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Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks defense feasts on Giants in dominant ‘Monday Night Football’ win

By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – They finished the game without Jamal Adams and without a single member of their usual starting offensive line playing at his regular spot.

And they played it with their starting quarterback hobbling through a knee injury that briefly forced him out in the first half.

But what the Seahawks had Monday night was a dominating defense that sacked New York QB Daniel Jones 11 times – tying a Seattle team record that was set in a 37-0 win against the Raiders in 1986 – and a scintillating performance from rookie cornerback Devon Witherspoon.

And that was more than enough to lead Seattle to a 24-3 win over the New York Giants and win a third straight game to improve to 3-1. It only further washed away the bad taste of the season opening blowout home defeat against the Los Angeles Rams.

The defense directly contributed to 17 of Seattle’s points, including a forced fumble that led to Seattle’s first touchdown of the game and Witherspoon’s interception of a Jones pass that he returned 97 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter.

Witherspoon’s pick came after Jones had just converted a fourth down with a 10-yard run on fourth-and-1, and with the Giants appearing on the verge of making it a game – and finally sparking some life into a MetLife Stadium that was largely quiet for most of the night.

But two plays later, Jones tried to sneak a pass into the slot to Parris Campbell and Witherspoon stepped in front of it. He juked out Jones around midfield and then pranced into the end zone, holding his finger aloft as he crossed the goal line.

The play capped what was the most significant game yet for the player Seattle got as the fifth overall pick last April with a selection it acquired in the Russell Wilson deal.

Witherspoon made his third start, having missed the opener against the Rams with a hamstring injury.

The Seahawks undoubtedly think there is little coincidence that they are undefeated in games Witherspoon has played.

Witherspoon played both left cornerback and the nickel spot due to injuries to other players. He also had two sacks on a day when Seattle’s defense feasted on a beat-up Giants offensive line and a New York team that was playing without star running back Saquon Barkley.

The dominating defense allowed Seattle to overcome what was a dizzying array of injuries early on.

Adams, playing his first game since the season opener a year ago Sept. 12, 2022, against Denver, started as Seattle began in a three-safety set. But he left after just nine plays due to a concussion suffered when he was hit in the head by Jones’ knee while making a tackle.

Smith left the game after he was injured on a play when he caught a pass that was deflected back into his hands by D.J. Davidson. As Smith headed out of bounds on the Giants sideline, he was brought to the ground by Giants linebacker Isaiah Simmons with his right knee buckling underneath him.

Smith tried to shake it off and stayed in for the next play before being examined on the sidelines and heading to the locker room for the rest of the half.

Drew Lock played the rest of the first half – in what was his first regular-season action as a Seahawk – and led a seven-play, 75-yard scoring drive that increased Seattle’s lead to 14-3 at halftime.

Smith returned for the second half and led Seattle’s offense for the rest of the game.

The Seahawks also lost both starting guards to injuries – Phil Haynes (calf) and Damien Lewis (ankle) – which forced Seattle to move starting center Evan Brown to guard and play rookie Olu Oluwatimi at center, meaning Seattle had none of its usual starters playing at any of the five offensive line spots.

But the Seahawks were still able to move it when needed.

Smith hit DK Metcalf for a 6-yard TD pass on the last play of the first quarter that followed a strip sack of Jones by Mario Edwards Jr. returned by Jordyn Brooks to the 7.

Then, after Smith left to have his knee examined, Lock led Seattle to another TD, the key play a 51-yard pass on third down to tight end Noah Fant to the New York 1-yard line.

That set up a 1-yard TD run by Kenneth Walker III.

Seattle’s offense did little in the second half, but it hardly mattered with the way the defense played.

Following Witherspoon’s pick, a good portion of the MetLife crowd headed for the exits on what was a perfect fall New York night.

A little later, Jones threw another pick – this one to Quandre Diggs – that led to a Jason Myers field goal and a 24-3 lead,

Jones returned to the game to boos from the fans who remained but also just endured more punishment, with Boye Mafe accounting for the 10th sack of the game with 4:09 left.

And then three plays later on a fourth down, the Seahawks got their team-record tying sack when Nwosu tackled Jones on a fourth-down play with 3:36 remaining.