Seahawks shut out Giants, Dolphins deny Patriots

Sun Dec 15, 2013 5:46pm EST
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By Larry Fine

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Reuters) - The Seattle Seahawks hit the mark for what they hope is their Super Bowl rehearsal by blanking the New York Giants 23-0 on Sunday at the winter-weather site of Super Bowl 48.

The Seahawks, who have already reached the playoffs with an NFC-best mark of 12-2, coolly closed in on securing a first-round bye as West Division winners on a Week 15 schedule in which nearly every game held playoff implications.

Seattle's top-rated defense stole the show, intercepting two-time Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Eli Manning five times in shutting down the hosting Giants (5-9). The Seahawks hope to return to the Meadowlands for a Super Bowl appearance on February 2.

New England (10-4) appeared poised to notch a fourth straight come-from-behind win and clinch the AFC East title before quarterback Tom Brady's fourth-down pass was intercepted by safety Michael Thomas in the end zone with two seconds left to preserve a 24-20 win for the Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins (8-6), desperately needing a win to stay in the thick of the AFC wildcard race, recovered from a 20-17 deficit when quarterback Ryan Tannehill hit Marcus Thigpen with a 14-yard touchdown pass with 1:21 left in the game.

Miami snapped a string of seven consecutive losses against the Patriots, who lost ground in their quest to snare the top seeding in the AFC.

The San Francisco 49ers set themselves up for a possible playoff clinching later on Sunday by walloping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 33-14.

San Francisco (10-4) dominated possession, outgaining Tampa Bay 187 yards to 39 on the ground while quarterback Colin Kaepernick completed 19 of 29 passes including two TD connections.   Continued...

Dec 15, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) dives forward for a first down as New York Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas (24) catches him from behind during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports - RTX16K72