James Bradberry laid out a clear mission statement for the New York Giants’ defense. “We’re looking to go out there and dominate. That’s our whole goal, is to go out there and dominate,” the cornerback told reporters during his media availablity session on Tuesday. Consider that mission accomplished, as Big Blue held quarterback Russell Wilson and an explosive Seattle Seahawks’ offense to just 10 points in a 17-12 victory on Sunday.
Despite missing starting quarterback Daniel Jones due to injury, the Giants beat the heavily favored Seahawks thanks to a powerful rushing attack and suffocating defense. Colt McCoy, Jones’ replacement, had an objectively lousy game, but it didn’t matter. New York dictated terms by controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, especially in the second half.
Seattle opened the game with a nine-play, 57-yard drive, but the Giants’ defense was able to hold them in the red zone and force a field goal attempt. Big Blue held the Seahawks scoreless for the remainder of the half, as Seattle’s only other first-half points came from a safety on a blocked punt.
For as well as New York’s defense played in that opening half, it seemed that the Giants’ offense wouldn’t be able to hold up their end of the bargain. They only gained 80 yards and went scoreless in the first half, with their lone effective drive ending in a McCoy interception that bounced off the hands of Evan Engram right to safety Quandre Diggs.
It was in the second half, though, that the Giants’ ground game started to assert itself. With 9:04 left in the third quarter, running back Wayne Gallman broke off a 60-yard run that set New York up in the red zone. Two Alfred Morris carries and a Sterling Shepard two-point conversion later and Big Blue had a touchdown on the board and an 8-5 lead.
The Giants started their next possession at midfield after Seattle turned the ball over on downs. Big Blue once again kept the ball on the ground to get all the way to the Seahawks’ 6-yard line. McCoy then hit Morris on a play-action pass for his second touchdown of the game. Graham Gano missed the extra point, so the Giants found themselved up 14-5 with two and a half minutes left in the third quarter.
Seattle finally put the ball in the endzone on their next possession. After a Holmes defensive holding penalty on a third-and-15 kept the Seahawks drive alive, Wilson found Carson for a 28-yard touchdown strike to make the score 17-12 with just over six minutes remaining.
The Giants managed a couple first downs on their next possession to kill a few minutes off the clock, but ultimately had to punt the ball back to Wilson and the Seahawks with 1:48 left in the game.
That’s when New York’s defense had their most impressive stand of the game. Wilson is typically an assassin in late-game situations, but Big Blue held their ground at midfield and forced a fourth-down incompletion on a desperation heave.
Latest Giants News
The Giants finally have their signature win of the season. Up until this week, the Giants had only beaten sub-.500 teams. But defeating a quality opponent on the road with a backup quarterback is the kind of statement that will force the rest of the league to take note. Now at 5-7, New York has guaranteed their spot atop the NFC East standings for at least another week. Depending on the outcome of the Washington Football Team game on Monday and the Dallas Cowboys game on Tuesday, the Giants could have an effective two-game lead in the division heading into Week 14.
The only possibly negative result from this game for Big Blue is the back injury that forced linebacker Blake Martinez to leave the game in the fourth quarter. Martinez leads the team in tackles, and has been a stabilizing force in the middle of the defense all year. The severity of his injury is still uncertain. The Giants can’t afford to lose him for an extended period of time.
Here are your Week 13 “Podium/Sodium Players”, i.e, three players Giants fans want given a medal for their performance, and three they might be a bit salty about.
Gold Medal: DL Leonard Williams
Williams was dominant all game, and one of the main factors in New York’s ability to quell the Seattle offense. The former New York Jet had two and a half sacks on the day. He was constantly in the backfield making life miserable for Wilson. Williams now has 8.5 sacks on the season, which stands as his new career high. The trade that brought the USC product to the Giants was heavily criticized at the time. General manager Dave Gettleman gets closer to vindication with each game Williams plays.
Silver Medal: RB Wayne Gallman
Gallman had been a steady if unspectacular presence in New York’s backfield the past few games. His yards per carry were never great, but he ran for what was available. This performance, though, safely falls into the spectacular category. Gallman had an eye-popping 135 yards on 16 carries. His 8.4 yards per attempt was bouyed by his 60-yard rush in the third quarter, which the Giants needed to jumpstart their offense. Gallman continues to be a hammer in the run game. He embodies the hard-nosed identity this team has taken.
Bronze Medal: CB James Bradberry
Bradberry had the difficult assignment of covering the imposing D.K. Metcalf for much of this game. He handled it splendidly. Metcalf had a fine afternoon, hauling in five receptions for 80 yards. He wasn’t a game breaker, though, the way he had been the previous week against Philadelphia. A couple of his catches were against Isaac Yiadom, making Bradberry’s performance all the more impressive. The Giants’ top corner also tied for second on the team with seven tackles, including five solo. Bradberry had yet another Pro Bowl-caliber game.
Salty: WR Sterling Shepard
There’s not a lot of saltiness to go around after such a good team win. But the Giants’ air attack left a lot to be desired. Not much was expected with McCoy at the helm, but the passing game even fell short of those meager standards. The usually productive Shepard had a down game, catching just one ball for 22 yards. But it’s hard to get too upset at his stat line given the Giants’ conservative playcalling.
Saltier: WR Darius Slayton
It’s no surprise Slayton didn’t fill up the boxscore with the limited McCoy at quarterback. Still, you’d hope for more than one catch for 14 yards from your de facto number-one receiver. Slayton also got called for a holding penalty that helped stall the Giants second possession by negating a 14-yard screen to Golden Tate.
Saltiest: QB Colt McCoy
New York was always going to miss a beat after losing Jones, but McCoy was even worse than anticipated. The veteran backup went 13-22 for 105 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He threw a couple other passes that could’ve easily been intercepted had Seattle defenders made better plays on the ball. Giants fans should just be happy the team somehow got the victory, and hope Jones is healthy for Week 14.