When it rains, it pours. And when the heavy rain hit CenturyLink Field Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks poured it on the Giants.
At halftime, the Giants owned a three-point lead on the defending Super Bowl champions. But with the rain falling harder in the second half, the Seahawks literally ran the Giants into submission, outscoring them 24-0 (21-0 in the fourth quarter) while finishing a 350-yard rushing performance. The final score of the Giants' fourth consecutive defeat was 38-17.
"It's hard to believe what you saw in the second half," said coach Tom Coughlin, whose team fell to 3-6. "It's a four-quarter game. The first half was played very well. We came in at halftime with a lead, as you well know. In the second half, we continued to not tackle very well and be able to contain the quarterback. We had a couple of different schemes we continued to utilize in regard to that, but none of them seemed to work."
In those final two quarters, the Seahawks totaled 290 yards (210 on the ground) and had 20 first downs. They finished with 510 yards and 27 first downs and the 350 rushing yards is the third-highest total allowed by the Giants in their 90-year existence. Seattle averaged an astounding 7.8 yards a carry. Running back Marshawn Lynch ran for 140 yards and scored four touchdowns, on runs of one, two, three and 16 yards. Quarterback Russell Wilson added 107 yards and his own one-yard score. Wilson completed just 10 passes, but it hardly mattered because of the ground assault that left the Giants defenders enraged and humbled.
"I think it's a little bit worse than embarrassing," said safety and defensive captain Antrel Rolle. "I have been playing this game for 10 years and I've never had anyone run for 350 yards on me. No matter how bad or good of a team we've been, it's extremely frustrating. We've got to get better. There's no if's, and's or but's about it, there's no excuses; we have to get better.
"If you're not upset about what's taking place right now, you don't need to be here. It's embarrassing as a team. It's embarrassing as an organization and I personally feel we're
better than what we've been playing, what we've been displaying. But those are words. Actions speak louder than words any day of the week, and right now, our actions aren't living up to what we believe our potential is as a team."
"That hurts," cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said. "They lined up and ran and they're just hitting you in the mouth. That says they're more physical and they want it more, which I know can't be the case. That's why it is very disappointing."
The offense wasn't blameless. After putting up 17 points in the first half, its five second-half possessions ended, in order, punt, interception, punt, by downs, fumble. Eli Manning was responsible for both turnovers.
The Giants rushed for only 54 yards, or 296 less than their opponents, and averaged just 3.2 yards an attempt. Rookie Andre Williams started his fourth consecutive game and gained only 33 yards on 13 carries. He did score one of the Giants' two touchdowns. Preston Parker got the other on a six-yard pass from Manning. Josh Brown also kicked a 41-yard field goal.
"We had some mistakes and didn't make any plays in the second half," Manning said.
"We had a few good drives going where we got to right around midfield or so, and then we just didn't make plays and they did. We had two plays that I can think of that I didn't make the plays I needed to – the third-and-nine where I scrambled out and missed Rueben (Randle) on an underthrow (on the Giants' first second-half possession) and then the interception on first-and-10."
That pick was the game's turning point. After Manning's underthrow, the Seahawks drove 70 yards before Steven Hauschka kicked a 28-yard field that tied the score at 17-17.
On the Giants' ensuing possession, the Giants had a first down at the Seattle 39 when Manning threw to the end zone for Odell Beckham Jr., who was blanketed by double
coverage. Beckham leaped to try to catch the ball, but instead tipped it to safety Earl Thomas, who returned it 47 yards to the Seahawks' 42. Seven plays and 2:13 later, Lynch's third touchdown gave the Seahawks the lead for good at 24-17.
"(That was) just a very bad decision on the interception," said Manning, who admitted he should have thrown the ball away. "Just late and I can't afford to do that.
"I thought I was going to be able to hit Larry (Donnell) down the seam and kind of got held up on him a little bit and went late outside. Just a bad decision by me. (I) went to Odell way too late."
Asked about Manning's throw, Coughlin said, "I'm sure that ill-advised is the phrase that you can use."
"First and foremost, I was trying to catch it, but I didn't get the opportunity to do that," Beckham said. "I did my best to try to get it away from anybody else and get it down, but that wasn't the case."
Frustration was in all corners of the Giants' quiet locker room. The defensive players were at a loss to explain how Seattle's offense had been so dominant. Time and again, Lynch would bull his way up the middle for s significant gain or Wilson would run around the end untouched until he picked up a first down. Wilson averaged 7.6 yards a carry.
"They ran one play - inside read, inside zone all day," Rolle said. "A read play, couldn't stop it, didn't have an answer for it, for whatever reason. There's a guy that's supposed to be on the quarterback and the running back dive at all times. It just seemed like if one guy did a job right, another guy did a job wrong.
"When you have an assignment, you do your job. It's that simple. You can't beat yourself in this league and we've been doing that for quite some time. If you have the dive, take the dive. If you've got the quarterback, take the quarterback."
"We obviously didn't tackle the inside play too well," Coughlin said. "The quarterback coming around the corner off of different play action was effective. We worked on plays of that nature all week, the dive, the keep and the zone read."
The defense has given up more than 400 yards in six of the Giants' nine games.
"This is a very difficult situation for us to be in," defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka said. "We've just got to dig ourselves out of it. There's no if's, and's or but's about it. We've got to stay together and be a team and start getting some wins.
"The run defense? It's unacceptable. We've got to take it, we'll take all the criticism. We've got to get better, that's the bottom line."
The Giants get their next chance to do that Sunday at home vs. San Francisco. But they need to do it in a hurry if they're going to be participants in the NFC playoff race.
View the best photos from the game vs. the Seahawks