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Sunday, February 5, 2012
Halftime thoughts: Missed opportunity

By Dan Graziano

INDIANAPOLIS — The good news for New York Giants fans is that the Giants probably couldn't have played a better first half. The bad news is that they are losing 10-9.

After dominating the time of possession, the line of scrimmage and the New England Patriots for almost the entire first half, the Giants watched as Tom Brady led his team down the field in the final four minutes of the second quarter on a 15-play touchdown drive that put the Pats in front. It was an eye-opening drive by Brady, who'd begun the game by intentionally grounding the ball from the end zone and awarding the Giants a safety and a 2-0 lead. And with the Patriots set to get the ball back to begin the second half, it could well be a turning point.

The challenge for the Giants is to remind themselves how well they played and stick with what they're doing. Eli Manning is 13-for-17 for 120 yards and a touchdown, having completed passes to seven different receivers. The defense, in spite of its obvious lingering coverage issues, has been hitting and tackling hard, batting down passes and limiting big plays. Punter Steve Weatherford has been a monster field-position weapon.

The Giants are a very mentally tough team that don't get down on themselves or get out of their game plan, so I seriously doubt they're in there listening to Madonna and lamenting their poor fortune. If they can get a stop on New England's opening drive in the second half, there's no reason to think they can't continue to win the physical battles and, ultimately, the game.