The first half was all the New York Giants needed to put away the Seahawks and memories of past losses in Seattle.
Eli Manning picked apart Seattle’s secondary for 232 yards and three touchdowns and Ahmad Bradshaw added two TDs – all in the opening half – and the Giants routed the Seahawks 41-7 on Sunday.
Coming off its bye, New York (6-2) won its fifth straight game and is among the NFL’s top teams halfway through the season.
The win had a little extra meaning. Five years ago at Qwest Field, the Giants were penalized 14 times – including 11 false starts – in a 24-21 overtime loss. A year later, after the Giants made claims that artificial crowd noise was being piped into the stadium, the Seahawks jumped to a 42-3 lead in another win over New York.
This time, the Giants were called for just two false start penalties and handed Seattle its worst home loss since 2002. It was the Giants biggest road win since a 41-7 win at Washington in 1993.
Manning’s passer rating was a nearly perfect 152.3 in the first half. He finished 21 of 32 for 290 yards and TD passes of 46, 6, and 5 yards. Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs and D.J. Ware combined for 201 yards rushing, while Hakeem Nicks had six catches for 128 yards.
About the only positive for Seattle was keeping quarterback Charlie Whitehurst upright and in the game after the Giants had knocked out five quarterbacks already this season.
But Whitehurst’s performance, in his first NFL start, should silence those calling for the end of Matt Hasselbeck’s tenure in Seattle. With Hasselbeck out with a concussion, Whitehurst completed 12 of 23 passes for 113 yards and two interceptions.
It didn’t help Whitehurst that two starting offensive linemen were out, along with three-fourths of Seattle’s starting defensive line. And Seattle’s run game never got started against the Giants defense with Marshawn Lynch held to 48 yards on 11 carries, 26 yards coming on one run.
Whitehurst did complete the first regular season pass of his career – for a 3-yard loss – and he threw a 36-yard TD pass to Ben Obomanu early in the fourth quarter, the Seahawks first touchdown since the second quarter against Arizona two weeks ago.
But Whitehurst wasn’t alone in Seattle’s general ineptitude. Offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates called a double pass on third-and-1 in the first quarter that fell incomplete when Whitehurst overthrew tight end Chris Baker by 10 yards.
After Manning hit Nicks on a 46-yard touchdown – a drive kept alive by an illegal contact call against Seattle rookie safety Earl Thomas on third down – Leon Washington fumbled the ensuing kickoff. Jonathan Goff recovered and returned it to the Seattle 4 and Bradshaw piled in on the next play.
Washington’s next kickoff return went for 57 yards and Lynch got Seattle its first first-down on a 6-yard run. But two plays later, Lynch fell on his face before the snap and was called for a false start. Whitehurst was intercepted on the next play on a throw into the end zone that Mike Williams should have caught, but instead was deflected and landed in the hands of Terrell Thomas.
Manning then led the Giants to another score, hitting Steve Smith on a 6-yard TD pass and a 28-0 lead. Smith celebrated by running over and standing next to a “Volume 12” sign in the end zone and getting a beer shower in the process.