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Brandon Spikes lands first punch, Jake Ballard bounces back for knock-out blow

11.07.11 at 1:08 am ET
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FOXBORO — Say this for the Patriots, they tried to knock Jake Ballard out of the game before he single-handedly devastated the Patriots on the game-winning drive.

Brandon Spikes leveled the Giants tight end in a first-quarter hit that can only be described in his own words on Twitter as #POWWWWWWW.

Spikes made the huge play on 3rd-and-9, stopping the Giants 1 yard shy at the Patriots 46.

“No, I didn’t see it coming,” Ballard said. “He hit me pretty good but I got right up and walked off the field. It was a good hit and it was kind of my fault. He just dropped in zone and I should of cut off [my route]. But it’s football – you get hit hard.”

Spikes was no where to be found though when the Patriots needed him since he left the game with a leg injury in the second half.

Instead, Tracy White was on the field as Eli Manning used Ballard to pick apart the Patriots on the game-winning drive that had the Giants march 80 yards in eight plays, capped off by a Manning-to-Ballard TD strike on third-and-goal with 15 seconds left.

‘€œThe offensive line pinched and I ended up getting off quick and breaking it out because I knew I had to get separation from the linebacker,” Ballard said. “As soon as I turned around, Eli threw it and it was there, I was just concentrating really hard to make sure I caught the ball.’€

“I played the run,” White said. “You have to play the run first. He stepped up and got out to the back of the end zone. That was it. It was a good route, a good pass. I didn’t lose him. I had him covered pretty good. It was a good catch and good pass.”

If there is such a thing as a statement win for a 6-2 first-place team like the Giants, this would appear to be it.

‘€œI think it shows a lot of people we are for real,” Ballard said. “We know we can do it and I think it just gives us the that confidence that we can compete.’€

Ballard even provided a David Tyree moment when he went airborne over James Ihedigbo and linebacker White with 45 seconds remaining. The 28-yard strike down the middle to another Giants receiver wearing No. 85 put the Giants in business at the Patriots 33.

White was understandably frustrated.

“Aghhhh, that was a good catch,” White said. “I had covered and he got up over me, I guess. I had him covered. That was a good catch, a good play. That was it. They told me I was going to go in on the two-minute [warning], so I was ready to go in.”

“We were all calm,” Ballard said. “Eli was telling us what to do. It was just like practice.”

Read More: Brandon Spikes, David Tyree, Eli Manning, Jake Ballard
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