By: Russ Goldman
The Patriots (5-3) on Sunday battled hard, but in the end the visitors from New York made a few more plays in their 24-20 loss to the Giants (6-2) at Gillette Stadium.
The interesting part of this game is the defense played very well the majority of time in this match-up. Unfortunately, injuries at the end of the game really affected this unit, and Eli Manning capitalized on them in his final drive.
The issue for this game had more to do with the offense. Quarterback Tom Brady did not have a stellar game, and he had 3 turnovers that really changed the game. Even with all of those issues, Brady did drive them at the end of the game. However, it did not make up for all of the mistakes earlier which really got the Patriots behind the eight ball.
As in the last game, blame can go throughout the team and the coaching staff. Hopefully they can learn from this loss to the Giants.
So what did we learn from watching the game on Sunday?
The first thing we learned is the defense can play better, and definitely they rebounded from the Steelers loss. For the majority of the game, they controlled the line of scrimmage, and pressured Manning often in the passing game. On third down, the Giants were 4-14 which is a 28.5 conversion rate. The Patriots stepped up the defense, and that cannot be over-looked in this loss.
The second thing we learned is as always turnovers can really change a game. Brady had 2 interceptions, and lost the ball once as he was strip-sacked. Julian Edelman also fumbled a punt which caused a turnover. You are not going to win many games with 4 turnovers.
The third thing we learned is that the offense continues to struggle as defenses have figured out ways to contain it. This continuing problem is on the players and the coaches. The execution is just not where it needs to be, but offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien needs to make quicker adjustments to what the defense is doing. In this game, it took until late in the second half for the offense to get in gear. Right now, everyone associated with the offense is to blame for the shortcomings.
On defense, the Patriots stepped up their performance. They held Manning to 20-of-39 for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Giants did run for over 100 yards, but New England did a decent job against them for most of the afternoon.
On offense, Brady was sub-par , but he did throw for 342 yards, and was 28-of-49. However, statistics don’t show the poor throws Brady continually made in this game as he forced the ball to certain receivers. The Patriots running game was good as it went for over 100 yards. However, overall this was a below average game for this unit and especially for the quarterback.
As I always do, I like to look back at my keys to victory to see what kind of role they played in the game and below is my analysis of ” My Five Keys To Victory For the Patriots Against The Giants.”
1. The offensive line needs to step up against a great defensive line. The offensive line was slightly better this week, but Brady was still harassed often, and seemed uncomfortable in the pocket. Brady was also sacked twice, but the pressure was pretty intense at times. The line still needs to do much better.
2. The running game needs to be established against the Giants. As stated earlier, I thought the running game was pretty good, and the Patriots did make an effort to establish the ground game. BenJarvus Green-Ellis led the team in rushing with 52 yards.
3. The third down defense needs to seriously improve against the Giants. The Patriots made a huge improvement in this area this week as stated earlier. The Giants were 4-14 which is a 28.5 conversion rate. That is the type of effort the defense will need to do each and every week.
4. The pass rush needs to step up against Eli Manning. Even though the Patriots did not have any sacks on Manning, I thought they really pressured him nicely. This was a step up from their last game against the Steelers as they seemed to make Manning uncomfortable often in the pocket.
5. Jerod Mayo has to control the defense. Mayo looked better in this game as he is still trying to recover from an injury. He had 6 tackles, and will only get better as the season goes on.
So what did we learn from this game? I think we learned that the Patriots are a work in progress on both sides of the ball. They have not played up to their potential yet, and will lose games when they play poorly and make mistakes.
The Patriots have 8 games to go and still a ton of football still to be played. It is not time to panic yet, but you can be concerned if we do not see progress over the course of this month.
What are your reactions to the game? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you thought of the Patriots 24-20 loss against the Giants.