The bounce of a ball - the difference in a game

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by ivanvamp, Mar 8, 2012.

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  1. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

    Because I'm a glutton for punishment, I rewatched SB 46. I recall how I felt when the Pats scored in the 3rd quarter to make it 17-9. I thought they were going to just unload on the Giants from there on out. Obviously didn't happen, but they were in such a groove. At that point, Brady was 20-23, 201 yds, 2 td, 0 int, and his three incompletions were the throwaway (safety), and two balls that were batted at the line of scrimmage by JPP. That's it. He was absolutely surgical up to that point.

    Fast forward to late in the 3rd quarter. After the Giants took over in Patriots' territory, on 2nd and 9, Eli hits Nicks for a gain of 17 yards. But he is hit and Mayo knocks the ball out. Fumble. There are *SIX* Patriots players around Nicks. Six. More than half the Patriots defense is within a few yards of him and there are *no* Giants within 6 yards of him. I froze the image and here it is:


    There are six Patriots around Nicks and not a single Giant in sight. And yet the ball comes out (good play by Mayo forcing the fumble), and where does it go? Directly to Hynoski of the Giants who is trailing well behind the play.

    That drive ended up leading to a field goal.

    Then there was the Bradshaw fumble following the Brady INT. He's hit at the 12 yard line of the Giants and fumbles, and again, there are no less than 6 Patriots guys around him and the ball bounces backwards right to Snee, who is trailing the play by 4 yards.

    And finally there's the final hail mary play. I don't think people realize just how close the Pats were to making that play. The ball is thrown to Hernandez, who is surrounded by 4 Giants. The ball is knocked away, but not directly to the turf. Trailing the play by a couple of yards are Gronkowski and Welker. Gronkowski dives and falls *just* short of making the play. If it was tipped just about a foot higher, Gronk makes the greatest catch in NFL history.

    I know this is how close games go, but there's no way, after re-watching that game, that I conclude that the Giants were "better" than the Patriots. Sorry, but no way. The Giants got all the breaks in that game (again). They are a good team and getting the breaks doesn't mean they didn't deserve to win. They didn't cheat or anything like that. Breaks happen. But on these three plays alone, literally what determined them (and it would have been most likely a 13-17 point swing for New England) was the bounce of a football. Not hustle (everyone was hustling). Not skill. Not talent or drive or desire. Simply the bounce of the ball. The outcome of the game is almost certainly different if any one of these three bounces goes New England's way, but none of them did.

    Maybe this makes it worse for you reading this, but for me, while it's frustrating to recall this (hence my glutton for punishment comment), it's actually a bit soothing to know that the Pats didn't just get "beat". It took some remarkable luck for the Giants to win the game.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2012

    PATSYLICIOUS Pro Bowl Player

    #12 Jersey

    Luck is part of the game. The Baltimore Ravens could probably make similar cases against us in the AFCC. Many teams from 2001-2004 can make similar cases. You have to be lucky and good to win especially in the one-and-done format of the NFL. Considering how many close games we won during the dynasty I'd say things are evening out right now. Keep fielding good enough contenders and the ball will bounce our way again.

    As far as the Giants, they've had our number lately thanks to those type of breaks. 3 straight close wins and yeah maybe they are in our heads a little, but I'd gladly take another crack at them next year given the law of averages.
  3. Fball

    Fball Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    You're right about the hail mary. If you look closely at how the defender hit it (I think it was Phillips), it actually would have likely gone right to the #'s on Gronk if he hit the ball square. As it was, he hit the ball on the end, and it bounced off to the right of the direction his arm was going. Likely a difference of 1-2 inches.

    On the Nicks play, it wasn't really the bounce of the ball so much as the fact that the ball was just hit in that direction with some force - it didn't seem nearly as flukey as the Bradshaw fumble, which I'm still not sure how the Giants recovered.
  4. Uncle Rico

    Uncle Rico Pro Bowl Player

    No Jersey Selected

    You just never know. I was watching the end of the Snow Bowl game on NFLN last week and all the bounces went the Pats' way. Not just the Tuck Rule (not really a bounce, just a rule being called as its written!). There was the sideline pass to Patten that he couldn't hold on to, but somehow it tipped backwards and right into the arms of Jermaine Wiggins. Late in the game, Troy Brown had a good punt return on which he fumbled badly; luckily Larry Izzo fell on it. IIRC, that return set up the game-tying drive. (Looking at the summary, the Pats actually had three fumbles that game, losing zero.) Yup, game of inches.

    Sometimes when I drifting off to sleep at night I let myself imagine that Moss caught that first Brady bomb on the last possession of SB 42, or that Gronk dove and caught the tip at the end of SB 46. SO close, but, that's the beauty of the game.

    As we often say here, the BB-TB Pats could have 6 rings just as easily as they could have none. And vice versa.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2012

    PATSYLICIOUS Pro Bowl Player

    #12 Jersey

    This is how I deal with the gut wrenching losses. It could very well be zero, I'll take 3 in a heartbeat!
  6. CheeseMonkeys

    CheeseMonkeys 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    #11 Jersey

    The 2001 Patriots were probably one of the luckiest Super Bowl teams ever. Maybe that's what pisses me off the most when I think of the past couple of losses, is that we won that year we definitely should have won the past two.
  7. leehanu

    leehanu On the Roster

    Agree with both of your point of view. That's how I deal with the tough losses.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2012
  8. Uncle Rico

    Uncle Rico Pro Bowl Player

    No Jersey Selected

    THis play, as described by WIkipedia, was a classic:

    Dec. 19, @ Buffalo: Field goals ruled the day as Shayne Graham and Adam Vinatieri kicked seven combined in a 12-9 overtime Patriots win. The most controversial play came in overtime when David Patten caught a pass and was knocked out of bounds; the ball bounced off his feet and was recovered by the Bills, but the play went to review and it was determined that Patten, momentarily unconscious, had his head out of bounds when the ball touched his feet; by rule the ball was dead. The Patriots thus retained possession enough for the game-winning 23-yard field goal.

    You just can't coach that.
  9. PatsFanSince74

    PatsFanSince74 Supporter Supporter

    That's about it.

    As Belichick has said so many times that people forget what it really means, "the objective is to put ourselves in a position to win." Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't...and it isn't always 100% under their control.

    People risk making themselves crazy with threads like this, dontcha think?
  10. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

    A fair point. And while it should - as should the realization that our first 3 SBs had their own strokes of luck - dull the pain of the loss, it doesn't yet.

    I just pray we get back there in the BB-Brady era and the bounces go our way.
  11. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

    I drive myself insane with these kind of thoughts.
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