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Recap: What we learned from Giants vs. Seahawks

JAMES-BRADBERRY
New York Giants defensive back James Bradberry defends a pass intended for Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

The Giants are very much in control in the NFC East after one of the biggest upsets of the NFL season.

Held scoreless in the first half, the Giants rallied behind a pair of third-quarter touchdowns by reserve running back Alfred Morris and defeated the NFC-West leading Seattle Seahawks Sunday in Lumen Field, 17-12. The Giants' fourth consecutive victory – their longest streak since 2016 – improved their record to 5-7. They moved a half game ahead of Washington in the NFC East standings. Washington plays tomorrow at undefeated Pittsburgh, but even if the visitors pull off the upset, the Giants own the tiebreaker because they twice defeated their division rivals. Seattle fell to 8-4. The NFC East had been 0-17 against teams with a winning record this season.

UP NEXT:

The Giants return to MetLife Stadium for the first time in four weeks when they host the Arizona Cardinals next Sunday. Arizona has won the last three games in the series, and in each of its last three visits to East Rutherford, including one last season. On Oct. 20, 2019, the Cardinals earned a 27-21 victory behind Chase Edmonds' three rushing touchdowns – a pair of 20-yarders in the first quarter and a 22-yarder in the third. Arizona jumped out to a 17-0 lead that the Giants cut to three points by halftime. But the visitors outscored the Giants in the second half, 10-7, to secure the victory. The Cardinals also beat the Giants in Arizona in 2017 and in New Jersey in 2009 and 2014. The Giants' most recent victory in the series was in State Farm Stadium in 2011. The Giants lead the all-time series, 80-45-2.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE:

The Giants can win a game without Daniel Jones.

Colt McCoy played the entire game at quarterback for Jones, who was inactive because of the hamstring injury he suffered last week in Cincinnati. McCoy completed 13 of 22 passes for 105 yards, one touchdown and one interception for a passer rating of 67.4. More importantly, he earned his first victory as a starting quarterback since Oct. 27, 2014, when he led Washington to a win in Dallas.

Alfred Morris scored the Giants' touchdowns on four-yard run and a six-yard reception in the third quarter, his first two scores for the Giants. The touchdown catch was the first in his 110-game NFL career. Morris' rushing touchdown was his 35th. Morris' two-touchdown game was his first since Nov. 2, 2014, when he scored on a 14 and two-yard runs for Washington vs. Minnesota.

Wayne Gallman had 16 carries for a career-high 135 yards, his first 100-yard game. His previous career best was the 94 yards he gained last week in Cincinnati.

The Giants took an 8-5 lead when Alfred Morris scored on a four-yard run and Colt McCoy connected with Sterling Shepard for a two-point conversion with 7:40 remaining in the third quarter. The touchdown was Morris' first since Dec. 30, 2018, when he scored on a one-yard run – and rushed for 111 yards – for San Francisco at the Rams.

Morris' touchdown was set up by Gallman's career-long 60-yard run. Gallman's previous long run was 26 yards at the Rams on Oct. 4. Morris rushed for 39 yards on eight carries as part of the Giants' season-best 190 yards on the ground.

Evan Engram and Golden Tate led the Giants with four receptions apiece.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE:

The defense has become one of the NFL's best unit's under coordinator Patrick Graham. The unit held the high-scoring Seahawks to just one touchdown – and that in the fourth quarter – and sacked Russell Wilson five times and forced two turnovers.

Rookie linebacker Tae Crowder set the tone when he registered his first career sack when he tackled Wilson for an 11-yard loss in the first quarter.

Safety Jabrill Peppers sacked Wilson for an eight-yard loss in the second quarter. Peppers has 2.5 sacks this season after recording one in this first three seasons combined. All of the sacks he's been involved in this season have been eight-yarders. He had a full sack at Philadelphia on Oct. 22 and shared a sack with Trent Harris in the rematch vs. the Eagles on Nov. 15.

One week after intercepting a pass in his NFL debut, rookie Niko Lalos recovered a fumbled snap – officially credited to Russell Wilson – with 6:02 remaining in the second quarter. When Wilson attempted to recover the ball, Peppers knocked it away from him. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Lalos is the first Giants player with at least one interception and one opponent fumble recovery in first two NFL games since Otto Schnellbacher in 1950.

Leonard Williams twice sacked Wilson – once in the third quarter and again on Seattle's final possession – and added an additional half sack to increase his season total to a career-high 8.5. His previous best was 7.0 sacks as a second-year pro with the Jets in 2016.

Rookie cornerback Darnay Holmes intercepted his first career pass in the fourth quarter. Russell Wilson's pass first caromed off running back Chris Carson's facemask and then Crowder's hand before Holmes grabbed it.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT SPECIAL TEAMS:

For the second week in a row, the Giants' special teams surrendered points. Last week, it was a touchdown on a kickoff return in Cincinnati. On Sunday, the Seahawks took a 5-0 lead when Ryan Neal blocked Riley Dixon's punt with 28 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Wide receiver Penny Hart was unable to secure the ball before touching the end line, resulting in a safety instead of a touchdown.

The blocked punt was the first by a Giants opponent since Dec. 22, 2019, when Washington's Nate Orchard got his hands on a Dixon punt, leading to a touchdown.

Seattle's safety was the first for a Giants opponent since Oct. 6, 2019, when Minnesota's Anthony Barr tackled running back Jon Hilliman in the end zone.

Graham Gano missed his extra point attempt after the Giants' second touchdown. He had made his first 17 PAT's this season.

INJURY REPORT:

NYG: Linebacker Blake Martinez left the game in the fourth quarter with a lower back injury. He did not return when the Seahawks took possession with 1:48 remaining.

SEA: Seattle receiver Tyler Lockett left the game in the first quarter after getting hit in the head and twisting his ankle, but returned.

INACTIVES:

NYG: The Giants' inactive players were quarterback Daniel Jones, wide receiver Dante Pettis, tackles Kyle Murphy and Jackson Barton, linebackers Trent Harris and TJ Brunson, and defensive lineman RJ McIntosh.

SEA: Running back Travis Homer, guard Phil Hayes, tackles Brandon Shell and Cedric Ogbuehi and defensive end Jonathan Bullard.

LINEUP CHANGES:

NYG: Quarterback Colt McCoy made his first start for the Giants - and first since Oct. 6, 2019, when he was with Washington – in place of Daniel Jones, who was inactive because of the hamstring injury he suffered last week in Cincinnati.

SEA: None

View photos from the Week 13 matchup between the Giants and Seahawks at Lumen Field.

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