Ryan L. Fox
There’s no rest for the weary. Or so it seemed.
After blowing out the Washington Redskins this past Sunday, the New England Patriots had to get ready for a Thursday night showdown at home against the New York Giants, a team that has forever earned the eternal hatred of Patriot nation for their two Super Bowl victories and for foiling what would have been the ‘Perfect Season.’
But this was a Giants team that was limping into Foxborough after a home blowout loss to the Minnesota Vikings without 3 of their best offensive players (RB Saquon Barkley, TE Evan Engram, and WR Sterling Shepherd) due to injury as well as down to their 3rd-string running back (backup RB Wayne Gallman was out due to a concussion).
On a cold, wet, and windy Thursday night, the two teams dueled it out in Foxborough. But in the end, only one team would enjoy the long layoff with a victory.
The Giants won the coin toss but elected to defer to the 2nd half, giving the Patriots the ball to begin the game.
Patriots KR/RB Brandon Bolden brought the ball up to the New England 28 where the Patriots offense took to the field. QB Tom Brady lead the offense down the field, carving up the susceptible Giants defense along the way. This included a 19-yard catch and run by RB Sony Michel and then a 21-yard run by Bolden into Giants territory. The Patriots got all the way down to the New York 19 before being faced with a 4th and 1. Michel ended up getting tackled short of the first down, thus giving the Giants their first possession of the game.
However, the Patriots defense forced the Giants to go 3 and out before punting the ball.
After forcing the Patriots to punt, the Giants got the ball back on their own 30. After a 3-yard run by RB Jon Hilliman, the Giants were faced with 2nd and 7 from their own 33. QB Daniel Jones tried to hit WR Golden Tate over the middle but the ball bounced off his hands and into the waiting arms of DE John Simon at the New York 49, who brought it back to the New York 43.
But then on the ensuing play, Brady tried to find WR Julian Edelman deep down the middle. But Brady’s aim was off, and the ball ended up in the waiting hands of CB Janoris Jenkins. Jenkins ended up bringing the ball all the way deep into New England territory to the New England 35. But after the play was over, LB Markus Golden was flagged for unnecessary roughness, moving the ball back to midfield.
The two teams then exchanged punts with one another as the Giants got the ball on their own 18. After getting smothered by the Patriots defense, they were forced to punt. But on the punt play, Bolden blocked Giants LB/ST Nate Stupar into P Riley Dixon’s punt. The ball bounced into the air as Patriots DE Chase Winovich recovered the the ball, rumbling into the endzone for the touchdown. K Mike Nugent booted the PAT through to give the Patriots an early 7-0 lead with 1:41 left in the 1st quarter.
The two teams then exchanged punts with one another as the 1st quarter became the 2nd quarter.
The Giants got the ball back with 10:46 left in the 2nd quarter. After 2 successful runs by Hilliman, the Giants were faced with 1st and 10 at their own 35. Jones dropped back to pass but as he was about to throw, NT Danny Shelton knocked Jones’ arm. The impact caused the ball to be thrown short as S Duron Harmon picked off the ball at the New York 47 before returning it back to the New York 20.
The Patriots offense started off on the wrong foot as Brady bobbled the snap on one play (it resulted in an incompletion) and then a false start penalty on the ensuing play back up the Patriots to the New York 25. But on 2nd and 15, Brady found WR Jakobi Meyers for a 23-yard bomb down to the New York 2. Two plays later, Bolden bowled his way over the goalline for the score. Nugent’s PAT then made it 14-0 with 7:11 left in the half.
The Giants got the ball back, starting at their own 25. Seeing the game getting out of reach, Jones quickly hit WR Golden Tate for a 7-yard pass for to the New York 32 and then Hilliman bowled his way to the New York 36 for a 4-yard gain and a 1st down. Then on 1st and 10 on the New York 36, Jones found Tate deep over the right side. Tate was able to reel in the pass, dodging two Patriots defenders before waltzing into the endzone for the 64-yard touchdown. K Aldrick Rosas booted the PAT through as the Giants got on the scoreboard 14-7 with a little over 6 minutes left in the half.
The Patriots got the ball back, starting their drive at their own 25. Brady started off the drive with a 29-yard catch-and-run to Edelman to the New York 46. However, on the next play, Edelman was tackled for a 2-yard loss to the New York 48. Then on 2nd and 12, Brady dropped back to pass. But then LB/Edge Rusher Lorenzo Carter got around the left side, sacking Brady back at the New England 43. Brady lost the ball as Golden scooped it up at the New England 42 before returning it 42-yards for the score. Rosas booted the PAT through as the game was tied 14-14 with 4:38 left in the half.
The Patriots let the ensuing kickoff bounce out of the endzone to begin their drive at their own 25. The Patriots opened their drive up by feeding Michel the ball as he carried the ball on 4 consecutive plays up to the New England 39. Then on 3rd and 6, Brady found RB James White over the right side for an 8-yard pass to the New England 49 to extend the drive. Brady then followed that up with 4 consecutive pass completions as the Patriots offense got down to the New York 12. On 2nd and 5 for the 12, Brady dumped a short shovel pass to White, who seemingly took it in for the score. But upon further review, replay showed that White’s arm was down at the New York 1 before the ball crossed the goal line.
With 1st and Goal at the 1, Brady kept the ball as he dove over the goal line for the touchdown. Nugent booted the PAT through as the Patriots regained the lead 21-14 with under 40 seconds left in the half. That ended up being the score as both teams went into halftime, trying to warm up and get ready for the 2nd half.
The Giants began the 2nd half as CB/KR Corey Ballentine returned the kickoff to the New York 22. The Giants began their first possession of the 2nd half with a 10-yard Hilliman run to the New York 32. The Giants offense then went into no-huddle, successfully moving the football against the Patriots defense with ease. They got as far as the New England 30 where on 1st and 10, Jones tried to find TE Rhett Ellison over the right side. Instead Jones found CB Stephon Gilmore at the New England 18 for the interception, killing the Giants drive.
The Patriots then embarked on a 16-play drive that ran 9 minutes and 25 seconds off the clock. This also included converting a 4th and 7 at the New York 29 thanks to a defensive holding penalty on Jenkins to keep the drive going. The Patriots got as far as the New York 19 but on 3rd and 5, White was tackled for a 3-yard loss to the New York 22. Nugent then came on to attempt a 40-yard field goal. However the kick ended up clanking off the left upright, killing the Patriots drive. However upon further review, the holder, P Jake Bailey, actually held the ball laces in, which in turn affecting Nugent’s aim.
Luckily the Patriots defense forced the Giants to punt the ball, with WR/PR Gunner Olskewski bringing the ball up to the New England 20 to end the 3rd quarter.
When the 4th quarter began, the Patriots had the ball at their own 20. Again they were able to drive deep into New York territory. But like the last drive, the Patriots offense came up short as Brady’s pass to Edelman on 4th and 5 at the New York 32 went incomplete.
The Giants got the ball back on their own 32 but were getting stymie by the Patriots defense. Then on 3rd and 9, Jones tried to throw a swing pass to Hilliman over the right side. Hilliman not only ended up losing yards but lost the football as well. Patriots LB Kyle Van Noy scooped up the loose ball at the New York 22. He was able to return the ball all the way down the field and was seemingly knocked out of bounds at the New York 2 by Jones before he crossed the goal line. But upon further review, replay showed that Van Noy actually reached out with the ball to touch the pylon, thus making it a score. Nugent booted the PAT through as the Patriots lead grew to 28-14 with little over 8 and a half minutes left in the game.
After forcing another Giants punt, the Patriots got the ball back on their 37. Again the Patriots lead off with Michel running the ball as they were able to cross into Giants’ territory. With the Giants defense starting to tire out, Brady was able to take advantage with a 36-yard pass to Edelman from the New York 39 down to the New York 3. From there, it took two QB sneaks as Brady bowled over the goal line for his 2nd rushing touchdown of the game. Nugent booted the PAT through as the score was 35-14 with under 4 minutes left in the game.
The Giants got the ball back as Jones tried to rally the Giants back with a quick score. Instead, they got up to their own 37. Jones pass to WR Darius Slayton on 4th and 10 ended up falling incomplete as the Patriots took over on downs at the New York 37.
With the Giants all out of time outs, the Patriots simply just ran the clock out. A 26-yard run by Michel after the 2-minute warning all but iced the game. Brady simply kneeled down twice to end the game as the Patriots won on the final score of 35-14, improving their record to a perfect 6-0.
Patriot Statistical Standouts
QB Tom Brady: 31-for-41 for 334 yards and 1 INT for a QB Rating of 88.9, 7 carries (including 2 kneel downs) for 6 yardds (0.9 yards per carry), 2 TDs, and 1 fumble loss
RB Sony Michel: 22 carries for 86 yards (3.9 yards per carry), 2 catches (on 3 targets) for 27 yards
RB Brandon Bolden: 3 carries for 23 yards (7.7 yards per carry) and 1 TD, 2 catches (on 2 targets) for 22 yards, 1 kick return for 28 yards, 1 blocked punt
WR Julian Edelman: 9 catches (on 15 targets) for 113 yards
CB Stephon Gilmore: 3 tackles (2 solo, 1 assists), 1 INT, 5 passes defended
LB Jamie Collins: 3 tackles (3 solo, 0 assist), 1 forced fumble
LB Kyle Van Noy: 2 tackles (1 solo, 1 assists), 1.0 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 defensive TD
Numbers! Numbers! Numbers!
1.000 – The winning percentage of coach Bill Belichick against rookie QBs at home (12-0)
72,257 -The career passing yards of QB Tom Brady, putting him now 2nd all-time (Drew Brees, 74,845)
537 – The career receptions of WR Julian Edelman, placing him 3rd all-time in franchise history (WR Wes Welker 672; WR Troy Brown 557)
14 – The total number of interceptions by the New England defense, a league high
21 – The number of quarters that the Patriots defense did not allow a passing touchdown for the 2019 prior to Golden Tate’s 64-yard TD reception in the 2nd quarter
19:12- The difference of time of possession (minutes: seconds) between the two teams (Giants TOP 20:24, Patriots TOP 39:36)
17– The difference of first downs between the two teams (Giants 10 first downs, Patriots 27 first downs)
3 – The number of career 2-rushing TD games for QB Tom Brady
Interesting Tidbit of the Game
Did you know that the last time the Patriots had both a blocked punt and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown was back on November 30, 1986 against the New Orleans Saints in the old Louisiana Superdome?
The Patriots were trailing 13-7 in the 4th quarter. However, RB Mosi Tatupu returned a block punt 17 yards for a score to help the Patriots take the lead. Then later on in the game DE Brent Williams returned a fumble 21 yards for the score as the Patriots ended up beating the Saints on the final score of 21-20.
Fox Fist Bump*
The Fox Fist Bump goes to the New England defense and special teams.
For the defense, they were able to harass QB Daniel Jones all night long, forcing 3 interceptions by him. This included one interception where you could clearly see NT Danny Shelton grab a hold of Jones’ arm, which affected the throw. Not to mention that forced fumble by LB Jamie Collins on RB Jon Hilliman that teammate LB Kyle Van Noy was able to scoop up for the score that ultimately put the game out of reach.
Then with special teams, they were able to get another block punt for a score. This time, it was RB Brandon Bolden who got the block that allowed DE Chase Winovich to scoop the ball and score the Patriots’ first touchdown and ultimately set the tone for the game.
(* = It shouldn’t come as a surprise the way the Patriots defense dominated the Giants’ offense given that Giants were down 3 key starters and a key back-up. Seems to be a key theme for the 2019 season but whatever)
The Meatball of the Week
The Meatball of the Week none other than the Patriots offensive line.
Yeah yeah, I get it. It’s a ‘patchwork’ o-line because they are missing two starters (LT Isaiah Wynn & David Andrews) that’s banged up a bit (especially on the right side with RG Shaq Mason and RT Marcus Cannon). However, you can’t bitch about injuries and missing starters while also preaching ‘Next Man up!’ in the same sentence.
For a majority of the game, it seemed like the Giants front 7 had their way with the Patriots offensive line. The running game got stuffed at key moments on drives and certain screen passes that normally would generate large yardage gains got snuffed out. Not to mention that Brady was under pressure constantly in the 1st half (he ended being sacked 3 times for the entire game) and fumbled the ball, which lead to a Giants touchdown.
Now as we head deeper into October, the schedule will start to get tougher with higher quality opponents. If the Patriots o-line can’t get it together fast enough, you can kiss that 7th Ring good bye.
Play(s) of the Game
The ‘Looks Like Felger & Mazz Will Be Talking About This for 4 Hours On Their Show...Ughh!’
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