|Jarrett Baker / Getty Images|
|Brandon Jacobs goes over the top to score one of the Giants' five offensive touchdowns against the Seahawks.|
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- People in this league do not forget.
"Hey," said Seahawks linebacker Lofa Tatupu, "sometimes they donât forgive, either."
So, Giants coach Tom Coughlin had much more going for him to light fires than the Giants' 4-15 overall record off bye weeks or his own 2-2 after-bye Giants record. Much more than a receiving crew and offense that wanted to prove it could fly without suspended star Plaxico Burress.
Even more than the Giants attempting to stay perfect and reach 4-0.
Coughlin had a bunch that did not forget. And, apparently, did not forgive.
One that traveled to Seattle two Septembers ago and was being throttled 35-0 and 42-3 early before losing to the Seahawks 42-30.
Seattle gained the Giants full attention on Sunday. Their complete arsenal.
It was a Giants ambush, 44-6.
It was all payback.
The Giants rolled up 523 yards of offense. They rushed for 254 yards. They gained 27 first downs. They gained 14 rushing first downs.
We could go on and on and on and ...
"I wasnât here two years ago, but I heard guys talking about that this week," said Giants receiver Domenik Hixon, who singed Seattle with the gameâs first points on an acrobatic 32-yard catch from Eli Manning. "A couple of guys told me they had a bitter taste in their mouths from the last time they played Seattle. They did not like traveling all the way up there and not even showing up."
Giants veteran receiver Amani Toomer knew the score.
"When you are down 35-0 like we were up there, you have a choice to make," Toomer recalled. "You either roll over or keep fighting. We actually fought back to get closer in that game. We werenât going to give them that little satisfaction today."
No, the Giants put their hearts into it. Their heads into it.
It is one thing to seek revenge, retribution. Quite another to be able to accomplish it.
The Giants did from the start.
Brandon Jacobs (136 rushing yards, two TDs) did the hammering on the Giants' first three plays -- runs of 9, 6 and 44 yards. That led to the Hixon score.
From there, the Giants' offense found it could run it, throw it, catch it, pound it, chuck it deep -- just pick a play. As the game wore on, Seahawks defenders were too often flattened on the ground instead of in the mix making tackles. Heck, it was going so good for the Giants that up 37-6 late in the third quarter, they showed Burress (suspended this game for violating team rules) up on the scoreboard making that winning catch in Super Bowl XLII.
Several of them in the locker room afterward seemed dazed. Here was a sampling:
Julian Peterson: "We canât point any fingers after this one. Everybody messed up."
Julius Jones: "We just got whipped. No way around it. At this level, this is what happens when one team wants a game very, very badly and they happen to be a good team. A Super Bowl champion team."
Tatupu: "What happened? Whatever they wanted to happen. They dialed the pass. It worked. They dialed the run. It worked. I know personally, I didnât play well. They played like they were pretty upset with us. You learn. You donât forget. Now weâve got something to remember."
A good place for Seattle to start remembering is how they became a dominant team in the NFC West and getting back to that blueprint. Seattle coach Mike Holmgren tried to assure all that this was one of those bad games, that is not necessarily a bad season for a team that's now 1-3.
"I believe we are a better football team than that," Holmgren said. "I believe weâre better than we played."
Well, in this league, you are what you are. Seattle lost by 24 at Buffalo, lost in overtime by a field goal to San Francisco at home, beat the Rams by 34 points at home before traveling and losing to the Giants by 38 points. That says this is a rotten football team.
Receivers Bobby Engram and Deion Branch returned from injuries to start in this game and were supposed to give the Seahawks a major jolt. Engram caught eight passes for 61 yards; Branch three for 31 and after the game was limping, wearing a protective boot on his right foot. He said there was no word on how long he might be out again. He said another player rolled up on his foot.
The Giants are, indeed, 4-0 and played today at a level of consistency and execution that was impressive. No Super Bowl hangover here. No Burress, no matter. They travel to play at Cleveland in a Monday night game on Oct. 13 and plan to show the entire nation what Washington, St. Louis, Cincinnati and now Seattle already know, firsthand: These Giants when prepared and motivated can bring heat in a variety of ways.
"Eight years in the league for me now and weâre becoming a team that knows how to handle different situations and stay steady in our approach and results," Giants left guard Rich Seubert said. "Thatâs the way we want to play football, regardless of the extra motivation or reasons. And I have no doubt we will enjoy this and move on and get ready for Cleveland and not linger on anything other than holding each other accountable. Itâs the way we operate."
"A composed team," Carney said. "Being new here, I can still see a group of players with integrity. No bad apples causing distractions. Theyâve already reached the pinnacle here. This group is establishing their quest to do the same. There are a lot of variables that go into becoming that kind of team with that kind of approach. I see a mature offensive line with a passionate bunch of defensive players mixed with a lot of young talent across the board."
A team that, when required, does not forget.