news for them going forward (even beyond 2022).
Fourth down: No run zone
The Giants and Seahawks had two of the worst run defenses in the NFL coming into this week.
The Seahawks had given up the second-most rushing yards among teams who had played 7 games, while the Giants had given up the third-most. Likewise, the Giants had given up the most yards per carry (among the same group of teams), while the Seahawks had given up the third-most.
This game, both defenses flat-out refused to let the opposing team run on them. The Seahawks had just 87 yards on 25 carries (3.48 yards per carry) this week. While Kenneth Walker had a fantastic run for a touchdown at the end of the game, the Giants went from allowing 8.1 yards per carry to Travis Etienne last week to allowing 2.8 yards per carry (18 carries, 51 yards) this week.
Unfortunately for the Giants, they couldn’t get anything going on the ground, either. They had 78 total rushing yards on 28 carries (2.7 yards per carry), with Saquon Barkley just getting 53 yards (and a touchdown) on 20 carries, or 2.7 yards per carry. Daniel Jones had six carries for 20 yards . The Seattle defense did a great job of maintaining gap integrity and didn’t bite on much of the eye-candy Mike Kafka threw at them. That not only limited how much Jones was able to get on read-option plays, but also his opportunities for picking up yards scrambles.
From a pure “Football Fan” perspective, this was a very good effort from both defenses.
Extra point: Wet Willie to the Seattle Mariners coaching staff
In what might be the most surreal moment from the game, Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll was flagged for a sideline infraction.
There was absolutely contact between Carroll and referee Jerome Boger, as you can see below:
Pete Carroll got a flag for bumping into the referee on the field pic.twitter.com/ahiBHz28PS— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) October 30, 2022
But after the bone-rattling hit from the 71-year-old Carroll, the ref was clearly shaken up and decided to blame the Seattle Mariners coaching staff for the sideline infraction, as opposed to the Seahawks’ coaching staff.
Thanks for the chuckle, ref.