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Sunday, October 9, 2011
Wrap-up: Seahawks 36, Giants 25

By Mike Sando

Thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks' 36-25 victory over the New York Giants in Week 5:

What it means: The Seahawks head into their bye week with a 2-3 record and significant momentum after pulling off an unexpected road victory in the 10 a.m. PT time slot. This victory, following a big comeback in defeat against Atlanta, casts the Seahawks as a young team heading in the right direction. Charlie Whitehurst's 27-yard touchdown pass to rookie Doug Baldwin after Seattle lost starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson to a shoulder injury [UPDATE: Pete Carroll told reporters Jackson suffered a pectoral injury] gives Whitehurst credibility moving forward if Jackson needs time to recover.

What I liked: The Seahawks were the better team, particularly early and late. They built off the progress shown during the second half of their 30-28 defeat against Atlanta a week earlier. Seattle allowed no sacks in that game, a victory for the team's young offensive line. This week, Marshawn Lynch and the line took advantage of a Giants defense that has struggled against the run recently. Lynch's 47-yard run helped set the tone early. On defense, Earl Thomas ended his 12-game interception drought and, through his active play, again showed why he's one of the best safeties around. Tony Hargrove's third-quarter safety was another huge play for the defense, breaking a 14-14 tie. Interceptions from Earl Thomas, Brandon Browner and Kam Chancellor showcased some of the Seahawks' young talent on defense. Browner returned his 90 yards for the clinching touchdown.

What I didn't like: Lynch lost a fumble at the Giants' 13-yard line. Fullback Michael Robinson lost one at the Giants' 2. Those first-half turnovers changed the game for Seattle and prevented it from taking control. The Seahawks' inability to stop Giants receiver Victor Cruz, even when they had good coverage, also stood out -- at least until Browner's clinching interception on a pass intended for Cruz.

Rising star: Baldwin continued his impressive play for the Seahawks as an undrafted rookie free agent. He caught eight passes for 136 yards and a touchdown. Jackson and Whitehurst spread the ball around to players other than Sidney Rice. Baldwin and Ben Obomanu each caught a touchdown pass.

Deja vu: Last season, a victory at Chicago in the Seahawks' fifth game proved critical in their ability to win the NFC West. Scoring another road upset in the fifth game improves the Seahawks' chances considerably in 2011. This was a game most of us would have marked down as a likely defeat heading into the season.

What's next: The Seahawks have a bye in Week 6 before visiting Cleveland in Week 7.