Snap Judgments: Giants 24, Patriots 20
|11.06.11 at 7:35 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots were beaten by the Giants, 24-20, Sunday. It was a loss that leaves New England at 5-3 on the season and in a three-way tie for first place in the AFC East. It is Tom Brady’s first home regular-season loss since Nov. 12, 2006.
WHAT WENT WRONG
— Brady threw his ninth and 10th interceptions of the season (on pace for 20 — his career high is 14). His first pick came in the opening quarter, as Brady tried to force a throw to Deion Branch. The ball was tipped and Mathias Kiwanuka made the interception. Pick No. 2 halted what appeared to be a promising opening drive of the second half, as Brady badly underthrew Rob Gronkowkski, setting up an easy Deon Grant INT. Brady also missed a wide-open Aaron Hernandez in the end zone on the final offensive play of the first half and was nearly picked off by Grant again in the third quarter. Brady later fumbled after a Michael Boley hit (Logan Mankins — in the middle of a very sub-par season — was beat by Boley), a fumble recovered by Jacquian Williams (Brandon Jacobs scored on the next play). No other way to describe it — a terrible performance for a great majority of the game by Brady.
— The missed throw to Hernandez by Brady at the end of the first half loomed even larger after Stephen Gostkowski missed a 27-yard field goal on the final play of the second quarter. Gostkowski later kicked a 32-yard field goal in the third quarter to cap off New England’s first scoring drive and a 45-yarder to give the Patriots a 13-10 lead with 7:08 left in the fourth quarter. The special teams had another serious miscue as Julian Edelman fumbled a third-quarter punt, a turnover that was ultimately wiped out by the Arrington INT.
— Other than Wes Welker (nine catches, 136 yards) the Patriots got almost nothing from the wide receivers. And by “almost nothing” we are talking about a six-yard catch by Deion Branch in the first quarter. That’s it. Chad Ochocinco was targeted several times by Brady (and ignored several other times when open) but didn’t make a catch.
— Arrington was torched by Mario Manningham on the fourth-quarter eight-play, 85-yard TD drive, giving up the TD pass (a perfect throw into the corner of the end zone by Manning) and a 35-yard pass interference penalty (the correct call — Arrington never turned his head and made contact with Manningham).
— The defense couldn’t hold the lead for the Patriots after the Gronkowski TD catch, allowing Manning to lead the Giants on an eight-play, 80-yard game-winning TD drive. Tracy White (in the game for Gary Guyton) was flagged for a pass interference on Jake Ballard and was beat by Ballard on the one-yard TD catch.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
–– Tom Brady (27-of-47, 334 yards) was up-and-down at best for much of the game on Sunday, but — as was the case in the Dallas game — was best when it mattered most, leading the Patriots on a nine-play, 64-yard, TD drive, a drive that ended with a 14-yard TD catch by Rob Gronkowski on 4th-and-8 with 1:36 remaining.
— The Patriots defense was (rightly) blasted all week for its atrocious work in Pittsburgh, but they were sensational for three-plus quarters on Sunday. The Giants were held scoreless in the first half (just 117 yards) and scored all 10 points off of Patriots turnovers. Third-down defense — long a problem for New England — was a standout, as the Patriots stopped the Giants on 10-of-12 chances.
— What appeared to be a key play of the game for the Patriots (well, until the Gronkowski catch) was in fact a third-down effort from a defensive player, as Kyle Arrington intercepted an (extraordinarily dopey) Eli Manning third-quarter throw from the NE five-yard line. An inexcusable decision by Manning but a terrific catch by Arrington, who now has five picks on the season (credit also should go to Andre Carter, who pressured Manning on the INT). If Manning throws the ball in the stands it is a 13-3 game. Instead the Patriots turn a pick into a TD and it’s 10-10. Just a huge play by Arrington.
— Wes Welker (nine catches, 136 yards) and Gronkowski (eight catches, 101 yards) were the only consistent target for Brady on Sunday. Welker was the key player on the first TD drive, catching passes of 27 and 28 yards.