Sunday, December 15, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Seattle Seahawks
By Terry Blount
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A few thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks' 23-0 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday at MetLife Stadium:
What it means: The Seahawks improve to an NFL-best 12-2 and earn a franchise-record sixth road victory this season. Seattle needs to win only one of its last two games (both at home) to clinch the NFC West title and home-field advantage in the playoffs.
Stock watch: It was the best effort of the season by the Seattle defense. The Giants had only 54 yards in the first half. Eli Manning threw five interceptions, and three picks came in the first two quarters, although the last one by Richard Sherman was on a Hail Mary pass on the last play of the half. New York had only 15 yards rushing in the first half. This will give you some idea of how well the Seahawks played on defense. Golden Tate tied the franchise record with seven punt returns in the game.
Cornered: Another stellar effort by the Seattle cornerbacks. Two weeks in a row, quarterbacks have tested backup corner Byron Maxwell, only to watch him burn them. Maxwell had two interceptions Sunday, giving him three in the past two games. And any team that throws a sideline go route on Sherman is just plain dumb. Manning tried it in the second quarter, and Sherman could have called for a fair catch. Jeremy Lane also played well as the nickelback. Even the interception by free safety Earl Thomas late in the fourth quarter came on an assist from Sherman in the end zone when he batted the ball to Thomas. The Legion of Boom hasn't missed a beat without cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond.
Hauschka a kicking machine: It was another perfect day for Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka, who went 3-for-3 on field goals. He has made 30 of 31 field goals, with his only miss a blocked kick at Indianapolis. Hauschka is the best kicker in the league this season.
What's next: The Seahawks return home for the final two games of the regular season against the Arizona Cardinals on the Sunday before Christmas and the St. Louis Rams on the Sunday after Christmas. If the Seahawks defeat Arizona, the final game becomes a chance to rest some starters and not risk injuries before the playoffs.