Giants defense limited Russell Wilson in impressive performance
The Giants defense has improved as the season has gone on.
After allowing 26 or more points in three of the first five games of the season, the Giants have not surrendered more than 25 points in any of the last seven games. In fact, Patrick Graham's unit has allowed an average of just 18.9 points during that stretch, as the Giants have gone 5-2 to jump into first place in the NFC East.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson entered last week's matchup in Seattle near the top of the leaderboard in passing yards, touchdowns and quarterback rating. But facing off against the Giants' defense, Wilson struggled to get much going.
The 32-year-old quarterback completed 27 of 43 passes (62.8 percent) for 263 yards, one touchdown and one interception while also losing a fumble. He finished with a quarterback rating of 78.0.
Graham's unit generated 23 total pressures on the former All-Pro quarterback, making him uncomfortable in the pocket throughout the entire game.
While the Giants' defense did a great job of getting pressure on Wilson with five sacks, it was easy to see that the 7-time Pro Bowl QB was confused at times with the defensive schemes that Graham was throwing at him.
Coming into the Week 13 game, Wilson averaged 2.93 seconds before a pass. Against the Giants, it took Wilson an average of 3.38 seconds to get rid of the ball, ranking last among quarterbacks who played on Sunday.
In addition, the five plays that resulted in sacks of Wilson averaged 4.8 seconds.
View photos from the Week 13 matchup between the Giants and Seahawks at Lumen Field.
Inside the Numbers: The success of the run game
When Saquon Barkley was lost for the season in Week 2 with a torn knee ligament, the subsequent questions centered primarily on the health of both the Giants' celebrated running back and the team's rushing attack.
Barkley essentially was the Giants' ground game in 2018-19, accounting for 92.4% and 78.9% of the yards generated by the team's running backs (despite missing three games with ankle injury last year). The 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year rushed for 1,307 and 1,003 yards to become the first player in Giants history to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons.
With Barkley accounting for only 19 carries, the Giants averaged 79 yards and exceeded 89 yards just once in their first five games this season. Their per-carry average was 3.8 yards.
But their rushing attack has since found its footing.
Since the start of Week 6, the Giants have rushed for 1,042 yards and averaged 148.8 yards a game and 4.8 yards an attempt. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, during that span, they have the NFL's sixth-highest rushing total, fifth-highest per-game average and fourth-highest average per carry, behind Philadelphia (5.5), Tennessee (5.3) and Arizona (5.2). The Giants host the Cardinals Sunday in MetLife Stadium.
The 5-7 first-place Giants are now averaging 119.8 yards a game and 4.5 yards-per-carry for the season. That places them 11th and 12th, respectively, in the league. The Giants' last notable rushing season was 2010, when they finished sixth in the NFL with an average of 137.5 yards. Since then, their highest season-ending ranking and average was in 2012, when they were 14th in the league at 116.4.
The Giants have rushed for more than 100 yards in seven consecutive games, their longest streak since doing it nine games in a row in 2010. They are 5-3 when they rush for more than 100 yards and 0-4 when they don't.
After the Giants' 17-12 defeat of the Seahawks Sunday in Seattle, coach Joe Judge said, "Part of our game plan obviously was to run the ball." That has been the norm. The Giants had 31 rushing attempts, their lowest total in the last four games. It is their longest streak with 30+ carries since they had five in a row from Oct. 19-Nov. 16, 2008.
Sights & Sounds: 'We did what we were supposed to do'
Check out the video below for a sideline view of the Giants' Week 13 victory in Seattle.