Seattle Seahawks thrash Giants 23-0

SCORELESS::The Seahawks shut out the Giants at home for the first time in 18 years as their closest challengers, the New Orleans Saints, lost 27-16 to the St Louis Rams

AFP, EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey

Tue, Dec 17, 2013 - Page 18

Seattle embarrassed the New York Giants 23-0 on Sunday in a performance the Seahawks hope was a sign of things to come in the Super Bowl at the same MetLife Stadium.

The playoff-bound Seahawks intercepted Giants quarterback Eli Manning five times and took another step toward securing their position as National Football Conference post-season top seeds.

Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell had two interceptions apiece, while the Seahawks limited the Giants to 181 total yards in what New York coach Tom Coughlin called “a pathetic offensive performance.”

“It felt great to us,” Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas said. “The biggest thing is how much fun we had. Guys were out there playing free like it was backyard football.”

It was the first time in 18 years that the Giants were shut out at home.

The venue took on even more significance since it is where the Super Bowl will be held on Feb. 2, in what promises to be a chilling climax to the NFL season.

Marshawn Lynch added 120 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown for the Seahawks, who went into the contest one game in front of New Orleans in the race for home-field advantage.

The Saints stumbled to a 27-16 loss to the St Louis Rams.

The Green Bay Packers kept their playoff hopes alive as they matched the biggest comeback in club history in erasing a 23-point halftime deficit to edge the Dallas Cowboys 37-36.

Eddie Lacy’s one-yard touchdown plunge with 1 minute, 31 seconds to play completed the Packers’ epic comeback, achieved with starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers still sidelined by a broken collarbone.

With backup Matt Flynn guiding the offense, the Packers scored touchdowns on their first five possessions of the second half. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo threw interceptions on Dallas’ last two possessions.

The Cowboys remained a game behind National Football Conference East division leaders the Philadelphia Eagles, who fell 48-30 to the Minnesota Vikings.

The Kansas City Chiefs locked up their playoff spot with a 56-31 victory over the Oakland Raiders.

Jamaal Charles racked up 195 receiving yards and five total touchdowns in a record-setting performance for the Chiefs.

Four of Charles’ eight catches were for touchdowns and he ran for another. He is the first player in NFL history to post four touchdown receptions and one running touchdown in a game.

The Miami Dolphins boosted their bid for an American Football Conference wild-card spot with a 24-20 upset of the New England Patriots.

Michael Thomas twice thwarted the Patriots’ bid for a fourth successive come-from-behind victory.

The Miami defender broke up a would-be touchdown catch, then intercepted Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the end zone with two seconds to play.

Miami moved a half-game ahead of reigning Super Bowl champions Baltimore in the battle for the sixth playoff spot. The Ravens were due to take on the Detroit Lions yesterday.

New England missed a chance to clinch the American Football Conference East crown and opened the door for the Denver Broncos to claim the top seed in the conference.

Jay Cutler returned for Chicago after four games sidelined by an injury and led the Bears to a crucial 38-31 victory at the Cleveland Browns.

The Bears are a half-game ahead of Detroit atop the National Football Conference North.

American Football Conference South division winners the Indianapolis Colts rebounded from a loss at the Cincinnati Bengals last week with a 25-3 victory over the reeling Houston Texans.

In Sunday’s other games, the San Francisco 49ers moved closer to a playoff berth with a 33-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Atlanta Falcons edged the Washington Redskins 27-26, the Buffalo Bills beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-20, the Carolina Panthers defeated the New York Jets 30-20 and the Arizona Cardinals scraped a 37-34 win over the Tennessee Titans.

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Antonio Brown had a receiving touchdown and returned a punt for a score to lead hosts the Steelers to a 30-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, who lead the American Football Conference North.