Patriots vs Giants – Second Quarter Observations

Ian Logue
November 6, 2011 at 5:42 pm ET

The Patriots didn’t exactly start the second quarter off well, with Tom Brady throwing an interception on the first play of the quarter.  Brady tried to hit Deion Branch coming across the middle and the ball was tipped, and New York came down with the interception.  Brady was seen angrily spiking a Gatorade bottle on the sideline after the play.

New England’s defense has been doing a good job putting pressure on Eli Manning, with the Giants quarterback taking a good hit by Phillip Adams on a third down play to force a New York punt.

The Patriots couldn’t get anything going on their next drive, with the series ending on a bad snap that was high and to Tom Brady’s right, and after avoiding a hit from a Giants defender, Brady threw to Danny Woodhead. Unfortunately the ball went off of Woodhead’s hands and they were again forced to punt.

Ron Brace went in at nose tackle in place of Kyle Love for New England’s next series, making his first appearance of the season for the Patriots since coming off the PUP list, and New England’s defense overall did a good job.  They’re hitting hard, with Patrick Chung laying another hit on Jake Ballard on a 3rd-and-19 pass from Manning.  It’s been a tough day for Ballard, who was already popped by Brandon Spikes.

Matt Light was involved in a scuffle during the second quarter Sunday. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

Osi Umenyiora and Matt Light got into a big scrum on the next drive, with the two going at eachother following a sack on Brady by New York to kill the drive.   It started after Light pushed Umenyiora off the pile and kept pushing him to the ground, with Umenyiora grabbing him by the head and it intensified from there.

The Giants couldn’t get anything going, and the Patriots held New York to yet another failed third down, which left them just 1-of 7 on third down so far through the first two quarters.

New England went to the two-minute offense on their ensuing possession, and wide receiver Wes Welker made a ridiculous 21-yard catch on a ball thrown slightly behind him on a 2nd and 6 from their own 27, which put them at midfield at the two minute warning.

Welker was later drilled on a 2nd and 5 play, making a four yard catch before getting drilled by linebacker Michael Boley and driven to the turf.  That had his teammates signalling to the sideline for trainers, and Welker would later walk off the field moving his arms and trying to stretch and workout whatever was bothering him.   However, the veteran would be right back on the field on the next play.

From there BenJarvus Green-Ellis would pick up the first down, and the Patriots would work their way all the way down to the 11-yard line.  Unfortunately Brady had a pass batted down on a slant to Deion Branch that could have lead to a touchdown, followed by a missed throw to Aaron Hernandez in the endzone that lead to a field goal attempt by New England.

The bad news was Stephen Gostkowski hooked the kick left on a 27 yard field goal attempt, squandering a scoring opportunity. It was the first time they’d been shutout in the first half in 74 games.

Needless to say it’s 0-0 heading into the locker room at halftime.  Here are some stats from the game:

– Defensively they’ve done a good job, holding New York to just 1-of-7 on third down, with the Giants finishing with just 117 NET yards of offense through two quarters.

– So far Eli Manning hasn’t had much success, as he’s just 8-of-18 for 71 yards with a quarterback rating of just 55.6 through the first two quarters

BenJarvus Green-Ellis has carried 7 times for 36 yards (5.1 avg) during the first half.   They have 58 NET yards rushing as a team so far.

– Brady is throwing the ball fairly well despite his early interception.  He’s 13-of-19 for 134 yards, and finished strong on that final drive.  Hopefully we’ll see him get off to a good start to begin the 3rd quarter.