This past Friday afternoon, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll reported that left tackle Russell Okung is "as doubtful as you can get," still suffering from a dreaded high-ankle sprain sustained two weeks prior versus the Arizona Cardinals.
Seattle had already lost left guard Ben Hamilton for the season to a concussion, and center Max Unger was out with a toe injury.
This left the team with one Chester Pitts at left tackle, whose most valuable contribution up that point was having a pretty cool name. Pitts hadn’t started at left tackle for five seasons.
Therefore, playing would be Mike Gibson, claimed recently off waivers from the Eagles, to help make up for the loss of Tyler Polumbus, who started Seattle's first three games at left tackle and shared the same questionable status as most of the team, with an unfortunate biting knee injury.
The other side of the ball was no picnic either. The Seahawks would be missing defensive tackle Brandon Mebane because of a lingering calf injury that knocked him out of the previous three games. And the other starting defensive tackle, Colin Cole, was out, along with defensive end Red Bryant who was placed on injured reserve earlier in the week.
The point being that with all these injuries the offensive and defensive lines that showed up for Sunday’s game vs the Eastern Division-leading New York Giants, the Seahawks would likely have about as much push as the feared 1b High School Ritzville Fighting Broncos on a muddy field.
And then, to make matters worse, starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was out, with backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst taking his place. The same Whitehurst whose sum total of professional regular season snaps all took place on undergarmet straps in locker rooms.
About the only positive in Seattle's pre-game injury news was wide receiver Mike Williams' return to practice Friday. Williams, bothered by a nasty bruise just above his knee, was still hobbling but thought he could play.
It was going to be ugly and we all knew it. Optimistic pre-game predictions from the Seattle side had this team flopping like a rolled-up Italian rug.
Meanwhile full-time head cheerleader Pete Carroll spent the pre-game scampering past reporters with his traditional amped-up optimism that we all really do love about him, but once the Giants hit the field, it was time for a reality check.
The game started with a quick Seahawk three and out after receiving the opening kick. The Giants responded by mounting a five-play, 32-yard drive to the Seahawks 28 before New York’s Kevin Boss coughed up the ball on a play that Pete Carroll disputed and challenged.
The Seahawks won the challenge and were awarded the ball on their own 28 with 10:41 left in the first quarter. That would be the last thing that went right for Seattle until Whitehurst hit a wide open Ben Obomanu for the Seahawks only touchdown with 13:34 left in the game.
Seattle went three and out for their second straight series to start the game. The Giants responded with an eight-play, 52-yard touchdown drive to take a 7-0 lead.
Once again, Seattle’s offense stumbled to their third straight three and out; the Giants responded with a six-play, 64-yard touchdown drive to lead 14-0 with 2:10 left in the first.
Seattle’s Leon Washington muffed the kickoff and the Giant’s Jonathan Goth returned the gift to Seattle’s 5-yard line. A five-yard Bradshaw rumble up the middle made it 21-0, a mere fifteen seconds after New York’s last score.
The same Leon Washington responded with a 57-yard kickoff return to the Giant’s 30. Four plays later, Charlie Whitehurst fired what appeared to be touchdown bullet to Mike Williams, who bobbled the ball right into the hands of New York’s Terrell Thomas.
Thomas bolted 28 yards from the end zone, and the Giants offense took it from there: Three minutes, 15 seconds and 11 plays later, it was 28-0 with 9:15 left in the second quarter.
Leon Washington returned the next kickoff with another nice run to the Seattle 45-yard line, and the offense showed some life with an eight-play drive, only to have it snuffed when the Giant’s Corey Webster picked off a Whitehurst pass on Seattle’s 14-yard line.
Twelve plays later, New York scored again after a 86-yard drive to make it 35-0 with 53 seconds left in the first half, aided by a knucklehead offsides after Seattle’s winded defense had stopped the Giants at the 23.
Twenty-nine of the Giant’s 38 offensive plays in the first half happened on the Seattle side of midfield. It was ugly, Seattle was beaten, and it was only halftime. Eli Manning finished the first half with a stellar quarterback rating of 152.3.
The few fans remaining at Qwest Field were treated to rather lifeless second half, with the Giants hitting a couple field goals after long drives, the Seahawk offense spending most of their time watching their defense getting manhandled and the fans spending their time watching the sun set over Elliot Bay and this season.
In the fourth quarter, the Giants mercilessly burned most of it with a 20-play drive consisting mostly of runs up the middle to consume the clock, finally ending with 30 seconds left in the game after taking a knee on fourth down at the Seattle 5-yard line. Thirteen minutes burned as Seattle’s worn out and limping defense were manhandled by a still-energetic Giants offense.
How bad has it gotten for Seattle? Since the first quarter at Oakland last week, Seattle’s defense has yielded over 1,000 yards in total offense. The many roster moves from the Seahawks front office, including at least five this week alone, appeared to be taking a toll. Seattle looks like a very vulnerable team about to fold.
But don’t tell Pete Carroll that. Coach Carroll was bouncing around the field afterwards like he’d just won another college national championship, propping up depressed Seattle players and getting them amped up for another week's practice.
Carroll will need to do more of that too this week, as the Seahawks head to Phoenix for a divisional showdown with the Arizona Cardinals, currently a game behind the Seahawks and Rams, who both share mediocre and somewhat embarrassing records of four wins and four losses.
Meanwhile the Giants face another flattened team next week, the 1-6 Dallas Cowboys at home on November 14th.