The New York Giants flew across the country to take on the Seattle Seahawks in Week 8 and fell, 27-13.
Brian Daboll and his team now enter the bye week at 6-2. They will return after the time off with back-to-back games at MetLife Stadium against the Houston Texans and Detroit Lions before traveling to Dallas to take on the Cowboys on Thanksgiving.
Here are five things we learned in Week 8:
1. Giants unable to recreate late-game magic
The Giants came into Week 8 with the most comeback wins in the NFL, as Daniel Jones had led the team on five game-winning drives in the first seven weeks. Jones and the offense were unable to recreate that late-game magic in Week 8 as they wound up falling to the Seahawks, 27-13.
To start the second half, the offense put together two long drives that spanned 14 and 12 plays and took over 15 minutes off the clock. However, they were unable to punch either in the end zone and had to settle for Graham Gano field goals. After tying the game early in the fourth quarter, the defense was unable to slow down Geno Smith as the Seahawks moved 75 yards down the field in just five plays, all completions by Smith, which ended with a 33-yard touchdown pass to Lockett.
"Our guys are confident," coach Brian Daboll said after the game. "We just didn't do enough today all the way around. Again, give Seattle credit. It's hard, the ball is important. We have to do a better job of taking care of it and executing and finishing drives, converting on some third downs, particularly early on in the game. A lot to work on."
"Like we've said, there's a lot still out there for us," Jones added. "I think today shows that a little bit. There's a lot we need to improve on and shore up if we want to continue to be the team that we think we can be. That's what our focus. Is we have been able to pull out some of these games and you know, 6-2 is not bad but there's a lot of work to do."
View photos from the Giants' Week 8 game against the Seattle Seahawks.
2. Defense holds Seahawks under 300 yards
Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker was able to break loose for a 16-yard touchdown run to give Seattle a two-touchdown lead late in the game. But other than that one run, the Giants kept him in check. Coming into the game, the rookie running back had totaled 265 yards on 44 carries (6.0 avg.) and three touchdowns over the previous two games. Walker finished the game with 51 yards on 18 carries, good for an average of just 2.8 yards per carry. Without the TD run, that number drops to 2.1.
"Every week we want to focus on stopping the run," Adoree' Jackson said. "That's what it is in this league, stopping the run and then everything else follows. I felt like we did a good job of trying to do that today."
The defense got off to a good start against Geno Smith with a couple of pass breakups early from Jackson, Fabian Moreau and Jihad Ward. Jackson also had the defensive play of the game when he stripped Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett on the two-yard line and recovered the fumble, which led to the Giants' only touchdown of the day. However, Smith would go on to complete 23 of 34 passes for 212 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, earning a passer rating of 104.0. Seattle wide receivers Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, both of whom were listed as questionable on the final injury report, each caught a touchdown pass and totaled 118 yards on 11 receptions between the two of them.
"Any time you lose, it sucks, even when we lost the first one," said Jackson. "We're frustrated. For us, it's just go back to the lab on Monday when we get back, figure out the things we need to correct and try to get our minds away from it, but still stay locked in. But at the same time, get our bodies together, get our minds right so we can get ready for the second half of the season."
Rookie inside linebacker Micah McFadden picked up his first career sack in the first half. Leonard Williams also picked up his first sack of the season and finished with a season-high five quarterback hits. Xavier McKinney also registered a sack, while rookie Tomon Fox recorded two tackles for loss.
3. Offense struggles to get things going
The Giants offense entered this matchup ranking near the middle of the pack in points and yards this season. But the unit struggled to get things going in Seattle, where it gained just 225 yards of total offense. Daniel Jones completed 17 of 31 passes for 176 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions and added 20 yards on the ground on six carries. Jones finished with a passer rating of 71.4.
Saquon Barkley was unable to continue his early-season dominance against the Seahawks defense. Coming into the game as the league's leader in yards from scrimmage, the fifth-year running back totaled just 62 yards on 23 touches (20 runs, three receptions). Barkley did punch the ball into the end zone from one yard out following Jackson's strip and recovery. He caught three passes for nine yards.
"You've got to give credit to Seattle," Barkley said. "They did a really good job. That was it. They made plays. They made more plays than us. We've just to be a little bit better. Go back, watch film, learn from it, get our bodies right this bye week and come back with our minds set right."
For the third time in the last four games, Darius Slayton led the Giants in receiving. The fourth-year wideout caught five passes for 66 yards, including a couple of impressive contested catches. Tight end Tanner Hudson finished second on the team with three receptions for 58 yards, while rookie wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson caught two passes for 15 yards.
"I think he was doing a good job getting open, found some space in their zone, especially in third down and he made a couple really nice catches, contested catches and big plays for us..." Jones said about Slayton. "I have a lot of trust and confidence in him."
4. Special teams turnovers prove costly
Richie James hadn't gotten a ton of opportunities to return punts over the last six games. After returning five punts for 62 yards in the season opener, the wide receiver totaled just six returns for 18 yards since Week 1. James had a couple of opportunities on Sunday, but had a tough time holding onto the football.
Late in the second quarter, James fumbled the football right outside the Giants' 20-yard line, which the Seahawks recovered on the 19-yard line. The defense was able to stop Seattle's offense, but the Seahawks still put three points on the board after Jason Myers connected from 35-yards out. Dexter Lawrence got a piece of the ball, but it was able to travel just across the goal post. With just over six minutes remaining in the game, James got another opportunity but fumbled the ball, which Seattle recovered on the 32-yard line. The Seahawks capitalized this time with Walker's 16-yard touchdown run. To make matters worse, James suffered a concussion on the fumble and was quickly ruled out for the remainder of the game.
"Taking care of the ball is one of our main goals and obviously we didn't do it," said Daboll. "Got the ball in good field position to capitalize on ten points. Turn the ball over on your side of the field, it's tough. So we have to fix that."
5. Injury updates
As mentioned above, James suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter and was ruled out. Defensive lineman Nick Williams was the other Giant to get hurt during Sunday's game after he suffered a bicep injury in the first half. He too was ruled out.
The Giants ruled six players out on Friday, three of which were hurt during last week's win. Tight end Daniel Bellinger (eye) and right tackle Evan Neal (knee) did not suit up, nor did guard Ben Bredeson, who was placed on injured reserve Saturday after suffering a knee injury last week. Additionally, cornerback Cor'Dale Flott (calf), wide receiver Kenny Golladay (knee) and outside linebacker Oshane Ximines (quad) did not play.
The team did get some positive injury news this week. Nick Gates was officially activated this week after suffering a gruesome leg injury in Week 2 of the 2021 season. Gates lined up as an extra offensive lineman on several plays in Seattle, and helped lead the way for Barkley's one-yard touchdown run.
"It definitely feels good," the lineman said about his first game back. "Good fun to get back out there with the team and be out there with the guys. It sucks we lost, but it was a little moral victory for me."
"Just having him out there provides energy," coach Daboll said about Gates. "He was excited all week. We know his story, so we'll just keep working with him... It's special, coming back from the injury, well-documented. Just want to be part of the team and do what he can. He's a great young guy to work with and wish we could have had a different outcome today."
Additionally, outside linebacker Elerson Smith was activated off reserve after he suffered a lower leg injury in practice on August 14. He made his season debut against the Seahawks and picked up two tackles (one solo).
While they were not activated for Week 8, tackle Matt Peart and cornerback Rodarius Williams both returned to practice this week. Peart tore his ACL in late December, while Williams suffered the same injury last October.