It was the exact game the Patriots expected to get from the New York Giants. This team wasn’t Washington, Jacksonville, or Miami. This was a team led by a coach and quarterback that snuck away with two Super Bowl championships against the Pats in the past ten years. This is the most feared team in New England and they once again put another scare into Patriots fans.
The tandem of Brady, Belichick, and Gronkowski overcame the early injury to Julian Edelman to keep the Pats offensive machine rolling. Tom Brady ran the two-minute drill perfectly, getting some help from the Giants’ Landon Collins on that dropped pick, and eventually set up Gostkowski for the game winning 54-yard field.
I got on the Patriots secondary early after Malcolm Butler got burnt by Odell Beckham Jr. for an 87-yard touchdown, but Butler really amped up his play after that catch and made a clutch play on OBJ in the end zone late in the game.
Other than Butler though, Rashaan Melvin struggled and the Pats noticeably missed the presence of Jamie Collins covering the under routes.
The punt return by Danny Amendola rejuvenated a Patriots team that was down by 10 points halfway through the third period and the return would have went for a touchdown if Duran Harmon had just run literally anywhere else on the field.
In the 4th quarter, with the Patriots up by 1 and looking to take a commanding lead, a hold by center Mike Andrews on a LeGarrette Blount touchdown followed by a Brady pick in the end zone gave the Giants back the ball. Eli led the Giant offense down the field and set up a Josh Brown field goal to take the 26-24 lead. Brady, with 1:47 to play, then constructed a drive that resulted in the game-winning field goal for the Patriots.
The hold by Andrews, an earlier fumble by Brady, and the relentless pressure from a surprisingly competent Giants D-line shows how much the offensive line injuries, especially to the tackles, are hurting the Patriots. Brady tossed an early pick on a deep ball because he had pressure right in his face. Its now critical for Brady to get the ball out 2 to 2.5 seconds after the snap and hope Gronkowski, as he did on the 47-yard TD catch, and other receivers accumulate the yards after the catch.
Again, the Patriots survived and escaped this week, but 16-0 looks less and less likely after every game they play.