Six games into their season, the New England Patriots remain undefeated. The latest team to fall victim to the reigning world champions is the New York Giants, who put up a fight for three quarters before ultimately having to watch the home team pull away late — thanks in large parts due to another outstanding defensive effort. With that being said, let’s recap the action.
Patriots (6-0) 35 : 14 Giants (2-4)
The Patriots lost the coin toss and started the game’s opening drive with a focus on running the football — a good approach, at least initially: New England quickly marched down the field but saw the series stall at the Giants’ 19-yard line when running back Sony Michel came up just short of the line to gain on a 4th and 1 attempt. New York was unable to do much after the turnover on downs, though, and had to punt after just three offensive plays.
New England started the next possession on its own 20-yard line but quickly lost seven more yards on a sack. With the next two plays just short passes, the team had to send punter Jake Bailey out on the field for the second time to kick to the visiting team. Luckily for the Patriots, they did get the ball back quickly: on the just the second play of the Giants’ second drive, Stephon Gilmore deflected a pass that was intercepted by John Simon.
The Patriots, however, failed to do anything with the interception. On the very first play after the takeaway, Tom Brady threw an interception on a pass intended for Julian Edelman. The wide receiver was wide open, but Brady threw behind him in what was either a bad throw from the veteran quarterback or a miscommunication between him and his most trusted pass catcher. Either way, the Giants took over.
Following a long return that set the Giants up at New England’s 50-yard line, the defense did rise to the occasion once again and forced yet another three-and-out. The team’s offense, meanwhile, had a long completion to Ryan Izzo on a 3rd and 9 but failed to complete a 3rd and 7 later — Bailey again had to come onto the field to punt the football away to the Giants. Once more, New York’s offense did nothing with the ball.
After just three plays, the visitors had to bring their punt unit back. However, it never got the football away: Brandon Bolden was able to burst through the line to get a hand on the ball, which ended up in Chase Winovich’s arms — and six yards later in the end zone to give the game its first touchdown. [Patriots 7 : 0 Giants]
New York picked up its first first down of the day just before the end of the first quarter, but ultimately had to settle for another punt. New England, meanwhile, failed to get going offensively and also had to kick the football away again. But while the offense continued to have its fair share of issues, the defense continued to make big plays as Duron Harmon intercepted Daniel Jones to end the Giants’ next series and set the Patriots up in prime field position:
As opposed to the first takeaway, the Patriots were able to cash in on the second: three plays after a 23-yard pass from Brady to Jakobi Meyers that set New England up at the 2-yard line, Brandon Bolden made another big play by punching the football into the end zone for his second touchdown in as many weeks. [Patriots 14 : 0 Giants]
After failing to generate much offense up to that point, the Giants were able to cut into the Patriots’ two-touchdown lead in just three plays: a 64-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Jones to Golden Tate, who was covered by Jonathan Jones but hauled in the pass before taking it to the house, brought New York within seven. It was the first passing touchdown surrendered by New England’s defense this season. [Patriots 14 : 7 Giants]
The Patriots were unable to reply to the score, and instead allowed the Giants to tie the game. Brady got sacked around the edge on a pass attempt, lost the football and New York recovered and returned it for a touchdown. To make matters worse, the team also lost wide receiver Josh Gordon to what appeared to be a knee injury: while trying to tackle Markus Golden before the end zone, his knee twisted awkwardly. [Patriots 14 : 14 Giants]
Following this series of events, New England’s offense finally started to get into a rhythm again — all while Josh Gordon rode a stationary bike on the sideline. Thanks in part to another big reception by Jakobi Meyers, Tom Brady led the offense down the field in 11 plays before he himself scored on a 1-yard sneak to put the Patriots ahead again. [Patriots 21 : 14 Giants]
New York received the opening kickoff of the second half and initially started the series off well by moving into Patriots territory rather quickly. However, the series came to a swift end when All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore undercut a pass from Daniel Jones for the team’s third interception of the day:
The Patriots, however, failed to take advantage of the pick. While they moved the football well initially and drove into Giants territory, kicker Mike Nugent was unable to split the uprights on a 40-yard field goal attempt — in part because holder Jake Bailey failed to turn the football around enough. Once again, however, New England’s defense came up with a stop to give the football back to the offense.
New England opened the fourth period with another solid looking drive, that did end with zero points. After moving to the Giants’ side of the field, the Patriots first lost yardage on a third down run and then were unable to convert on a 4th and 5 on a pass attempt from Brady to Edelman — the second time that the team turned the football over on downs. Once again, however, the defense came up big when it needed to.
Just three plays after the turnover on downs, Jamie Collins Sr. forced a fumble that was scooped up by Kyle Van Noy and returned 22 yards for a touchdown. [Patriots 28 : 14 Giants]
Following the touchdown, the Patriots defense once again did not allow the Giants to move the ball into scoring range, forcing another punt instead. With seven minutes left in the game, New England’s offense produced another solid series — one that did end with points this time. With a 36-yard pass from Tom Brady to Julian Edelman as the series’ biggest play...
...the Patriots were able to get themselves in position to add to their two-touchdown lead. They did just that, as Brady was able to find the end zone for a second time on a sneak. [Patriots 35 : 14 Giants]
With the game out of reach for the Giants, the team’s final possession ended with a turnover on downs on an incomplete pass against the outstanding Stephon Gilmore. The Patriots then ran out the clock to secure their sixth win of the season.