The Seattle Seahawks capitalized on two costly fumbles to snap the New York Giants’ win streak in their 27-13 victory at home on Sunday.
Those fumbles came off two punt returns by the Giants’ Richie James, who would leave the game after the second one with a concussion. Unfortunately for Big Blue, they were momentum killers as well.
First, it was the Giants causing a fumble of their own as Adoree’ Jackson pried the ball loose from Tyler Lockett at the Seahawks’ 2-yard line, which set up an easy Saquon Barkley touchdown run to tie the game at 7.
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But just as the Giants’ defense made the Seahawks quickly punt after just five plays, James fumbled his first punt return after being hit by tight end Will Dissly and not securing the ball well enough. Though Seattle recovered the fumble, the Giants would hold them to a field goal after starting on their 19-yard line.
The most crushing fumble, though, was in the fourth quarter when the Giants were down a touchdown and got a three-and-out on the Seattle offense to set up a potential comeback, something they’ve done three straight games to aid their four-game win streak.
This time, James was simply careless with the ball as it was poked out on a tackle and recovered by Dissly. Rookie running back Kenneth Walker III would score the dagger touchdown, a 16-yard run that would put the Seahawks up two scores. Walker had 51 yards on 18 carries.
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Earlier in the game, Lockett had a chance to catch a touchdown when quarterback Geno Smith dropped a dime right into his hands on the drive that came after James’ first fumble. But it hit Lockett in the helmet first and went for an incompletion, making the Seahawks settle for a field goal.
But Smith gave him the chance again, and Lockett delivered. First, he hit Jackson with a terrific double move that left the cornerback biting toward him before Lockett sprung free. Smith hit him perfectly in stride and the Seahawks would go up 27-13, and the Giants didn’t have the fight left in them to pull off another miraculous comeback.
Smith, as he’s been all season, was reliable for the Seahawks and made plays when he needed to. He finished with two touchdown passes – his first went to DK Metcalf, who started and totaled 55 yards on six catches despite being questionable all week with a knee injury – and 212 yards on 23-for-34.
Smith was especially locked in during that drive that resulted in the Lockett touchdown. He went 5-for-5 and was surgically dissecting the Giants’ defense for the 75-yard drive down the field that gave Seattle their lead back, one they wouldn't relinquish.
For the Giants, Barkley would have just 53 yards on 20 attempts as Seattle knew what the game plan was for Big Blue with his dynamic skill set. That forced quarterback Daniel Jones to throw the ball, and though he didn’t get picked off, he had just 176 yards on 17-for-31 with no touchdowns.
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The Seattle secondary seemed to be doing its job well as Jones had time in the pocket but wasn’t finding anyone to throw to. When he did, they were tight windows that resulted in either tough catches or pass breakups. Darius Slayton was the team’s leading receiver with 66 yards on five catches.
The Giants, who are still a surprising bunch at 6-2, will look to regroup on their upcoming bye week before hosting the Houston Texans the following week.
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The 5-3 Seahawks will take their three-game win streak to Arizona to face the Cardinals next Sunday.