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Halftime analysis: Patriots 0, Giants 0

11.06.11 at 5:35 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Two quarters are in the books here at Gillette Stadium, and there’s no score between the Patriots and Giants. Here are a few quick notes:

Both defenses have played very well out of the gate, as the Patriots appear to have collectively shaken off the memory of last week’s abomination against the Steelers. Meanwhile, the Giants have done an excellent job of bottling up the New England offense, both on the ground and in the air. The stars of the first half? The punters, as New England’s Zoltan Mesko and New York’s Steve Weatherford played their own game of “Can you top this?” The two combined for 10 punts, and the Patriots’ best start came at their own 20-yard line.

Tom Brady is 13-for-19 for 134 yards, while Eli Manning is 8-for-18 for 71 yards. For the Patriots, BenJarvus Green-Ellis has 36 rushing yards, while Brandon Jacobs has 31 yards rushing. The closest anyone came to scoring on the afternoon was when Stephen Gostkowski missed a 27-yard field goal wide left.

The Patriots have mixed up their coverages early, utilizing both man and zone in hopes of slowing down the Giants. And for the most part, it worked — New York had just one play in New England territory in the first quarter, and the Giants couldn’t convert on their first four third-down opportunities. The defensive highlight of the first half for the Patriots came on New York’s second series when Brandon Spikes delivered a crushing hit to New York tight end Jake Ballard on a 3rd and nine pass play that left the Giants just short of the first-down marker.

At the same time, the Patriots’ offense was unable to get anything started on its own. Other than an impressive 18-yard gain from Green-Ellis and a 25-yard pass play over the middle from Brady to Wes Welker, that was pretty much it for the New England offense. The low point for the New England offense came when Brady had a second-quarter pass tipped in the air and nabbed by New York’s Mathias Kiwanuka. It was Brady’s ninth interception of the season.

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