It was a tale of two halves for both teams, but especially for the New England Patriots, who couldn’t get both sides of the ball working for one half. In the first half of the game against the New York Giants, the defense was attacking and stingy, holding the G-Men scoreless. The offense, however, couldn’t get into a rhythm and were also held scoreless in the firs half thanks to a missed Stephen Gostkowski 27-yard field goal. In the second half, the defense started to loosen up while the offense started to gel, but the offense couldn’t put enough points up on the field to get the job done. You could call this a seesaw performance for the Patriots: First the defense was up and the offense was down, then the offense was up and the defense was down.
The way the game ended, you could almost have thought you accidentally popped in a DVD of Super Bowl XLII. Tom Brady, after an overall tough day, drove the offense down the field and through the go-ahead touchdown to give the Patriots a 20-17 lead with 1:36 left on the clock. That was more than enough time for Eli Manning to bring the Giants down the field and, with the help of a Sergio Brown pass interference that put the ball at the 1, threw a touchdown pass to win the game 24-20.
There were two big pass interference calls in this game that went against the Patriots. There was the aforementioned Sergio Brown PI call at the end of the game, and there was an ugly looking call against Kyle Arrington that was good for 35 yards and help set up the Giants’ second touchdown, putting them up 17-13. The call against Arrington was something familiar to Pats fans watching this team: Arrington had good position but neglected to turn around and look for the ball. Had Arrington done that, there likely would not have been a call and he possibly could have picked the underthrown ball off. It’s inexplicable how this can happen on a consistent basis. Speaking from experience, this basic technique is coached in high school football and shouldn’t be an issue at the pro level, at least on the consistent basis we’ve seen in New England.
The Giants’ pass rush once again dictated the game against the Patriot offense. Tom Brady was harassed for much of the game and didn’t display his usual pinpoint accuracy. Brady had two passes picked off and fumbled as he was getting ready to throw. Brady was 28-for-39 for 342 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. The receivers struggled getting off bump-and-run man coverage for much of the game, and Chad Ochocinco once again couldn’t get on the same page with Brady. One camera shot showed the two arguing on the sideline, mostly with Brady doing the talking, visibly upset. Ochocinco was targeted 5 times and had no catches.
Next up are the New York Jets in a Sunday night showdown for first place in the AFC East.