In another truly offensive (pardon the pun) performance, the Patriots lost to the Giants 10-7, dropping them to a 2-9 record. And for the second straight week, the defense held an opponent to 10 points. Yet the offense can’t find a way to put any points on the board.
And on the team’s final drive, which started at midfield, the offense showed no compulsion to go for a victory, seemingly wanting to play for a game-tying field goal. Which was basically an extra point and was shanked. It was that kind of day, and has been that kind of season.
In the just-in-case anyone other than me cares category, the Patriots went 0-4 against the NFC East this season, with opportunities to win three of those games late in the game. Yes, its been that kind of year.
So, here are our grades this week for the Patriots-Giants game.
Bill Belichick’s decision to allow both QBs to take 1st team reps this week in practice and then not announcing the starter until …whenever was a bad decision and one that he has stated previously was a losing formula. Back in 2001, he stated he was adamantly against Brady sharing reps with Drew Bledsoe after the latter was healthy after he returned from an injury. Belichick stated at the time (and correctly) that it would help neither QB get ready. But here we are.
Mac Jones had another terrible day, throwing two interceptions and nearly having a fumble loss to boot. His confidence is shot, and he looks like a deer in the headlights on the field. Why they continue to torture this kid by trotting him out there is a question that probably won’t get answered. Jones finished 12-21 for 89 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs with a passer rating of 27.8.
Bailey Zappe came in at the start of the third quarter and led the team to a TD drive, throwing quick screens and finishing off with a Stevenson run for a score. However, that good feeling didn’t last long. Zappe threw a bad pick and nearly had two more. His longest pass attempted was five (5) yards. Zappe finished 9-14 for 54 yards with 0TDs and 1 INT for a rating of 42.0.
The Patriots’ running game was a bright spot, with Rhamondre Stevenson again showing he’s improving each week. Stevenson finished with 98 yards on 21 carries (4.7 yards per carry) and was gashing the Giants up the middle. His best run was the 13-yarder to start the third quarter.
Ezekiel Elliott didn’t get as much work but was effective as well, garnering 46 yards on nine carries, good for a 5.1 yards per carry average. Elliott had a nice 13-yard run in the third quarter that got him doing the “feed me” gesture that we saw so often in Dallas.
But the grade was knocked down a tad with the small receiving numbers by each. Stevenson had five catches for nine yards, and Zeke had two catches for six.
Overall, the unit had 128 receiving yards, which, while minuscule by league standards, was a good day. Demario Douglas was having a good game until he was injured for his second concussion this season. He had six catches for 49 yards.
DeVante Parker had a nice 19-yard screen early and a good catch and run for 17 later on a pass over the middle. Naturally, the pass was off-target and behind him. Tyquan Thornton (?) even had a nice 15-yard reception on a screen during the TD drive.
JuJu Smith-Schuster made a nice play for a fourth-down conversion on the final drive. Kayshon Boutte had one catch for eight yards.
The tight ends weren’t a factor, with zero catches on just two targets, both to Mike Gesicki. The misses showed how far apart the receivers are with Mac Jones, as on one play, Gesicki ran the wrong route, typical for the season. Hunter Henry wasn’t targeted, and neither was Pharaoh Brown.
But the TEs did show up in the running game with Gesicki making a nice block on the touchdown by Stevenson. Henry and Brown helped in keeping Kayvon Thibodeaux out of the backfield.
The offensive line had a pretty good day, especially in the running game. With Dexter Lawrence out for the Giants, the Patriots decided to run the ball between the tackles, and it was very effective, gashing a suspect Giants run defense for 147 yards.
The pass protection was serviceable; the Giants got two sacks and had several pressures, but the protection wasn’t the issue on Sunday. High marks go to Trent Brown. Although Connor McDermott got the start, Brown entered later and played well despite being hobbled by a myriad of injuries.
The defensive line had a terrific day; in our keys, we posted that they had to slow down Saquon Barkley, and they did exactly that. They held Barkley to just 46 yards on the day. The Giants, as a team, rushed for only 58. Mission accomplished.
Christian Barmore continued his streak of terrific play. He had a sack, three TFLs, a QB hit, and a pass defensed. Keion White added a sack and a TFL. Deatrich Wise shared a sack with Anfernee Jennings.
The linebackers played a key role in holding the Giants to just 10 points. Ja’Whaun Bentley was back after missing the game in Germany and had a sack. Jahlani Tavai had a TFL, but they were excellent in run support. Anfernee Jennings had 1.5 sacks and four tackles while setting the edge.
The Giants’ running game averaged 3.1 yards per rush and were 4-13 on 3rd down. Overall, the Patriots did what they had to do against a bad NY offensive line with six sacks and holding NY to just 220 yards of offense.
The secondary held Tommy DeVito to under 200 yards passing. But there were some not-so-good moments as well. They seemed to be picking on J.C. Jackson a bit. He was fooled on a double move that ended up as a 41-yard pass play to Jalin Hiatt. Hiatt ended up with 109 yards on 5 catches. But Jackson also had a nice pass breakup on a deep throw to Hiatt.
Jonathan Jones surprisingly totally whiffed on Isaiah Hodgins touchdown catch.
Jabrill Peppers answered the call once again. We posted in our keys to the game that the team would need a big day from him, and he delivered. Peppers had a fumble recovery and a blitz pressure that ended up as a sack.
Myles Bryant had two TFLs in run support. Other than Hiatt, the Giants receivers didn’t do much. Kyle Dugger was his typical physical presence on the field.
The STs’ had yet another awful day punctuated with Chad Ryland’s chip shot miss for a game-tying FG in the final seconds of the game. But a muffed punt in the 1st half, two penalties, including an unnecessary roughness penalty on Keion White shows that the unit continues to flounder.
The grade wasn’t affected by the Douglas fumble on a vicious clothesline tackle where he was thrown to the turf, hitting his head. Luckily, the ball went out of bounds.
This was another disaster offensively. Did they even try to win the game on the final drive, or were they playing strictly for a FG? It surely didn’t seem so. Terrible QB play doomed this one, as they were loathe to throw the ball downfield.
Inside the Giant 25-yard line with time on the clock, they didn’t attempt one shot at the end zone. That tells you all that you need to know about how the coaches feel about the offense/QBs. The Bizzaro Wildcat formation with Elliott and Henry shifting under center on a 4th and 1? Just a waste of a timeout. Awful.
The offense needs to be completely blown up this offseason and rebuilt… but that is for another day.
Well, that’s a wrap for the G-Men; the Patriots are coming back to Foxboro to face the Chargers next week.
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