There were 30 points scored in the first three quarters of Sunday’s Giants-Seahawks game.
The teams were just getting warmed up, because they combined for 31 points in a wild fourth quarter that took Victor Cruz from hero to goat to hero and, finally, back to goat.
Cruz made one of the best catches you’ll see this year on an Eli Manning pass into double-coverage with the Giants losing 19-14 early in the fourth quarter. The ball was tipped in the air, Cruz tipped it again and then reeled it in with one hand while running for a 68-yard touchdown that woke up the Meadowlands crowd after three dismal quarters from the Giants. Cruz’s thriller was soon followed by a fumble on a catch inside Giants territory. There was no rule to save Cruz this time, so the Seahawks recovered and turned it into a Steve Hauschka field goal that tied the score at 22.
The Seahawks took a 29-25 lead later in the quarter after an impressive drive led by Charlie Whitehurst, playing in place of the injured Tarvaris Jackson, ended with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin. The undrafted rookie, who has been one of the underrecognized breakout players of the season, beat a befuddled Aaron Ross and Antrel Rolle for a wide open score that set the stage for another Manning fourth quarter comeback.
It looked like it would happen when he hooked up with Cruz for two passes that brought the ball to the Seattle five. Manning looked Cruz’s way again after a false start, but Cruz slipped while bobbling the ball and Brandon Browner snatched it out of the air for a 94-yard touchdown. Manning threw a terrible interception as the Giants tried to engineer one last chance and that gave the Seahawks their first win against a New York City-area on the road team since 1983.
The final margin was pretty indicative of the way the game went for most of the day. Three Seahawks turnovers, 10 penalties and the Jackson injury allowed the Giants to hang around despite a total lack of a running game and a poor performance by the entire offensive line. The defense created a lot of pressure on the two Seattle quarterbacks, but they got off to a slow start in other facets of the game to help Seattle build a lead they seemed destined to blow. Until, of course, they didn’t.
That makes it a good win for Pete Carroll, who had to be pleased by the way his team kept coming back to make plays after making terrible mistakes. Tom Coughlin, on the other hand, has to be wondering why his team refuses to start playing games until the fourth quarter. Manning finished with a career-high 420 yards, but his four turnovers were all killers and the Giants seemed to suffer from an intensity deficit for much of the game.