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Cover 4: Breaking down the loss in Seattle


The crew reacts to Sunday's loss as the team enters the bye with a 6-2 record:

John Schmeelk: The Giants defense held up their part of the bargain against one of the best offenses in football on Sunday, holding the Seahawks to only 277 points and 3-13 on third downs. Seattle had only two plays of 20 yards or more, including the 33-yard touchdown completion to Tyler Lockett, the longest play in the game for either team. Ten of Seattle's points came on short field, where fumbled punt returns gave them the ball at the Giants 19 and 32.

Kenneth Walker, coming off two games where he rushed for 264 yards and averaged six yards per carry, rushed only 18 times for 51 yards. His longest run went for only 18 yards after having five go for 20 or more this season. It's hard to ask for more from a defense against an offense with as good of a track record as the Seahawks.

The offense, on the other hand, did not hold up their end of the bargain. The Giants only had 46 first-half yards, thanks to four three-and-outs, with 29 yards as their only drive. The only reason they scored any points in the first half, was an Adoree Jackson forced fumble/recovery that gave the offense the ball on Seattle's 2.

The offense was better in the second half, managing three drives of 40 yards or more, but they didn't manage a touchdown. It is very hard to win games only scoring 13 points and gaining only 225 yards. The Giants will try to right the ship during the bye and figure out how to score more consistently in the final nine games of the season.

Dan Salomone: The Giants had a formula for the first half of the season. The main variable was run, run, and just when the opponent thought you couldn't possibly do it again in the fourth quarter, run the ball some more. Sunday's matchup seemed ripe for the picking in that department, pitting the second-ranked rush offense against a defense tied for 29th. But the Giants, who were averaging 5.2 yards per carry in the first seven weeks, mustered just 2.8 in Seattle for a season-low 78 yards total on the ground. The Giants certainly missed starting offensive linemen Evan Neal and Ben Bredeson, but their backups, Tyre Phillips and Josh Ezeudu, had filled in more than admirably a week ago (Giants ran 17 times for 130 yards and eight first downs with five rushes for 10+ yards in the fourth quarter following the injuries). Against the Seahawks, the Giants gained just 13 yards on six attempts in the fourth quarter.

"They made plays," said Saquon Barkley, who was held to a season-low 53 rushing yards after coming in as the NFL leader in yards from scrimmage. "That happens. Part of the NFL. Those guys get paid a lot of money, too. 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."

View photos from the Giants' Week 8 game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Lance Medow: During the first seven games of the season, the one major question about the Giants was how would the offense perform if a team limited their ground attack, especially Daniel Jones. It's a small sample size but we received a bit of the answer in Sunday's loss to the Seahawks. Although they stayed in the game through the mid-point of the fourth quarter, Jones and Co. weren't able to finish drives with the same consistency as in the past. It's very difficult to put points on the board when you lack explosive plays overall and in New York's case, on the ground. They had no runs for more than 15 yards and nearly a quarter of them (six) were for no gain or negative yards.

Entering Week 8, Seahawks' opponents went three and out on just 11% of their possessions, a very low mark.  In Sunday's game, the Giants produced that result on five of their 11 possessions and, keep in mind, one of those drives started at the Seattle 2 as a result of a Tyler Lockett fumble so, it's fair to say, in situations where they had to go the length of the field, 50% of the time, they went three-and-out. That's a product of down-and-distance. Due to the inability of running the ball effectively, the Giants faced a season-high ten third downs for nine yards or more. Although they converted five of them, two came with less than 4:30 to go in the game when the Seahawks had a two-score lead.

The run game struggles also impacted red zone efficiency. The Giants opened up the third quarter on lengthy 14-play drive in which they faced a fresh set of downs at the Seahawks 16. On the first two plays combined, Jones picked up just three yards on the ground setting up a 3rd-and-7 that ended with an incomplete pass. As a result, New York had to settle for a field goal.  The Giants held the ball for roughly seven more minutes than Seattle but had only 13 points to show for it and their only touchdown was off an extremely shortened field. Time of possession is great but it's all about what you do with it. It's no coincidence that in the Giants two losses this season to the Cowboys and Seahawks, they scored just one touchdown in each.

Matt Citak: The Giants entered Sunday's matchup in Seattle ranked 32nd in the league in yards per carry allowed. By the final whistle, it had become evident that containing the Seahawks' explosive run game was clearly one of the top priorities for the defense, and outside of one play, they succeeded.

Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker has been nothing short of amazing since taking over as the lead back following Rashaad Penny's season-ending injury. In the three weeks leading up to this matchup, Walker had the following stat lines: eight carries for 88 yards (11.0 avg.) and a touchdown, 21 carries for 97 yards (4.6 avg.) and a touchdown, and 23 carries for 167 yards (7.3 avg.) and two touchdowns.

Going up against the Giants defense on Sunday, the Seahawks were unable to establish the run. Walker finished the game with 18 rush attempts for 51 yards (2.8 avg.), with 16 of those yards coming on his lone touchdown run. Without the scoring run, the rookie's numbers would drop to 35 yards on 17 carries (2.1 avg.) with only one reception for 1 yard. Undrafted rookie outside linebacker Tomon Fox stepped up in Week 8 as he finished tied for the team-lead with eight total tackles (six solo), including a team-high two tackles for loss.

"Every week we want to focus on stopping the run," cornerback Adoree' Jackson said after the game. "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 Giants will now have two weeks to get ready for the second half of the season, which includes matchups against some talented backs. The defense's first three games will be against Houston's Dameon Pierce, Detroit's DeAndre Swift and Jamaal Williams and Dallas' Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.


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