The New England Patriots offense did not get off to a great start. Quarterback Tom Brady was at the helm and went 1 of 5 for -3 yards. He threw an interception (although Aaron Dobson should have been stronger at the point of reception). The Giants should have recorded another one on the next drive. Tight end Martellus Bennett fumbled on the third drive.
It was ugly football, especially since it was against the Giants 2nd string defense.
The defense, on the other hand, was outstanding and deserves all the praise that should be coming its direction, even though it was against the Giants 2nd team offense.
Edge defenders Trey Flowers and Chris Long were excellent. Linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins were outstanding. Cornerback Malcolm Butler rose to every challenge that somehow went his direction. Defensive tackle Anthony Johnson continued his streak of terrific play and should be close to locking up a roster spot.
The defense kept the Patriots in the game early on, and Justin Coleman forced a fumble that gave the ball to the Patriots offense on their own 35 yard line. The offense settled down and Brady was able to lead a nice drive, connecting on a 20-yard pass to Julian Edelman and a 30-yard wheel route to D.J. Foster.
Brady added a 10-yard scramble of his own before connecting with Keshawn Martin on a 7-yard score. The Patriots failed to convert the two-point attempt and took a 6-0 lead.
The Patriots started to rest their defensive starters in the second quarter, so we got our first glimpses of new acquisition Barkevious Mingo- and, oh man, they were glorious.
"Mingo— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) September 2, 2016
Mingo— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) September 2, 2016
Mingo forced multiple fumbles and made multiple stops. He flashed athleticism that warranted a 6th overall selection. If he can convert this level of play to the regular season, then the Patriots will have an absolute beast of a defensive front seven.
The Giants did lead a field goal drive, where no individual play gained more than 9 yards, so the Patriots defense were likely hoping for an extra mistake or two that would have stalled the drive.
Running back D.J. Foster started out the evening well with 55 yards on 9 touches, but he fumbled the ball in the red zone and the Giants recovered, ending another great Patriots drive. The fumble earned himself a personal sitdown with head coach Bill Belichick, so Foster will be a player to watch in the second half.
The Giants tried to lead a two-minute drill to tie the game at 6 apiece, but safety Jordan Richards snagged a pretty interception on the goal line, which allowed the Patriots to kneel the ball out.
Brady played the entire first half and went 16 of 26 (61.5%) for 166 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. My fingers are crossed that he won’t play a snap in the second half.
The Pariots have turned the ball over three times. Thankfully, the Giants have turned the ball over twice. This is an ugly game and should only get uglier with the back-ups taking the field.
Enjoy the second half.