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Gameday Live 8: Giants at Seahawks

The Giants' Steve Smith and Terrell Thomas are

The Giants' Steve Smith and Terrell Thomas are looking forward to facing their former coach at USC, Seattle's Pete Carroll. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Good afternoon Giants enthusiasts! Welcome to Week 9 in the NFL!

I'm Chris Mascaro and I'll be bringing you all of today's live game action, as the Giants (5-2, 2-1 road), who are tied for the most wins in the NFC with Green Bay, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and New Orleans, take on Charlie Whitehurst and the first-place Seattle Seahawks (4-3, 3-0 home) at Qwest Field in Seattle.

Charlie, who?

Yes, Mr. Whitehurst, the 28-year old who will be making his first career start in place of the concussed Matt Hasselbeck this afternoon. He was a third round draft pick in 2006 out of Clemson and spent his first four seasons as the third-stringer in San Diego.

Whitehurst, who has never attempted a pass in a regular season game, hasn't seen game action, except for the preseason, since 2006. 

Suffice it to say, the sack-happy Giants can't wait to get their paws on him.

"No matter how long he's been in this league, this is his first NFL start," said safety Antrel Rolle earlier this week. "In our eyes, he's definitely a rookie. There's going to be a lot of things that we can rattle him with. There are things we can do to rattle any quarterback in this league."

Ah yes, things that rattle QBs — like knocking the opposing starter out of four games this season, including each of the last two. 

The Giants are coming in hot and rested, which is a dangerous combination. They're winners of four straight dating back to the Sunday night domination of the Chicago offensive line in Week 4. Last week, they were on a bye. But two weeks ago, they knocked Tony Romo out for the season in a 41-35 Monday night win in Dallas.

This is the sixth time in Tom Coughlin's seven years with the Giants that the team has started 5-2 (in 2008, they were 6-1). But as we know, only one of those seasons resulted in a playoff victory. They last won five games in a row the first five weeks of last season but finished the season 8-8.

Said safety Deon Grant: "We're still putting it together, we still haven't tied that knot yet. When we tie that knot, it's going to be ugly."

Speaking of ugly, Seattle is coming off a 33-3 drubbing at the hands of Oakland last week. It was only 13-0 after three quarters, but the Raiders scored 20 fourth-quarter points to bury the Seahawks. Hasselbeck was sacked six times, but didn't leave the game.

"There's no mystery to us on what happened today. We got nothing done," Seattle coach Pete Carroll (pictured above) said after the game. "We accomplished nothing on any aspect of our ball."

Ouch.

But history actually favors Seattle in this matchup, believe it or not. The Giants are 6-15 following their bye week (3-3 under Coughlin) and haven't won in Seattle since 1981 (a stretch of four games).

Seattle is 3-0 at home this season, outscoring its opponents there 80-36. 

The Giants are no strangers to the noise at Qwest Field, having committed 11 false-start penalties in a 24-21 overtime loss in 2005. Said Chris Snee: "I had never seen anything like it." 

Blocking out the noise is crucial to the Giants' success, or lack thereof, this afternoon. Here are three more keys to today's game, and if you don't like them, there's always this stuff.

1. Can the Giants turn the ball over and still win? Sure, why not? They've been making a habit of doing it this season. Eli Manning entered the day tied for the league lead in interceptions with Brett Favre and Drew Brees at 11, including three two weeks ago in Dallas. Seven of the picks have come off tipped passes. The Giants have also lost 10 fumbles in seven games, including four by Ahmad Bradshaw. They are -5 in turnover magin, and the six teams with a worse differential have a combined 12 wins. You never want to give a green quarterback extra possessions with turnovers, but you almost feel like the Giants can overcome it. We'll shall see.

*Of course they can. Boss lost a fumble, but the Giants actually won the turnover battle, 3-1 (they had two picks and a fumble recovery on a kickoff).

2. The return of Mike Williams. When Pete Carroll took the job in Seattle, he brought with him a former player from USC, receiver Mike Williams, who was one of Matt Millen's first-round wide receiver busts in Detroit. After being cast off by the Lions, he bounced around to Oakland and Tennessee in 2007 and was out of football until Carroll picked him up off the scrap heap. Though Williams' numbers aren't spectacular, 33 catches for 375 yards and a touchdown, he does lead the team in receiving yards, and has become one of their few threats on offense. He has been targeted 55 times by Hasselbeck. We'll see if Whitehurst seeks him out today against the league's second ranked passing defense.

The Giants' Steve Smith and Terrell Thomas also played for Carroll at USC and are excited to see their former coach.

*Indeed, Whitehurst targeted Williams eight times, but he only caught two passes for 25 yards. He had one pass bounce off his hands and helmet on the goal line, leading to an interception. Both Smith and Thomas had good games, with a touchdown and interception, respectively.

3. Stop the Giants' offense? Doubtful. The Seahawks are 26th in the league in total defense, allowing 368.3 yards per game. They are half-decent against the run (100.6 yards per game), but 29th against the pass (267.7 yards per game). Look for Smith, Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks (109 catches for 1,325 and 13 touchdowns between the three of them) to have big games today against a shoddy secondary.

*Ummm, this one's self explanatory, no? Just check the stats below.

Here are today's inactives, courtesy of Mr. Tom Rock, who reports from Seattle that new addition Will Blackmon will handle kick and punt return duties for the injured Darius Reynaud, who didn't make the trip due to a hamstring injury.

Also, the Giants tweaked their offensive line. Rich Seubert will start at center, David Diehl will play left guard and Shawn Andrews is in at left tackle. Adam Koets, who had been starting at center in place of Shaun O'Hara, will be the sixth lineman/tight end. What prompted the move? Seubert, a veteran, has more experience with silent counts than Koets, but he hasn't started at center since Dec. 2006.

Here is the weather report from Seattle, where it's actually in the mid-50s and sunny.

Finally, here are a few notes on today's game:

-The Seahawks, who finished last season 5-11, were 4-4 at home. Their last win over an NFC East opponent was the Wild Card round of the 2007 playoffs, a 35-14 win at home over Washington. They won in Philly five weeks earlier.

-The Giants enter the day second in the NFC in points scored with 175 (just one point behind Green Bay). They've allowed 153, which is tied for ninth best in the conference (ahead of Arizona, Dallas, San Francisco, Washington, Detroit, Tampa Bay and Philly).

-The Seahawks have scored 123 points this season (second-to-last in the NFC, ahead of only Carolina) and allowed 140 (fourth lowest in the conference).

-The Seahawks are +2 in turnover margin (11 giveaways, 13 takeaways), while the Giants are -5, tied with the Bills, Cowboys and Saints for the sixth worst margin in the league — something that certainly irks Coughlin.

-Speaking of turnovers, Bradshaw entered the bye week as the league's leading rusher but currently stands fourth in the NFL with 708 rushing yards. He is fifth in the league with 5.3 yards per carry and has scored three touchdowns. His 10 runs of 20+ yards lead the league, but so do his four lost fumbles. According to our own Tom Rock,  Bradshaw has lost more fumbles than the next five top rushers combined.

-Brandon Jacobs has four straight games with a touchdown, and two weeks ago in Dallas ran for a season-high 75 yards on 12 carries, including a 30-yard burst.

-The Seahawks haven't won four straight games at home since 2007.

-This is one of those rare weekends where both the Giants and the Jets, who play in Detroit, are both on the road. It will happen again in Week 16.

Okay, that's all for now. But we've got plenty more to talk about today, so keep it locked here throughout the afternoon!

I'll be back after each quarter with updates.

We're about 15 minutes from football on FOX!

 

End of the 1st Quarter: Giants 21, Seahawks 0

Giants' first scoring drive: 7 plays, 52 yards, 3:37

Scoring play: Bradshaw 2-yard run (Tynes kick) ... it was Bradshaw's fourth TD of the season.

Key play: Trufant 16-yard pass interference (more below).

Giants' second scoring drive:  4 plays, 52 yards, 3:37

Scoring play: Nicks 46-yard pass from Manning (Tynes kick) ... it was his ninth TD reception, tying him with Antonio Gates for the league lead, and Manning's 15th TD pass.

Key play: Earl Thomas' 5-yard illegal contact penalty on third-and-8 from the Giants' 49. The penalty automatically gave the Giants a first down. The Giants scored on the very next play.

Giants' third scoring drive: 1 play, 4 yards, 0:05

Scoring play: Bradshaw 4-yard run (Tynes kick) ... it was his second TD of the day and fifth of the season.

Key play: Washington's fumble on a kick return (more below).

Players who impressed for the Giants:

-The kick coverage team held Leon Washington, the NFL's leader in kick return yardage, to only a 10-yard return on the opening kickoff. He had only 19 yards on the second return.

-On Washington's third return, a bonanza for the Giants. Travis Beckum jarred the ball loose with a nice hit and Washington and Jonathan Goff returned it 22 yards to the Seattle 4-yard line. 

-Nicks couldn't catch Manning's third-and-9 pass from the Seahawks' 38, but he did draw a pass interference call on Marcus Trufant to keep the Giants' first scoring drive going. Trufant had his back to the ball, mauling Nicks.

-Bradshaw had nine touches in the first quarter, seven carries for 19 yards and a score and two catches for 22 yards.

-Manning completed eight of his first nine passes for 126 yards and a score.

Players who struggled:

-Blackmon's first punt return went for only three yards. He tried to shake free after the initial hit, but he was ruled down. He was also stuffed on his second return, but an ineligible man downfield penalty forced a re-kick. The Seahawks down that punt. On his third return, he called a fair catch, but had to dive forward to make the grab. Luckily for the Giants, he held on.

-Kevin Boss caught a third-and-1 pas from Manning, but he fumbled the ball along the sideline and it was recovered by the Seahawks on their own 29-yard line. The play was initially ruled a catch, but was overturned on Pete Carroll's challenge. It was the Giants' 22nd giveaway of the season, third most in the league.

-Jacobs was dropped for a loss of two yards on his second carry to bring up a third-and-8.

-Washington's fourth kick return wasn't so great for the Giants. He returned it 57 yards out to the Giants' 30-yard line. Duke Calhoun made a touchdown-saving tackle.

-What to watch for in the second quarter: Can the Giants keep shutting down the Seattle offense? The Seahawks had just five total yards on their first three drives, and Whitehurst only completed three of his first five passes. They had 15 total in the first quarter.

Also, the Giants seem to be managing the noise well. No false start penalties thus far.

 

End of the 2nd Quarter: Giants 35, Seahawks 0

Giants' fourth scoring drive: 11 plays, 73 yards, 5:31

Scoring play: Smith 6-yard pass from Manning (Tynes kick) ... it was Smith's third TD catch of the season and Manning's 16th TD pass.

Key play: Nicks 22-yard pass down the right side from Manning on third-and-13 from the Seattle 43-yard line.

Giants' fifth scoring drive: 10 plays, 86 yards, 4:11

Scoring play: Boss 5-yard pass from Manning (Tynes kick) ... for Boss, an Oregon native who has many family members at the game, it was his first TD of the season. Manning has 17 TD passes.

Key play: Manningham 32-yard pass from Manning on third-and-4 from their own 20.

Players who impressed for the Giants:

-On the first play of the quarter, Terrell Thomas intercepted a Whitehurst pass intended for Williams in the end zone. The ball bounced off Williams' hands and then his helmet before Thomas snatched it and returned it to the 27-yard line. It was Thomas' third INT of the season.

-Later in the quarter, Whitehurst threw another interception in Giants' territory, this time to Corey Webster. Webster stepped in front of Williams at the 12 and returned it to his own 14. It was Webster's second INT of the season. The bad news for the Giants was that Webster was shown heading into the locker room after the play. He was walking in on his own power.

-Jacobs busted a first-down run into the secondary for a gain of 14 yards from his own 46 on the Giants' fourth scoring drive.

Players who struggled:

-Steve Smith was flagged for an offensive pass interference penalty on second-and-3 from the Seattle 33.

What to watch for in the second half: Can the Giants keep this one a laugher? This is the Giants' largest halftime lead since November ... of 1959. The Giants also scored in all four of their trips to the red zone.

Here are some halftime stats for your viewing pleasure...

Giants

Manning: 17-for-21 for 232 yards, three TDs; 1 carry, -1 yards

Bradshaw: 12 carries, 42 yards, two TDs; 4 catches, 35 yards

Jacobs: 5 carries, 25 yards

Nicks: 4 catches, 94 yards, TD

Manningham: 3 catches, 47 yards

Smith: 3 catches, 31 yards, TD

Boss: 2 catches, 15 yards, TD, lost fumble

Bear Pascoe: 1 catch, 10 yards

Tynes: 5-for-5 on XPs

Webster/Thomas: INT each 

Goff: 3 tackles

Seahawks

Whitehurst: 9-for-19 for 64 yards, two INTs; 1 carry, 2 yards

Marshawn Lynch: 6 carries, 16 yards 

Justin Forsett: 1 carry, -1 yards; 1 catch, 5 yards

Brandon Stokley: 2 catches, 26 yards

Williams: 1 catch, 17 yards

Chris Baker: 1 catch, 7 yards

Deon Butler: 3 catches, 5 yards

John Carlson: 1 catch, 4 yards

Washington: 5 kick returns, 113 yards, lost fumble

Trufant: seven tackles

 

End of the 3rd Quarter: Giants 41, Seahawks 0

Giants' sixth scoring drive: 5 plays, 40 yards, 1:20

Scoring play: Tynes 25-yard FG (his eighth made field goal in 10 attempts this season).

Key play: Jacobs 38-yard run around right end on the first play of the drive down to the Seattle 9.

Giants' seventh scoring drive: 15 plays, 78 yards, 8:29

Scoring play: Tynes 20-yard field goal (his second of the game and ninth of the season).

Key plays: Nicks 9-yard catch from Manning on third-and-6 from midfield; Smith 15-yard reception from Manning on third-and-5 from the Seattle 36.

Players who impressed for the Giants

-Matt Dodge punted for the first time today in the third period. It traveled 50 yards and was returned only five for a net of 45 yards.

-Blackmon returned his second punt 22 yards to his own 48. Nice job by the new Giant.

-Nicks has six catches for 128 yards. It is his fourth 100+-yard game in his last five outings.

Players who struggled:

-Koets, who moved to center to start the second half, was penalized for holding on the first play from scrimmage.

-Manningham was flagged for a false start to bring up a third-and-21, but does it really matter at this point?

-Manning had Smith open on a third-and-goal play, but it was a poor throw and Smith got his hands on it but couldn't haul it in.

-Jacobs couldn't convert a third-and-1 from the Seahawks' 12, and the Giants had to try a field goal. The kick was good, but Seattle was called for a penalty on the play, giving the Giants a first-and-goal on the 7. The Giants still had to settle for a field goal, but they milked 8:29 off the clock.

What to watch for in the fourth quarter: The clock. It's only a 15 minutes until the Giants have their fifth straight win. Sage Rosenfels has replaced Eli for the fourth quarter.

 

That's the end of game, as the Giants defeat the Seahawks, 41-7, for their fifth straight win.
Giants: 6-2 (3-1 road)
Seahawks: 4-4 (3-1 home) ... they have lost their last two games by a combined score of 74-10.

Scores by quarter for the Giants: 21, 14, 6, 0
Scores by quarter for the Seahawks: 0, 0, 0, 7

Sehawks' first scoring drive: 3 plays, 70 yards, 1:26

Scoring play: Ben Obomanu 36-yard pass from Whitehurst (Olindo Mare kick) ... it was Obomanu's second TD catch of the season and Whitehurst's first career TD pass.

Key play: Lynch 26-yard run on second-and-2 from his own 38.

*After the touchdown, the Giants took over on their own 20 with 13:34 to play. They ran 19 plays (all runs) for 76 yards before turning the ball over on downs at the Seattle 6 with 34 seconds to play.

*Koets injured his knee early in the quarter but walked off on his own power. Mitch Petrus replaced him at center, the third of the day for the Giants. He later moved to left guard, switching spots with Seubert.

Here are your three stars for today's game:

1. Manning: 21-for-32 for 290 yards with three TDs and no INTs.

2. Nicks: 6 catches for 128 yards and a TD. He has nine TD catches on the season and 100 yards in four of his last five games.

3. Bradshaw: 19 carries, 57 yards, two TDs; 4 catches, 35 yards.

*The Giants had a 42:34-17:26 advantage in time of possession, and a 487-162 advantage in total yards.

Here are today's final stats...

Giants

Jacobs: 11 carries, 78 yards

D.J. Ware: 13 carries, 66 yards (all in the fourth quarter)

Rosenfels: 3 carries, -3 yards (all kneel downs)

Manningham: 4 catches, 56 yards

Smith: 4 catches, 46 yards, TD

Boss: 2 catches, 15 yards, TD, lost fumble

Bear Pascoe: 1 catch, 10 yards

Tynes: 2-for-2 on FGs; 5-for-5 on XPs

Webster/Thomas: INT each 

Webster: 5 tackles

Seahawks

Whitehurst: 12-for-23 for 113 yards, TD, two INTs; 2 carries, 2 yards

Lynch: 10 carries, 44 yards 

Forsett: 1 carry, -1 yards; 1 catch, 5 yards

Obomanu: 1 catch, 36 yards, TD

Stokley: 2 catches, 26 yards

Williams: 2 catches, 25 yards

Carlson: 2 catches, 9 yards

Baker: 1 catch, 7 yards

Butler: 3 catches, 5 yards

Washington: 5 kick returns, 113 yards, lost fumble

David Hawthorne: 12 tackles

*The attendance at Qwest Field today was 67,287.

Okay, that's all for today's game. Please check back above for updates on my pregame keys to the game. Thanks to all for coming out!

As always, it was my honor and pleasure to bring everyone all of today's live game action.

See ya'll back here in next Sunday, as the Giants play host to the Dallas Cowboys at 4:15 p.m. Have a great Sunday evening everyone!  

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