Start with the good: Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski combined for 17 catches for 237 yards and a touchdown, while Aaron Hernandez added four catches for 35 yards and another score. The bad: Where were the other receivers? Deion Branch caught just two passes off five targets, while Chad Ochocinco didn't catch any of the five in his direction. Tom Brady finished 28-of-49 for 342 yards, but had two interceptions and lost a fumble leading to New York's first touchdown. The Giants' first 10 points came off Brady turnovers.
The Patriots made an honest effort to establish the run early, using rookie offensive tackle Nate Solder as a tight end much of the first half. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (12 carries, 52 yards) produced an 18-yard carry on New England's first offensive snap. Alas, the Patriots mustered only 40 yards on 13 carries the rest of the half and finished with 106 yards on 24 trots (4.4 yards per carry). The Pats needed more from this group.
It's impossible to ignore New York's final drive, particularly when it decided the outcome, but before that 8-play, 80-yard march, Eli Manning was a mere 16-of-31 for 170 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The Patriots did a nice job getting off the field on third down (4-of-14, 29 percent) and avoided giving up the big play. But injuries didn't aid their cause in the final moments and they couldn't make the key stops to preserve a late lead.
With Ahmad Bradshaw sidelined, the Patriots did a decent job keeping backup Brandon Jacobs (18 carries, 72 yards) in check. Take away a 10-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter and Jacobs and the Giants' running game didn't register all that much. New York finished with 111 yards on 29 carries, a mere 3.8-yard average, and a 12-yard run was their longest jaunt of the day.
Zoltan Mesko was solid (5 punts, 45-yard average), but that couldn't mask the struggles of the other units. After a tumultuous week, Julian Edelman fumbled a punt away late in the third quarter when the Patriots looked like they were grabbing the momentum. And it was the second straight rough outing for Stephen Gostkowski, who missed a 27-yard chip shot in the first half. The kick return game again contributed nothing (5 returns, 97 yards).
Hard to fault the game plan too much, though the offense's inability to move the ball in the first half -- and large portions of the last three games -- is troubling. The one thing you can fault: With injuries putting role players into big-game situations late in the fourth quarter, the Patriots were exposed as Sergio Brown and Tracy White gave up crucial plays on New York's winning drive.
2015 New England Patriots Schedule
No schedule available.
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