Taking a look at the television copy of Sunday's game against the Giants and offering some fourth quarter observations:
1) For the second time in the game, the Patriots turned to an overload blitz on a third-and-9 early in the fourth quarter, and it was again successful. S Josh Barrett and CB Phillip Adams again came off each edge, with LB Gary Guyton blitzing up the middle. Giants QB Eli Manning quickly moved out of the pocket on the snap, breaking down the protection and allowing DE Mark Anderson to give chase. With no outlet receiver, he was forced to throw it away, taking the pressure off the Patriots' shaky secondary.
2) Aside from a period where he was injured early in the second half, S Antrel Rolle drew slot coverage duties on WR Wes Welker for much of the game. This is a matchup where Welker had the upper hand, including on a second-and-7 play late on the Patriots second drive of the fourth quarter. The Giants had dialed up the pressure on the drive, and brought a six-man blitz that kept QB Tom Brady clean except for late blindside pressure from LB Michael Boley. Brady still got off a clean throw to Welker on a short crossing pattern, but the pass uncharacteristically sailed on Brady. Had the pass been on target, Welker's first down would have put the Patriots in the red zone.
3) The same safety/cornerback combination blitz, this time with S James Ihedigbo and Adams, was effective again on a Giants second-and-5 from the Patriots' 10-yard line, with Manning essentially throwing it away. On the ensuing third down, however, the Patriots brought the exact same blitz, and the Giants were prepared, with RB D.J. Ware picking up Ihedigbo off the left edge. This gave Manning time to set and loft a touchdown pass to WR Mario Manningham, with Arrington trailing in coverage with no safety help because of the blitz.