SEATTLE – When Tyler Lockett caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from Geno Smith with 9:18 remaining in the game Sunday, the Giants seemed to have the Seattle Seahawks just where they wanted them – ahead in the fourth quarter.
After all, the Giants had entered the game with three consecutive victories after trailing in the fourth quarter, a first in the 98-season history of the franchise. With the team's four-game winning streak and 6-1 record, they seemed poised to keep the good times rolling.
Alas, it was not to be. On their final three possessions, the Giants punted, turned the ball over on downs, and saw Daniel Jones get sacked on the game's final play. As if that wasn't enough evidence it wasn't the Giants' game, the offensive frustration was interrupted by Richie Jones fumbling on a punt return for the second time in the game. Two plays later, rookie Kenneth Walker scored on a 16-yard to increase Seattle' point total off turnovers to 10, a significant total in a game the Giants lost, 27-13.
The Giants fell to 6-2 and into a second-place tie with Dallas in the NFC East as they enter their bye week. Philadelphia beat Pittsburgh and remains the NFL's only undefeated team at 7-0.
"They did everything better than we did today," coach Brian Daboll said. "Taking care of the ball is one of our main goals and obviously we didn't do it. They 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."
View photos from the Giants' Week 8 game against the Seattle Seahawks.
The Giants never led in the game, though they tied it at 10-10 in the second quarter and 13-13 in the third. When Lockett scored the Giants still had more than half the fourth quarter to execute the kind of comeback that had defeated Tennessee, Green Bay, Baltimore and Jacksonville.
"I think we all felt like that," quarterback Daniel Jones said. "You know, had not done a lot of things great to that point but we found a way to get back. (We) just didn't do enough and we got the ball back there to keep it going. So yeah, I've got to make a few more plays."
The Giants missed several elements that had contributed to earlier comebacks. Tight end Daniel Bellinger, guard Ben Bredeson and tackle Evan Neal missed the game with injuries. Jones did not throw an interception for the fifth consecutive game but was sacked five times, tying his season high. After strafing the Jacksonville Jaguars with a career-high 107 rushing yards last week, Jones was held to 20 in Seattle.
Saquon Barkley entered the game with a league-leading 906 yards from scrimmage (129.4 a game) and was second in rushing with 726 yards (103.7). He was limited to 53 yards on the ground and 62 total.
"They did a good job stopping the run," Daboll said. "We averaged less than three yards (2.8) and I thought they did a good job on the perimeter on some of the nakeds and the keeps. We didn't hit any big plays off of them. They just did a better job than we did."
"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 got 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. … They made some really good plays. We've just got to do a better job, make more plays. It starts with me. I have to do a better job in the run game, getting it going earlier and sustaining it."
Barkley scored the Giants' only touchdown on a one-yard run that ended a two-yard drive, after cornerback Adoree' Jackson forced and then recovered a fumble by wide receiver by Lockett.
Seattle scored first, on Smith's three-yard touchdown pass to DK Metcalf in the second quarter. Barkley tied the at 7-7 midway through the period. The Giants forced a punt on the next Seattle possession, but Richie James was hit by tight end Will Dissley to force a fumble that Joey Blount recovered on the Giants' 19-yard line. That led to Jason Myers' 35-yard field goal and a 10-7 Seahawks lead they carried into halftime.
The Giants took the second half kickoff and took 8:56 off the clock while driving 79 yards in 14 plays. But Jones' third-down pass to Wan'Dale Robinson fell incomplete and they had to settle for Graham Gano's 31-yard field goal.
"I think whenever we settle for field goals in those situations, it's frustrating," Jones said. "We want to score touchdowns. We weren't able to convert there in the red zone. That's something we have to look at."
With a little more than three minutes remaining in the third quarter, Myers' 51-yard field goal regained the lead for Seattle at 13-10. Gano tied the game with a 45-yarder early in the fourth quarter.
The Seahawks abandoned their running game on their next possession when Smith threw five consecutive passes, completing all of them for 75 yards, including the go-ahead 33-yarder to Lockett.
"I think we got to do a better job on executing," safety Xavier McKinney said. "They had a good drive. That's all I can really say. It wasn't necessarily that we didn't do our job; they made plays. They get paid just how we get paid. Obviously, they're going to make plays. We just got to keep making them snap it again and keep fighting."
Each team punted on their next possession. Jamie Gillan's boot sailed into the end zone. The Giants were not so fortunate when James fielded Seattle's Michael Dickson punt at the 21-yard line, returned it nine yards before he was hit by Blount and Travis Homer and again lost the ball, which was recovered by Dissly at the Giants' 32. James left the game with a concussion.
"I looked on the JumboTron, looked like the guy knocked it out of his hand pretty good," Daboll said. "Richie knows you've got to take care of it and that's the game."
The Seahawks covered the 32 yards in two 16-yard plays - a pass to tight end Noah Fant and rookie Kenneth Walker's touchdown run.
"I just missed (the tackle on Walker's run)," McKinney said. "That's all I can say."
With that, the Giants' fourth-quarter magic had officially dissolved, at least temporarily.
"We always feel like we're in good shape to win the game," McKinney said. "Something we preach all week is that we know the games are going to be 60 minutes, and for us, we always have that motto of taking it to the deep end and just playing all the way through. So, no matter how much we're down by or what the situation is in the game, we always believe that we can come back and win. Obviously, we didn't get it done today, but it is what it is. We learn from the mistakes that we made – as a team, as a unit, defensively as well – and just go back to the drawing board and be better after bye week."