Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates after an interception in the 1st half against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on December 15, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Ron Antonelli/Getty Images)
East Rutherford, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - The Seattle Seahawks had a most enjoyable trip to MetLife Stadium. It may not be their last visit there this season.
The current NFC front-runners intercepted Eli Manning five times in a stifling defensive effort that set the tone for a 23-0 win over the New York Giants that moved the Seahawks another step closer toward sewing up the conference's No. 1 overall seed.
Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell each had two picks and Seattle (12-2) limited the Giants to 181 total yards in dealing New York its first regular- season shutout loss at home in 18 years.
"You have to say something about the defense giving up less than 160 [passing] yards on the day against a quarterback like that and those receivers," said Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll. "A lot of it happened up front, but our guys on the back end came through again with the matchups that we had and played great coverage all day long."
Marshawn Lynch added 120 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown for the Seahawks, who now own a commanding two-game lead over their closest NFC competitors with two to play after New Orleans lost at St. Louis on Sunday.
Seattle has its final two regular-season outings at home, where it has gone 14-0 over the last two years, giving the Seahawks the inside track to represent the NFC when MetLife Stadium hosts Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2.
"It's a beautiful place," Sherman remarked. "We'd love to be back."
Russell Wilson finished 18-of-27 for 206 yards with an interception and a touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin, who caught six balls for 71 yards in the rout.
Manning finished with 156 yards on 18-of-31 passing for New York (5-9), which is assured of a losing season for the first time since the struggling quarterback's rookie campaign in 2004.
"Offensively we just didn't have much," said Manning. "We didn't run the ball very well. We didn't throw the ball well. We didn't block things well, so they took everything away from us and we just didn't have much to lean on."
Seattle's defense was especially smothering over the course of the first half, limiting the Giants to 54 total yards and two first downs and intercepting Manning three times on the way to building a 13-0 lead.
The Seahawks' initial scoring drive came as a result of excellent starting position created by a New York three-and-out and Golden Tate's 19-yard punt return to the Giants' 42. A 12-yard catch by Lynch then put Seattle in position for Steven Hauschka's 49-yard field goal midway through the opening quarter.
After Manning's second interception, a deep ball in which Sherman had tight coverage on Hakeem Nicks, the Seahawks marched 62 yards in seven plays to extend the margin on Lynch's determined 2-yard run with 5:30 left in the half. Three Wilson completions to Baldwin that totaled 47 yards helped set up the touchdown.
Seattle's offense showed its will again on its next series. Tate fought to get a first down on an 8-yard catch and Lynch followed with a tackle-breaking 30- yard grab deep into New York territory, putting Hauschka in range for a 44- yard field goal just before the intermission that made the score 13-0.
The second half began much like the first, with the Giants generating little on offense and Seattle getting terrific field position after a 17-yard punt return by Tate. Wilson then moved the Seahawks down to the 1-yard line, though they ultimately settled for a Hauschka 24-yard field goal when New York's defense held deep in its own end.
Maxwell's second pick of the day, a takeaway out of Nicks' hands inside the Giants' 20-yard line, led to Wilson's 12-yard strike to Baldwin on a slant route that increased the lead to 23-0 early in the fourth quarter.
New York's only scoring threat of the day came on its second-to-last drive, but resulted in yet another turnover. On a 2nd-and-10 from the Seattle 13, Manning's fade toss for Nicks was tipped away by Sherman and landed in the hands of Earl Thomas to keep the shutout bid intact.
"Today it just seemed like their guys made plays," said Manning. "They went up and grabbed some balls and took it away from our guys."
Manning's five interceptions were a career high and the most by a Giants quarterback in a game since Jeff Rutledge threw five at New Orleans on Nov. 22, 1987 ... Wilson joined Peyton Manning and Dan Marino as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to throw 50 or more touchdown passes over their first two seasons ... Giants wideout Victor Cruz exited the game late in the third quarter with a concussion and a sprained knee after falling hard to the turf while attempting to make a catch ... Lynch compiled 73 receiving yards on six catches and 47 rushing yards on 16 carries ... The Giants' last shutout loss at home during the regular season came against Dallas on Sept. 4, 1995. New York was handed a 23-0 defeat by Carolina at Giants Stadium in the 2005 NFC Wild Card Playoffs.