Seahawks 24, Giants 21
The Seattle Seahawks survived a huge NFC challenge Sunday -- barely.
Giants kicker Jay Feely missed three field goals, including two in overtime, and Seattle's Josh Brown hit a 36-yarder as the conference-leading Seahawks outlasted New York, 24-21.
Feely failed on the final play of regulation from 40 yards, then couldn't hit from 54 and 45 yards in the extra session. Seattle used a 38-yard pass from Matt Hasselbeck to D.J. Hackett to get close for Brown.
Shaun Alexander rushed 31 times for 110 yards, 94 after halftime, and former Giant Joe Jurevicius had eight receptions for 137 yards and two touchdowns -- all before the frantic, seesaw finish.
"That was something, wasn't it?" Seattle Coach Mike Holmgren said, sighing.
Immediately after the game, Feely stood up before his teammates and said, "I'm sorry I let you down."
"People are going to say it's a team game," Feely said. "But the fact of the matter is you have to come through when you have one opportunity -- much less two good opportunities."
Added New York Coach Tom Coughlin, "It's just an empty feeling when you lose like that."
The Giants, led by quarterback Eli Manning's career day, bitterly fell to 7-4 instead of being 8-3 for the first time since their 2000 Super Bowl season. Instead, they are tied with Dallas for first place in the NFC East and host the Cowboys next Sunday.
With its seventh straight win, Seattle is one more victory or a St. Louis loss away from clinching its second consecutive NFC West title. The Seahawks are 9-2 for the first time since 1984, when they went 12-4. That was also the year of their last playoff win.
They have only one game remaining against a team with a winning record, Dec. 24 against Peyton Manning's undefeated Indianapolis Colts.
Peyton's younger brother grew beyond his 24 years and toward franchise-quarterback status -- though ultimately in defeat. The younger Manning established career highs of 29 completions and 53 attempts. He had 344 yards passing -- eight behind his career high set Sept. 25 against San Diego -- with two touchdowns. The second was to Amani Toomer and was followed by a two-point conversion to Jeremy Shockey with 1 minute 59 seconds left to tie it at 21.
Shockey caught 10 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown.
Feely could have avoided overtime had he not hooked his 40-yard try just outside the left upright to end regulation. Then he left a 54-yard attempt short with 10:43 to go in overtime, and was short and wide left from 45 yards less than five minutes later.
That last miss came after Tiki Barber outran all but one Seattle defender for 41 yards on the first play of a drive. Barber finished with 151 yards rushing.
Prior to his malfunctions, Feely had made 23 of 25 kicks this season, including 39- and 43-yarders earlier Sunday.
"What was it, three [misses]? We needed all three of them," Hasselbeck said after he completed 21 of 37 passes for 249 yards and two scores, with an interception. "Shoot, I kind of think we are still in shock, really."
Jurevicius had eight catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns against the team that drafted him in 1998.
The Giants killed many of their own chances with 16 penalties for 114 yards, the most in 56 years. That included an amazing 11 flags for false starts.
"I just can't overstate the advantage of crowd noise," Hasselbeck said.