Sunday, November 6, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Giants 24, Pats 20
By Mike Reiss
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Rapid reaction from the Patriots’ 24-20 loss to the Giants at Gillette Stadium:
What it means: The Patriots didn’t play their best game, but still had a chance to win at the end. They went up 20-17 with 1:36 remaining on a Tom Brady-to-Rob Gronkowski 14-yard touchdown catch on fourth-and-9. But the Giants came back with an 80-yard scoring drive, capped off by Jake Ballard’s 1-yard touchdown grab. A key play came when safety Sergio Brown was penalized for pass interference at the goal-line, setting the Giants up at the 1. Brown was in the game because safety Patrick Chung was getting an injury checked on the sideline. The Patriots drop to 5-3 and see their 20-game regular season winning streak at home snapped.
Not Brady’s best day: Brady didn’t have his trademark decision-making and accuracy, as he was intercepted two times and lost a fumble for a third turnover. In some ways, this was a replay of Super Bowl XLII, as the Giants’ defensive line dictated play, winning the battle at the line of scrimmage. That disrupted the rhythm of the Patriots’ passing game and paralyzed a big part of the New England attack. This is the third straight game the offense has sputtered for long stretches. This overall offensive performance was defined mostly by Brady’s shaky accuracy.
Patriots defense does its part ... until the end: After the unit was shredded last Sunday in Pittsburgh, the Patriots’ defense looked like a different unit. The defense kept the Patriots in the game, but then when it needed a final stop in the fourth quarter, it couldn’t deliver. After the Patriots went up 13-10, the Giants drove 85 yards on eight plays, scoring on a 10-yard Eli Manning-to-Mario Manningham connection in the back left corner in the end zone with 3:03 remaining. Cornerback Kyle Arrington was in coverage on a play that some might say looked similar to Plaxico Burress’ winning touchdown in the Super Bowl. Then the Giants drove down the field for the winning march, going the 80 yards for the winning score.
Spikes leaves with injury: Starting Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes left the game in the third quarter and did not return. Spikes was having his right knee looked at by medical staffers on the sideline. Linebacker Gary Guyton also left the game late in the fourth quarter and was having his right arm/shoulder looked at by medical staffers.
What’s next: The Patriots visit the Jets on “Sunday Night Football.” The Jets (5-3) are coming off a convincing road win over the Bills.