After what has been a relatively eventful offseason for the New England Patriots finally came to a close on Thursday night, after they played their final preseason game of 2011. After holding a commanding lead at halftime, the Patriots team of backups couldn't hold the lead as they fell to the New York Giants on Thursday night 18-17 at Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots got off to an excellent start to begin the game, even on the opening play of the game. After catching a 12 yard catch from Giants starting quarterback David Carr, wide receiver Domenik Hixon fumbled the football after being brought down by Rob Ninkovich. Patriots safety Patrick Chung was able to recover the ball and bring it all the way back to the one yard line; putting the Patriots in business.
At the one yard line, the running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis was able to punch the ball in for a one-yard touchdown that put the Patriots ahead early, 7-0.
After a Giants three-and-out, the Patriots were once again set up for another scoring opportunity at the Giants' 33-yard line. Tom Brady and the Pats offense was able to bring the ball all the way to the 13-yard line, which allowed Stephen Gostkowski to kick a 31-yard field goal to the Pats ahead, 10-0.
Later in the first quarter, the Giants were able to scratch across their first points of the game off a Rhys Lloyd 48-yard field goal. The Giants still trailing, 10-3 at that point.
After the Giants score, the Patriots were able to get the ball back just before the expiration of the first quarter, and scored once again. Thanks to some big pass plays including a 64-yard bomb from Tom Brady to Matthew Slater, the Patriots were once again set up in good field position. At the Giants' one-yard line, Green-Ellis was able to punch the ball in on second and goal for his second touchdown of the game. The Patriots holding the commanding 17-3 lead.
After that, it all went downhill for the New England second team. After relatively quiet second and third quarters from both teams, the Giants suddenly found their rhythm.
After failing to convert on the first three downs of the possession, the Giants set up to punt back to the Patriots; down by 14 points. Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin decided to pull out the trick plays and executed a fake punt for a gain of 65 yards and a touchdown. The 'G-Men' now trail the Pats, 17-10.
With the lead in hand and under 10 minutes to go in the game, the Patriots seemed to feel pretty comfortable with their lead. However, it was for not. Richard Medlin could not hold onto the ball and gave the ball right back to the Giants, who recovered the football and ran in all the way into the endzone for the six points.
In another gutsy coaching decision, Coughlin decided to run out the offense and go for the two point conversion and the lead. The Giants were able to successfully convert the two-points after a Jerrel Jernigan catch in the endzone. The Giants now held the 18-17 lead over New England.
With no offensive starters left in the game, rookie quarterback Ryan Mallett and the rest of the Patriots offense could not get into field goal range and could not scratch across another point for the remainder of the game. The Patriots falling in their final preseason game in heartbreaking fashion, 18-17.