Ready or not, here come the New York Football Giants.
A defensive effort reminiscent of the franchise’s most successful sides paved the way for an upset 17-12 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, forcing two turnovers and limiting the high-powered Russell Wilson-led offense to its lowest points output of the season.
No small task considering the Seahawks held the league’s No. 3 scoring offense in football entering Sunday evening’s clash. But the Giants’ relentless pass rush, which recorded five sacks on the day, did just enough to ensure that backup quarterback Colt McCoy — stepping in for the injured Daniel Jones — performed under manageable conditions.
Winners of four straight, the Giants kept their lead atop the NFC East, improving their record to 5-7.
With McCoy making just his eighth NFL start over the last nine seasons, the Giants turned to their running game of Wayne Gallman and Alfred Morris to spark a second-half explosion, scoring 17 unanswered points. The rushing duo paced a ground game that posted a season-high 190 yards while McCoy passed for 105 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
It was an expectedly-timid statline for McCoy — the veteran quarterback averaging just over five yards per completion in the first half.
Down 3-0 after the Seahawks posted a field goal on their opening drive of the game, the Giants marched down deep into Seattle territory. But a McCoy pass from the 17-yard-line intended for Even Engram bounced off the tight end’s hands and into the arms of Quandre Diggs.
The Giants defense was resolute, though, bending at times but not breaking in the first half despite the Seahawks outgaining New York 154-89. Their pass rush kept the mercurial Wilson in check, often putting pressure on the star passer while racking up a pair of sacks in the opening 30 minutes.
The Seahawks would nab two additional points at the end of the half, though, as the Giants’ offense was unable to run down the clock to the break. Forced to punt in the shadow of his own end zone Riley Dixon’s attempt was blocked and pushed out of the back of the end zone for a safety, increasing the halftime scoreline to a peculiar 5-0.
The Giants’ ground game sprang to life on their second drive of the second half behind a 60-yard run by Gallman, which took New York down to the Seahawks’ 23-yard-line.
The veteran Morris did the rest, picking the remaining yards on two carries that featured his first touchdown in two years, a four-yard rush to put the Giants on top.
After forcing a turnover-on-downs near midfield, the Giants retook possession and went right back to the well. Gallman picked up 39 yards on three carries before Morris walked in for an easy six-yard score on a wide-open screen pass to make it a two-possession game at 14-5 inside three minutes to go in the third quarter.
With a nine-point lead, the Giants defense continued keeping one of the NFL’s top offenses at bay. Getting pressure to Wilson once again, he rushed a pass to Chris Carson, which clanged off the running back and was picked off by Darnay Holmes.
It led to a 48-yard Graham Gano field goal to put the Giants up 12 with 9:50 remaining in the game.
A holding penalty on Holmes helped open the door for the Seahawks to get back into things, gifting the hosts with a first down after they were stopped on a 3rd-&-15 in Giants territory. On the very next play, Wilson hit Carson for a 28-yard touchdown to make it a five-point game with 6:09 to go.
McCoy managed to take over four minutes off the clock, picking up a pair of first downs with his arm, but the drive stalled just inside midfield, giving the Seahawks the ball at their 25-yard-line with 1:48 to go and all their timeouts remaining.
While Seattle drove across midfield, Wilson and Co. stalled at the 46-yard-line — a deep ball down the sideline nearly intercepted by Julian Love before Leonard Williams picked up his second sack of the day to force a 4th-&-18 with 48 seconds remaining.
Fittingly enough, more Giants pressure flushed Wilson out of the pocket with his final chance, forcing a floating jump ball to be batted down and secure another win for Big Blue.