- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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Quick-hit thoughts after the third quarter of the Patriots’ game against the Giants (New England trails 10-3):
1. The Patriots are still in the game. They have their defense to thank for that.
2. Tom Brady is off his game. The trademark accuracy and decision-making isn’t there today. His second interception of the day, in which he threw a pass intended for tight end Rob Gronkowski, was not a good decision or throw. Receiver Chad Ochocinco looked open.
3. The Giants are winning the battle at the line of scrimmage. Tom Brady’s third turnover of the day came when linebacker Michael Boley hit his arm in the motion of throwing, with linebacker Jacquian Williams corralling the ball in the air.
4. Overall, this looks like a replay of Super Bowl XLII in the sense that the Giants are pressuring Brady, speeding up his decision-making process, and effectively paralyzing the Patriots’ ability to move the ball through the air.
5. Cornerback Kyle Arrington’s end-zone interception has kept the Patriots in the game. The Giants were in position to deliver a potential knockout, to go up 17-3, when Arrington made the leaping grab while running back toward the end line. That is Arrington’s fifth pick of the season, a team-high.
6. Fans were booing after the Patriots’ third drive of the quarter, with the offense failing to convert on third-and-5. On the ensuing punt, Giants returner Aaron Ross couldn’t handle Zoltan Mesko’s delivery and Rob Ninkovich recovered for the Patriots. That ultimately led to Stephen Gostkowski’s 32-yard field goal. Those types of plays can be game-changers, giving a team new life.
7. The Patriots’ red-zone defense has stepped up again. Solid for most of the season, the ‘D’ stopped the Giants on third-and-3 from the 4, as the Giants settled for a field goal with 10:09 remaining in the quarter. Then there was Arrington's pick, which could end up being the play of the game if the Patriots pull off the comeback.
8. Bill Belichick is on a roll with his decisions with challenges. He successfully threw the challenge flag on Aaron Hernandez’ 15-yard catch to open the third quarter.
9. Julian Edelman looked like he was trying to do too much on the punt return in which he fumbled the ball away. There wasn't much to be gained on the play and he would have been better off with a fair catch or simply going down with all the traffic around him.
10. Wes Welker. Can always count on him to show up.