Not even a week off could slow the New York Giants’ momentum.
The Giants (6-2), who went into last week’s bye week with a four-game winning streak, came out of their week off with a 21-0 first quarter and never looked back in Seattle on Sunday.
Big Blue scored the first 41 points en route to a 41-7 thrashing of the Seahawks (4-4), who lost their second straight game after a 4-2 start.
As if New York needed any help, the Seahawks kept the Giants’ first two scoring drives alive with defensive penalties, and were sans injured starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in favor of fifth year backup Charlie Whitehurst, who entered the game without a prior NFL pass attempt.
It was the one time this season that the Giants actually faced a backup passer without knocking one out themselves, having already sidelined five quarterbacks with a punishing defense this season.
Whitehurst and the rest of the Seahawks soon learned just how tough that defense has been, as Seattle’s emergency starting signal caller was held to just 113 passing yards, completing 12 of 23 passes, while getting intercepted twice before throwing a late, meaningless touchdown.
The Giants also wrapped up the Seahawks’ rushing game, holding Seattle to a mere 49 yards on the ground.
Offensively, it looked like a scrimmage for the Giants’ balanced offense, which racked up 487 total yards against a Seahawk defense which offered little resistance.
Behind 290 passing yards and three touchdown throws from quarterback Eli Manning (21-32) to compliment 197 rushing yards, New York quadrupled Seattle in first downs, 28-7, and held the ball nearly three times as much (42:34 to the Seahawks’ 17:26).
After a fumble by tight end Kevin Boss (New York’s only turnover) on their opening possession, the Giants scored touchdowns on each of their next five possessions to give the Giants a 35-0 lead, marking New York’s largest halftime advantage since holding a 38-0 halftime lead against Washington in 1959.
New York’s first 21 points came in a span of just 3:46 late in the first quarter.
First, the Giants turned a third-down Seattle penalty into a two-yard touchdown run by running back Ahmad Bradshaw (19 rushes, 57 yards) to cap a 7-play, 52-yard drive.
Then, after a second straight three-and-out for the Seahawks, the Giants took advantage of another third-down penalty by Seattle, during a four-play, 63-yard drive to lead 14-0 on a nice, sliding 46-yard touchdown catch by wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (6 catches, game-high 128 yards, 1 TD), who recorded his fourth 100-yard receiving contest in his past five games.
New York then forced dangerous kick returner Leon Washington (whose two long kick returns for scores beat San Diego by a touchdown earlier in the season) to fumble on the ensuing kickoff (one of three Seahawk turnovers).
Jonathan Goff took the loose ball to the Seattle 4 yard-line. One play later, Bradshaw already had his second rushing touchdown of the game, and the Giants grabbed 21-0 lead with 2:03 left in the opening quarter.
With a huge lead already in hand, New York then took its time, scoring on its two longest scoring drives of the game on its next two possessions.
An 11-play, 73-yard march in 5:31 yielded a 6-yard touchdown pass from Manning to wide receiver Steve Smith (4 catches, 46 yards), to put the Giants up 28-0 just 5:45 into the second quarter.
New York then struck just before halftime, as Manning found Boss (2 catches, 15 yards) on a 5-yard touchdown toss, with 53 second left in the first half, to cap a 10-play, 86-yard drive.
Kicker Lawrence Tynes added a 25-yard field goal 4:55 into the third quarter before making a 20-yard chip shot on the final play of the third quarter, to give the Giants an embarrassingly large 41-0 lead heading into the final period as Seahawk fans filed in droves, for the exits.
Seattle then went 70 yards in just three plays, getting its only score on a 36-yard touchdown pass from Whitehurst to wide receiver Ben Obomanu with 13:34 left in the game.
With Manning and Bradshaw sitting out the fourth quarter, backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels (who didn’t have to throw a pass), was called upon to hand off to running back Brandon Jacobs (11 carries, game-high 78 yards, including a game-long 38-yard run) and even more so, running back Danny Ware (13 carries, 66 yards), who helped the Giants eat up 13 minutes on a 19-play, 71-yard drive before turning the ball over on downs to Seattle with 34 seconds left.
The win marked the Seahawks’ worst home loss since 2002 and the Giants’ biggest road win since a victory in Washington, by the same score, in 1993.
The Giants, who lead Philadelphia (5-3) by one game in the NFC East, will try to keep from looking ahead, as they look for their sixth straight win while hoping to send last-place Dallas (1-7) to its sixth consecutive loss, next Sunday, at 4:15pm EST, at home, before traveling to Philadelphia the following week.
In addition to NYSD, Jon Wagner contributes at Pro Football NYC (www.profootballnyc.com) and Giants Football Blog (www.giantsfootballblog.com)