For much of the first half Sunday, Seattle’s offense was inept and bungling. And, of course, that led to a scuffle on the sideline. What would a Seahawks football game be without at least a little chaos on the bench?
With Seahawks down by 4 points in the second quarter, a meeting of players from the sputtering offensive unit became heated, with receiver Doug Baldwin shoving the team’s offensive line coach, Tom Cable, who had been addressing the players. Baldwin was shouting in the direction of his teammates — not so much Cable — and Pete Carroll, the head coach, came over in the middle of the episode, although no one appeared unnerved by the incident.
Cable continued to talk to the players and Baldwin remained near his side.
Apparently, the Seahawks are simply used to such displays.
“Doug is always fired up,” Seattle wide receiver Paul Richardson said with a smile. “He might have had an outburst but he went out and made plays. It was all to get us going, and it worked.”
Indeed, Baldwin caught a 22-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter that gave the Seahawks a lead they never relinquished. And Richardson was in the middle of a critical fourth-quarter sequence, wrestling for possession of the ball with the Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins after a pass into the Giants’ end zone.
Collins and Richardson had something akin to simultaneous possession, which the game officials ruled to be a Seattle touchdown. The score and extra point put the Seahawks ahead by 17-7, which, given the current state of the Giants offense, amounted to an insurmountable lead.
The Giants gained just 177 yards Sunday and converted on only 2 of 12 third-down opportunities. A Seahawks turnover led to the Giants’ only touchdown.
Seattle receivers also dropped three passes, and quarterback Russell Wilson overthrew multiple targets on plays that could have resulted in touchdowns. The Seahawks also committed a staggering 15 penalties.
It is failures like these that have many wondering, justifiably, what is wrong with the Seahawks. Yes, they have had some bad luck with injuries. But are they truly a championship contender if they struggled, even briefly, to overwhelm the immensely hobbled and downtrodden Giants?
And is the sideline strife, however benign it might ultimately have been, a good thing?
Seattle defensive lineman Michael Bennett conceded his team might confuse some fans.
“I don’t know how to grade us right now, myself,” Bennett said. “But I don’t have to. We take it week to week and we just won one more this week.”
Not surprisingly, Sherman is not worried.
He saw a defense — especially a deep, talented secondary — that toyed with the Giants’ inexperienced wide receiving corps.
Early in the game, Giants quarterback Eli Manning heaved a long, mighty pass toward Tavarres King, who was streaking down the right sideline. The football, spinning in a perfect, tight spiral, appeared destined for a touchdown, and King stretched out his arms within a few steps of the end zone.
And then, in a flash, Sherman caught up with the descending football and flicked it away with one hand. Sherman’s play was almost a dismissive act, knocking down a deft pass inches from King’s hands.
“Just letting Eli know I’m here,” Sherman said. “I was just saying that we weren’t going to let anything be caught deep. Not today.”
The Giants very rarely threw in Sherman’s direction again.
“Everybody should know the Seahawks are O.K.,” Sherman said.
Of Baldwin’s eruption in the bench area, Sherman said it hardly raised an eyebrow on the team.
“To the outside world, it’s misunderstood,” Sherman said. “But we all look at the coaches as peers. We’re in this together. Doug’s not yelling at him, he’s trying to be encouraging and trying to motivate everyone.”
“It gave a spark,” he said. “It’s all good.”
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