The Patriots offense and defense was ugly for most of the game, but in the end, their worst was good enough to defeat their longtime foe Giants, 27-26.
Doesn’t it always seem like the Giants and Patriots go right down to the wire everytime? It also seems like Eli gets a chance to win every game and while that happen again, finally Tom Brady had enough time to play hero against the New York Giants.
Tom Brady and the Patriots couldn’t have asked for a better opening drive, marching it up the field 80 yards on a time consuming drive with a good mix of run and pass before ending it with a one yard touchdown pass from Brady to Scott Chandler. It looked like the Pats would make quick work of the Giants 31st ranked pass defense, but not so fast. The Giants had an equally great opening drive. Eli hit Odell Beckham Jr for an 87 yard touchdown 0n their 2nd offensive play. Butler was behind on the coverage, but thought he had safety help from McCourty, who came over too late and ran right into Butler, freeing Beckham for the long touchdown catch and run.
Things quieted down for the rest of the quarter, the Pats punted twice and the Giants punted once, but at the end of the first quarter, driving toward the red zone via Julian Edelman, Edelman went down with a left foot injury. He popped up and walked off the field and threw his helmet down, never a good sign. He went to the locker room and did not return. After the game, he was seen being taken to the team bus via a golf cart with a walking boot and crutches, not a good sign. Not the worst sign, but not a good sign.
Losing Edelman hurt the Patriots on top of the countless OL injuries before the game even began, so the offense began to sputter. The Pats would have to settle for 3 points after a short run, short pass, and a sack.
The Giants went to the air, as they did most of the game, and drove the ball down the field to New England’s 16 yard line before Chandler Jones sacked Eli Manning and stripped him of the football. CB Justin Coleman recovered the football, a much needed turnover as the G-men were moving the ball at will. The Pats would do nothing with the turnover and punt it right back to the Giants.
The rest of the quarter would belong to the Giants, as they drove on the Pats twice, connecting on a short field goal and then Eli finding a guy named DwayneHarris for a touchdown right before halftime. Harris was a problem for Rashaad Melvin all game.
The Giants would begin the half like the Pats, time consuming drive, but it ended in a field goal, giving them a 10 point, 20-10 lead early in the 3rd quarter. Two pass interferences on the Patriots defense, one being questionable, helped the Giants move the football into field goal range.
The Patriots offense was looking dead in the water midway through the 3rd until Danny Amendola returned a punt 87 yards before being tripped by his own teammate Duron Harmon at the Giants 7 yard line. Harmon tried to cross over behind Amendola but his leg got tangled up with Amendola, taking him down. If they had not happened, Amendola would have scored. The punt return was exactly what the Patriots needed as it and a PI on the Giants set up a LeGarrette Blount 1 yard score.
Eli Manning would hit Randle for two big plays and draw a PI, to put the Giants in field goal range for Josh Brown, who connected on a 53 yard field goal. Giants would go up 23-17 with little time left in the 3rd.
The fourth quarter would begin ugly for the Patriots, as Tom Brady would be strip sacked by Brinkley and recovered by Kuhn who returned it 8 yards, setting up the Giants offense at the New England 38 yard line.
The bend, don’t break second half defense continued to hang in there with a great passing offense that was on fire, and this time they held on in a big way. The first play after offsetting penalties would result in Rob Ninkovich chasing down and sacking Eli Manning for a 13 yard loss, knocking them out of field goal range. That play can’t be talked about enough because it turned out to be a huge, and I mean huge play by Ninkovich, knocking the G-men out of field goal range because if he hadn’t the Giants would have gone up 26-17 and add another field goal later, and that would have forced a touchdown by the Patriots to win.
The Giants would only gain back 2 yards on the 13 yard loss, forcing a punt.
After a 6 yard catch by Amendola and a four yard run by Blount, Brady went deep for Gronk who broke away for a 76 yard touchdown. Two Giants defender ran into each other trying to tackle a spinning Gronk. The Pats took the lead with 11:33 remaining.
Butler, after the one bad play to start the game, was absolutely sensational for the remainder of the game against Odell Beckham Jr. Eli Manning targeted Beckham Jr three times on the series after Gronk’s touchdown, and all three were incomplete.
Tom Brady would drive the football almost 90 yards, after getting lucky early. He fumbled the ball again on a sack, but Stork ran down the ball and jumped on it to save, possibly the game for the Patriots. Tom Brady would bounce back and find Brandon LaFell for 54 yards. LaFell had a few steps on the defender, the ball was a tad under thrown, making LaFell lean back for it, if it was delivered ahead of the WR, it would have gone for a touchdown. Still, it set the Pats up on the 31 yard line. Blount would go 13 yards after a 1 yard carry down to the 1 yard line. He followed it up with a touchdown, but the TD run was brought back after a flag was thrown on David Andrews for a hold. Brady would take a sack after the call and then throw a bad pass to LaFell for an interception. If Brady had been accurate, the pass would have been a touchdown, but it was behind LaFell, leading to the diving interception by McBride.
The Giants would drive the ball from the 3 yard line all the way to the five yard line. Using a nice mix of run and pass, the Giants were on the move, but the killer was when Eli found Harris for a 28 yard gain to New England’s 38 yard line with 2:14 left in the game. Belichick had to make a decision, when to use the timeouts, and he began to do so, calling one with 14 seconds left before the two minute warning.
The Giants ran it for 5 yards and again the Pats called their 2nd time out. Manning would find Harris again for an 18 yard gain, setting them up at the 5 yard line. The Giants would call a timeout though, saving the Pats time, with six seconds before the two minute warning. Eli would come out of the timeout and find Beckham in the end zone for an almost touchdown. Beckham had the ball, but at the very last second, Butler knocked the ball away, saving the game for the Patriots. Eli would throw one more time, incomplete to Harris. Finally, the two minute warning, and a chance for the Pats to hold them to a field goal. Eli Manning would return after the two minute warning and get sacked by rookie Malcom Brown. Manning couldn’t find anybody open so he took a sack.
Josh Brown would connect on the field goal, giving the Giants 26-24 lead with 1:47 seconds left.
Tom Brady took over from the 20 yard line, and on the first play he would throw it deep and be picked off by Landon Collins, except Collins dropped the sure interception after hurting his hand on the landing. Another chance for Brady which he made the most of. On fourth and 10, Tom Brady stepped up in the pocket and found Danny Amendola for a 12 yard gain and again, another chance. Tom Brady began to deal then and in a hurry. He found Gronk for a 7 yard gain, then Amendola for a 11 yard gain. He would hit Amendola again for a 9 yard pick up that would set up Gostkowski for a 54 yard field with seven seconds left.
Gostkowski ran onto the field, lined it up, and after a timeout by the Giants, knocked it barley through the upright, giving the Patriots a 27-26 win. The field goal moved Gostkowski ahead of Adam Vinatieri for the Patriots franchise record for field goals made.
What a game and what a win by the Patriots.
QB Tom Brady: 26/42 for 334 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception.
RB LeGarette Blount: 19 rushing attempts for 66 yards and 1 touchdown.
TE Rob Gronkowski: 5 receptions for 113 yards and 1 touchdown.
WR Danny Amendola: 10 receptions for 79 yards.
WR Julian Edelman: 4 receptions for 55 yards.
Kicker: Stephen Gostkowski: 2/2 field goals made. Longest made from 54 yards.
DE Chandler Jones: 3 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 FF.
DE Rob Ninkovich: 4 tackles and 1 sack.
LB Dont’a Hightower: 9 tackles.
CB Malcolm Butler: 2 tackles and 3 passes defended.
Game MVP: Kicker Stephen Gostkowski.
He won the game for the Patriots, after Tom Brady marched it up the field, but having a kicker like Gostkowski is such a nice safety net. You knew if the Pats could hold the Giants to a field goal all they had to do was get in field goal range and Gostkowski would boot it through. 54 yards away, he squeaked that ball in there and delivered once again for the Patriots, who move to 9-0 behind his clutch foot.