By the mid-2020 season of the Giants, they had lost seven games in eight games, by four or fewer points in those four defeats.
Asked about the nature of his team, Giants coach Joe Judge responded: “I see a lot of improvement.”
As a head coach at the NFL, the referee is a little too lazy to maintain his confidence in a sluggish situation. But the judge is not a stupid guy if nothing else. For nearly a decade he was coached by the Patriots Bill Belichick and Nick Saban of Alabama, who are royalty in the blatantly speaking category.
Following the Giants’ 17-12 road win over Seahorse on Sunday, the referee’s message changed in only a small way after it became one of the biggest upsets of the NFL season and the fourth consecutive victory for the top-ranked Giants. He spoke of the progress he continues to make, and then added: “I am glad to see some definite results for all the hard work.”
He almost laughed.
Oh, and the Giants (5-7) have beaten the Seahawks (8-4) after a back-to-back homeback loss this year, with Gold McCoy not winning as a starter in six years.
Most surprisingly, the Giants have not claimed their most meaningful success in many years with Scultgary or a new game plan that has knocked Seattle out of its usual, efficient rhythm. The Giants pushed the Seahawks around on both sides and focused on the conservative, run-first approach, especially when they scored all points in the second half.
Along the way, the Giants rushed 190 yards and eliminated Seattle’s elusive quarterback Russell Wilson five times. McCoy passed only 105 yards with an interception after a deviation, but while the Giants were building and defending a second-half lead late in the game, McCoy completed a series of third-under passes to extend the drives.
Or, in the judge’s (some) words: “Gold really advanced.”
To put things in perspective, the Giants are only competing for a post-season berth because they play in a terrible NFC East, where only a two-under-500 record is enough to turn into the head of the .500 division, one game ahead of the Washington team that faces Pittsburgh on Monday. But notice this improvement – or improvement, as the judge says: Sunday Giants became the first NFC East team to beat a team this season with a winning record.
“They were very tough and gave us a tough time throughout the day,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “We didn’t move the ball well – it’s an unnatural feeling.”
Most important in the Giants defensive effort was the team’s pass rush, which Wilson hunted throughout the game. Beyond the sacks, Wilson, who completed 27 of 43 passes for 263 yards with a touchdown and interception, was forced to rush several shots and ran frequently as he passed.
Giants ‘Leonard Williams, the former Jets’ defensive lineman, had two and a half sacks on Sunday, which lifted him eight and a half sacks this season. When the Giants used their owner tag to sign with Williams in the spring, Giants general manager Dave Kettleman picked up some criticism of the transaction. Williams has been the most disruptive force to face the quarterbacks in almost every game this year. Or, as the judge said Sunday evening: “Kana is a man.”
Another rising Giants star, running behind Wayne Coleman, had a one-star game, rushing at just 16 carries for 135 yards. Injured Sakoon replaced Barclays, giving the Gallmans Giants offense stability, and took a lot of pressure from Daniel Jones and McCoy, who missed the game with a hamstring injury in the quarterfinals.
Although Coleman ran 94 yards in the Giants’ previous game against Cincinnati, Carol was a bit startled by his performance on Sunday.
“They drove some basic things and walked away from us,” Carol said of the second half when she was 129 at her half speed.
Coleman’s 60-yard line, which was second to the Giants in the third quarter, set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Alfred Morris. A successful 2-point conversion attempt gave the Giants an 8-5 lead.
A Callman run of 23 yards on the Giants ’next drive led to another Morris’ quick touchdown and a 14-5 lead. Kano added a field goal to put the Giants ahead 17-5 in the fourth quarter, but Wilson led the Seahawks in an 11-play drive with just over six minutes left for Chris Carson with a 28-yard touchdown pass. In the game.
Coleman and McCoy turned the clock on their next possession before turning football into Seattle with 108 seconds left in the fourth quarter. But the determined defensive effort continued and never advanced beyond the Seahawks Giants ’46-yard line.
Noting that there are more winning teams on the winning table – in the form of Cleveland (9-3) and Baltimore (6-5), the judge did not seem overly enthusiastic about the Giants’ regretted victory. He seemed to have more progress in mind.
“I like the fact that we are a young team,” he said.