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Witherspoon scores on 97-yard pick six as Seahawks D blitzes Giants 24-3

Rookie has highlight of night as Seattle defense sacks NY QB 11 times

By TOM CANAVAN, AP Sports Writer
Published: October 2, 2023, 9:25pm
8 Photos
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Devon Witherspoon (21) cuts behind New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) after intercepting a pass to run it back for a touchdown during the third quarter of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 2, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J.
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Devon Witherspoon (21) cuts behind New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) after intercepting a pass to run it back for a touchdown during the third quarter of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 2, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger) Photo Gallery

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — With all the points the Seattle Seahawks were scoring this season, it was easy to overlook their defense. They were excellent against the run but the pass defense was horrible.

A new Legion of Boom appeared on Monday night and wreaked havoc on Daniel Jones and the New York Giants.

Rookie cornerback Devon Witherspoon scored on a 97-yard interception return late in the third quarter and the Seahawks tied a team record with 11 sacks in a 24-3 victory over the struggling and offensively inept Giants.

“We’re just getting going,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “We’re just putting it together. A night like this for our defense to play that explosively. I can’t remember seeking double digit sacks.”

Geno Smith threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to DK Metcalf late in the first quarter after a strip-sack by defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. set up a short drive and Kenneth Walker III scored on a 1-yard run just before halftime as the Seahawks (3-1) won their third straight.

A fourth-quarter interception by Quandre Diggs set up a field goal by Jason Myers as the Seattle improve to 6-0 at MetLife Stadium, including the franchise’s only Super Bowl win, a 43-8 decision over Denver in 2014.

Besides the sacks, Seattle held New York, which played without star running back Saquon Barkley (ankle) for the second straight game, to 248 yards in total offense, 6 of 16 on third down and forced two turnovers.

Bobby Wagner, Jordyn Brooks, Witherspoon and Uchenna Nwosu each had two sacks.

“I think we needed it. Easy game defensively,” said Wagner, who also had 17 tackles. “We’ve been getting better. We’ve done a good job stopping the run but the thing was applying pressure. The last game we had a lot of pressures but not as many sacks. I think this game we turned those pressures into sacks.”

Graham Gano kicked a 55-yard field goal for the Giants (1-3), who have played one good half in four games this season and have looked nothing like the team that made the playoffs last year for the first time since 2016.

Seattle was clinging to a 14-3 lead late in third quarter when the Giants moved from their 43 to the Seahawks 5. On second and goal, Daniel Jones tried to hit Parris Campbell and the receiver seemed to stumble. Jones’ pass went to Witherspoon, the No. 5 overall pick in the draft, and he scored almost untouched crossing from the right side of the field to the left to make it 21-3.

“It was a play that we had seen on film formation,” Witherspoon said of his first NFL interception. “He ran basically a return route. I jumped it. He threw the ball and just tried to get to the box. That was my whole mindset.”

The Giants’ offense has really struggled the past two games without Saquon Barkley and left tackle Andrew Thomas missing his third straight game with hamstring injury.

“No excuses, we didn’t get the job done,” Giants coach Brian Daboll said.

The Seahawks didn’t do a lot against the Giants’ defense. The only real drive they had was seven plays, 75 yards just before halftime that was engineered by backup Drew Lock, who replaced Smith after he tweaked a knee and needed X-Rays. The drive included a 51-yard pass to Noah Fant.

Smith, who returned for the second half, finished 13 of 20 for 110 yards. A battered Jones was 27 of 34 for 203 yards. He ran 10 times for 66 yards.

This was the Giants’ second home game this season and both have been ugly. There were mostly Cowboys fans in the stands after a 40-0 season-opening loss and the fans left at the end of this one wore Seahawks colors.

“I’d be upset, too, if i was the fans,” Daboll said. “So there’s a lot of things we’ve got to do better and that’s what we’re going to do.”

STRANGE START

Seattle’s first offensive play from scrimmage took about five minutes. Walker took a handoff and headed right. Inside linebacker Bobby Okereke broke through and seemingly made a tackle for a 2-yard loss. For a moment everyone on the field stopped.

Walker felt his body never touched the turf and he got up and ran 20 yards downfield, stopped and then to the end zone, where an official ruled touchdown.

There was a long review of the scoring play and videotape showed Walker’s elbow hit the turf. The touchdown call was reversed.

INJURIES

Seattle: S Jamal Adams sustained a concussion on the opening series after being kneed in the helmet attempting to tackle Jones. Adams was playing in his first game since tearing quadriceps in the 2022 opener. RG Phil Haynes aggravated an calf injury and had to leave in the first half. G Damiel Lewis (ankle) left in the second quarter

Giants: Rookie C John Michael Schmitz (shoulder) and No. 2 tight end Daniel Bellinger (knee) left the game in the first half.

UP NEXT

Following a bye week, Seattle is at Cincinnati on Oct. 15.

————

SEAHAWKS 24, GIANTS 3

Seattle 7 7 7 3—24

N.Y. Giants 0 3 0 0—3

First Quarter

Sea—Metcalf 6 pass from G.Smith (Myers kick), :00. Drive: 2 plays, 7 yards, 00:45. Seattle 7, N.Y. Giants 0.

Second Quarter

NYG—FG Gano 55, 3:05. Drive: 12 plays, 61 yards, 6:11. Key Plays: Da.Jones 11 pass to Hodgins; Da.Jones 22 pass to Breida on 3rd-and-4; Da.Jones 8 pass to W.Robinson on 3rd-and-2; Da.Jones 8 pass to Campbell on 3rd-and-15. Seattle 7, N.Y. Giants 3.

Sea—Walker 1 run (Myers kick), 1:39. Drive: 8 plays, 75 yards, 1:26. Key Plays: Lock 11 run; Lock 12 pass to Metcalf; Lock 51 pass to Fant on 3rd-and-10. Seattle 14, N.Y. Giants 3.

Third Quarter

Sea—Witherspoon 97 interception return (Myers kick), 1:03. Seattle 21, N.Y. Giants 3.

Fourth Quarter

Sea—FG Myers 34, 5:26. Drive: 6 plays, 29 yards, 3:00. Key Plays: Diggs 21 interception return to N.Y. Giants 45; Walker 31 run. Seattle 24, N.Y. Giants 3.

A—78,507.

Sea NYG

FIRST DOWNS 13 17

Rushing 6 7

Passing 6 9

Penalty 1 1

THIRD DOWN EFF 3-12 6-16

FOURTH DOWN EFF 0-2 2-4

TOTAL NET YARDS 281 248

Total Plays 51 74

Avg Gain 5.5 3.4

NET YARDS RUSHING 121 112

Rushes 23 29

Avg per rush 5.261 3.862

NET YARDS PASSING 160 136

Sacked-Yds lost 2-13 11-67

Gross-Yds passing 173 203

Completed-Att. 15-26 27-34

Had Intercepted 0 2

Yards-Pass Play 5.714 3.022

KICKOFFS-EndZone-TB 5-3-3 2-2-1

PUNTS-Avg. 4-53.5 5-53.6

Punts blocked 0 0

FGs-PATs blocked 0-0 0-0

TOTAL RETURN YARDAGE 171 19

Punt Returns 1-23 1-0

Kickoff Returns 1-30 1-19

Interceptions 2-118 0-0

PENALTIES-Yds 8-74 6-45

FUMBLES-Lost 0-0 3-1

TIME OF POSSESSION 24:00 36:00

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—Seattle, Walker 17-79, Charbonnet 5-31, Lock 1-11. N.Y. Giants, D.Jones 10-66, Breida 14-30, Brightwell 4-9, W.Robinson 1-7.

PASSING—Seattle, G.Smith 13-20-0-110, Lock 2-6-0-63. N.Y. Giants, D.Jones 27-34-2-203.

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RECEIVING—Seattle, Lockett 4-54, Metcalf 3-34, Smith-Njigba 3-5, Fant 2-63, C.Thompson 1-10, Charbonnet 1-9, G.Smith 1-(minus 2). N.Y. Giants, Breida 5-48, W.Robinson 5-40, Hodgins 3-24, Waller 3-21, Campbell 3-15, Slayton 2-23, Hyatt 2-10, Brightwell 1-10, Bellinger 1-6, Shepard 1-6, Bredeson 1-0.

PUNT RETURNS—Seattle, Dallas 1-23. N.Y. Giants, Gray 1-0.

KICKOFF RETURNS—Seattle, Dallas 1-30. N.Y. Giants, Gray 1-19.

TACKLES-ASSISTS-SACKS—Seattle, Wagner 9-8-2, Love 6-3-0, Witherspoon 6-1-2, Brooks 4-6-2, Woolen 4-3-0, Nwosu 4-2-2, Diggs 3-0-0, Jackson 3-0-0, Ja.Reed 3-0-0, Jones 2-2-0, Edwards 2-1-1, J.Adams 2-0-0, C.Young 2-0-0, M.Adams 1-3-1, Mafe 1-1-1, Hall 1-1-0, Rhattigan 1-1-0, Taylor 0-1-0. N.Y. Giants, Okereke 6-4-0, Banks 4-1-0, McFadden 4-1-0, Simmons 4-0-0, A.Jackson 3-1-0, Lawrence 2-1-0, McKinney 2-1-0, Pinnock 2-1-0, Thibodeaux 2-0-2, Williams 1-1-0, Davidson 1-0-0, Flott 1-0-0, Ojulari 1-0-0, Nunez-Roches 0-2-0, Belton 0-1-0, A.Robinson 0-1-0.

INTERCEPTIONS—Seattle, Witherspoon 1-97, Diggs 1-21. N.Y. Giants, None.

MISSED FIELD GOALS—Seattle, Myers 53.

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