Sunday, November 15, 2015

Gigantic effort not enough for Giants to get past Patriots

PATRIOTS 27
GIANTS 26

The Giants came into Sunday's action against the New England Patriots a heavy 7-point underdog to the undefeated New England Patriots. Nobody expected them to compete much at all against New England, considering Big Blue's defense has been so woeful this season, but that doesn't take away from the fact that this was a game the Giants should have won. New York played it's best game of the season, put a lot of pressure on Tom Brady and Eli Manning was on top of his game. Yet even with all of that it was not enough to pull out a victory as the Giants fell 27-26 thanks to a last second field goal by Stephen Goskowski.

The Giants had a great opportunity to finish the game the right way and didn't do it. They left too much time on the clock, which in the language of Tom Brady means he has an eternity to figure things out. The clock: 2:06 to go in the game. The situation: First and goal at the Patriots five yard line after Manning completed passes of 30 and 18 to Dwayne Harris.

All the Giants had to do was run the football here. The Patriots had only one time out remaining. Run the football and first and goal, and the clock ticks down to 2:00. Run the ball on second down and the Patriots are forced to kick a field goal. Now with third down, the Giants could open the playbook and pick a play to keep the ball in the center of the field and eat clock. That never happened.

Instead, Manning heaved the football into the back-corner of the end zone for Odell Beckham Jr., but Beckham never had full possession. He got both feet down, but the ball was bobbling in his hands and was knocked out by the Patriots. Now it was second and goal with 2:01 to go, so the Giants didn't even get to the two minute warning before another play had to be wasted.

After Manning threw another incompletion on second down to take the game to the two minute warning, Ben McAdoo had his MVP candidate roll out to his right only to find nobody and fall down for a sack. With 1:50 to go the Giants accomplished nothing in the red zone and had to settle for a kick to make it 26-24.

And to think the Giants almost got away with this series of horrible play-calling. Tom Brady's first pass of the eventual-game-winning drive was nearly intercepted by Landon Collins, who couldn't hold onto the football as he rolled to the ground. If Collins held onto it for another second the game would have been over. Instead Brady gets renewed life. He hits Danny Amendola for 12-yards on fourth down and 10 to move the chains. Brady later connects on three of his next four passes, including a fake spike pass to Amendolla to get the ball into Giants territory. Brady hit Amendola once more for nine yards, which was more than enough yards for Goskowski to make the winning kick.

In short this lose will sting. It was the fourth time this year where the Giants had a fourth quarter lead and blew it late. The sad part is this was the Giants best performance of the season.

The Giants rushed Brady all day. Until Brady's big fourth quarter that also included a 76-yard pitch and catch to Rob Gronkowski, the Super Bowl MVP was under 200 yards passing threw three quarters. He was sacked three times, and striped of the football twice.  Even Jason Pierre Paul, who didn't record a single tackle had an impact on the game, providing a steady rush at Brady which forced the quarterback to make some uncomfortable throws.

Offensively the Giants were clicking, especially in the first half. Eli Manning threw for 251 yards in the first half, a new career high for him; he threw for 361 for the game. Manning hit Odell Beckham Jr. in stride for an 87-yard touchdown that tied the game at seven in the first quarter. He later led the Giants on a seven play 74-yard drive for a touchdown to push the Big Blue lead to 17-10. The Giants would lead by as much as 20-10 at one point.  New York would out-gain the Patriots 422 to 406 on the night.

The Giants now have to lick their wounds from this loss for two whole weeks. Big Blue faces a bye week this week, and will play the Redskins on November 29.

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