Tom Brady and the New England Patriots lost their second game in a row, falling 24-20 to Eli Manning and the New York Giants on Sunday. This marks the first time Brady has lost a home game since 2006, after 31 straight wins for the 2010 NFL MVP at Gillette Stadium. It's also the first time that the team has lost at home since the 2008 season.
The Pats technically lost the game in its waning seconds, but anybody who watched the game in its ghastly entirety knows that New England had dug their own grave far before that.
Recap: First Half
After the first half of the game, the score was 0-0. It was hard to tell who seemed more inept and unprepared. It played out in a way you would imagine a game between these two teams playing out if they'd been forced to play a regular season game the day after the lockout ended.
It left that feeling in the air that whoever could make one halfway decent drive in the third quarter would probably give their team enough momentum to win 10-3. It was as deflating a first half of NFL action as the league has seen all season.
Tom Brady and Eli Manning entered today's game with the 2nd and 3rd quarterback ratings in the league, respectively. At the end of the first half, Brady was 13/19 for 14 and an interception; a QB rating of 66.6. Manning was 8/18 for 71 yards; a QB rating of 55.6.
The run game for the Patriots was a bit less abysmal as they amassed 58 rushing yards, mostly due to solid help from 8 carries for 43 yards from BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The Giants sans Ahmad Bradshaw were working with mostly with Brandon Jacobs who managed to contribute 37 yards yards to their team first half total of 46.
Brady and the Patriots offense showed a glimmer of rhythm in the waning minutes of the second quarter, driving 83 yards on 12 plays into the red zone. Aaron Hernandez was perfectly placed in the end zone on a third down touchdown pass attempt, but a bad throw by Brady went incomplete and forced the field goal attempt.
Stephen Gostkowski then proceeded to miss the 27 yard field goal; a range from which he had been 45 for 48 since joining the Patriots in 2006.
That's about as much as can be said about a completely scoreless, horrendously executed first half.
But that's why there are two halves in a football game right? There are two halves so that the teams can collect themselves, make adjustments, and come back either re-inspired or ready to continue momentum.
Recap: Second Half
But alas, the third quarter started in such horrible fashion that to the untrained eye it looked like Brady and Manning had gone through some type of invasion of the body snatchers switch in which their bodies were being inhabited by Blaine Gabbert and Rex Grossman. The Patriots' offensive line which was so out of sync and mismanaged they were almost as unrecognizable as their quarterback.
In the first 6 minutes of the quarter Brady managed to throw another interception and get stripped for a fumble. The Giants scored a field goal and then a touchdown on the turnovers, and went up 10-0. The Patriots responded with a field goal of their own on a 32-yarder from Gostkowski to bring the game back within one possession at 10-3.
On the ensuing Giants drive, Manning took his team back within the Patriot 10 yard line. On a 3rd and 5 pass intended for Mario Manningham, Manning was picked off in the end zone by Kyle Arrington.
After what seemed like an eternity since Brady had been able to pull his offense together, the Patriots drove the field 80 yards and tied the game up on a short touchdown pass to Aaron Hernandez.
The touchdown came in the first half a minute of the 4th quarter, leaving about 14 minutes left with the score 10-10. On their next possession, the Patriots took 3:35 seconds to drive the field close enough for another Gostkowski field goal to go up 13-10.
But in a quarter that would be defined by lead changes, the Giants took back the lead on their next possession after some pass interference help from Kyle Arrington that gave the Giants 35 yards. Manning connected with Manningham on a 10 yard pass to go back up 17-13.
The Patriots got some help of their own help after Manningham was penalized for excessive celebration and the fifteen yard penalty was enforced on the kick. With three minutes left, Brady was faced with doing what Brady does, despite the fact that he had barely even resembled himself for most of the game. After some help from Deion Branch, Rob Gronkowski and Danny Woodhead, the Pats offense was looking at a 2nd and 9 at the Giant's 14 yard line. Brady threw two straight incompletion to Gronkowski before finally getting to him across the middle on a huge 4th down conversion.
The Patriots were up 20-17 with 1:36 to go. Eli Manning completed a pair of big passes to Victor Cruz and Jake Ballard as the clock was ticking. On a possibly intercept-able, overthrown pass in the direction of Manningham from the Patriots 21 yard line, safety Sergio Brown ran directly into the receiver, incurring another pass interference penalty. This time it took the Giants' offense to the 1 yard line, and on third down Manning converted the winning touchdown pass to Jake Ballard leaving just 16 seconds on the clock.
Check back tomorrow morning to catch my full analysis of the game, including who's to blame, who did their best, and if it's possible for the Patriots to save their season after two damaging losses in a row.