Sunday, February 5, 2012
Patriots, Super Bowl halftime notes
By James Walker
INDIANAPOLIS -- The New England Patriots lead the New York Giants, 10-9, at intermission.
Here are some notes on the Patriots at halftime:
- New England did not look mentally sharp early in this game. The first offensive play was an odd one. New England ran just three receivers out and no one was open. So quarterback Tom Brady threw the ball about 30 yards downfield from the endzone to no one and received an intentional grounding call and a safety. That gave the Giants early momentum and a 2-0 lead. On the next drive, the Patriots had 12 men on the field, which negated a fumble recovery and helped the Giants score their first touchdown. New England is making rare mental errors in the biggest game of the season.
- Credit New England for hanging tough. The Patriots probably played their defensive game in the first half, considering the mental errors and lack of execution. But the fact they lead the Giants by a point at intermission is considered a bigvictory. New England running back Danny Woodhead caught the go-ahead touchdown inside the final minute.
- Patriots Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski (ankle) is not moving well. But Gronkowski did get one big reception for 20 yards late in the first half. The Patriots most likely need more contributions from other receivers to win this game.
- New England's run defense has been lagging. The Patriots are not protecting the edges well and have allowed some decent gains inside. The Giants have 71 rushing yards in the first half as a team and are averaging 4.7 yards per carry.