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Patriots vs. Giants: Fan Notes from the Game

Notes, musings, and observations from the New England Patriots’ 35-14 victory over the New York Giants.

NFL: New York Giants at New England Patriots Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots played the Giants last night. Today is Friday. If my logic is correct, that means that the Patriots were the latest victims of Thursday Night football.

And they won. ‘Nuff said. Don’t care about anything else.

  • I’m going to warn you all now in case you want to stop reading: I’m taking nothing away from this game, positive or negative. Thursday Night Football is complete garbage and I'm just glad the Patriots came away with the W. I don’t think New England has ever looked good on a Thursday Night game, and you can say that about pretty much every team in the league. Players got hurt, there were communication issues, play was sloppy...exactly what you’d expect from a bunch of guys forced to put their bodies through hell three days earlier than is expected because the league that preaches player safety actually couldn’t care less about player safety and just wants a money grab. So if you’re looking for any legit analysis here, you’re not going to find it.
  • Not sure if you saw the pregame bits featuring Gronk where some talking head asked him if he could put his Pats bias aside and be critical of the team, but I’m ashamed to admit I laughed in spite of myself.
  • But what I’m taking to the bank from Gronk’s pregame analysis are five simple words in regards to his possible return to football: “I’ll always keep it open.” I’ll take it.
  • As far as I’m concerned, there are only two reasons to remember this game. The first is that the Patriots beat the Giants. That’s never something I’m going to take for granted for the rest of my life. The second is that Tommy B now ranks at Number 2 on the passing yards chart, passing Peyton Manning with a 19 yard flat route to Sony Michel. If you missed it, it’s because nobody said a word about it.
  • Oh. Maybe three things to remember in this game: Chase Winovich logging his first ever TD as a pro, and celebrating the way that only he knows how.
  • The wind was definitely a factor, no matter which way you were facing. I’d like to hope that it was the wind that took Brady’s interception so far to the rear of Julian Edelman, because otherwise that was an issue where those two weren’t on the same page. Combine that with the fact that Edelman was WIDE open, and I’m just going to plug my ears and repeat “wind wind wind wind” over and over again.
  • Pass rushers are just overpowering New England offensive linemen, and there isn’t a whole lot to be done about that. If your guys can’t hold their blocks, it’s going to limit the offensive playbook significantly. Getting pressure with three and dropping eight is the last thing any Patriots fan wants to see.
  • Not only is the on-field product on Thursday Night a steaming pile of crap, the production itself is almost as bad. Constant commercial breaks. Shoddy camera angles. Troy Aikman. It just goes on and on.
  • New England’s offensive weapons were, for much of this game, a banged up Julian Edelman, two undrafted rookies, and a seventh round pick. They were being protected by a few career backups. Their QB was throwing into the wind, or with a weird wind. I’m starting to wonder if the Patriots, until they get their weapons back, should just kneel three times and punt it.
  • Luckily, it would appear that the Patriots won’t be without Josh Gordon, as I could have sworn he snapped his ankle in half on that fumble return. Apparently he just tweaked his knee, and he could have gone back into the game had the Patriots really needed him.
  • My real concern with Gordon now isn’t even the knee, to be honest; it’s whether or not he’s going to start looking for ways to um...mitigate his pain management.
  • That fumble was mostly on Ryan Izzo, who wasn’t able to stick his block and Tommy B, perhaps still living with the ghost of Gronk, didn’t feel the pressure coming. To Brady’s discredit, that’s usually the kind of thing he can sense, but Marcus Canon got beat to the inside and Brady wasn’t able to step up at all in the pocket.
  • “Brady wasn’t able to step up at all in the pocket” seems to be something I’m writing a lot this year.
  • Until the Tate TD, the Patriots punt coverage unit has scored as many TDs as every offense the Patriots have faced this season combined.
  • The offense has given up almost as many TDs as the defense has as well. Not great.
  • The offensive highlight of the night, for me at least, was Sony Michel upending David Mayo like that guy in Braveheart.
  • I kept that reference intentionally vague; you either know exactly what scene I’m talking about or you don’t. And if you do - should we ever meet, beers are on me.
  • Another offensive highlight was Brandon Bolden, who has had a nice two game stretch in Rex Burkhead’s absence. Bolden is exactly why this team is so much fun to root for. Somebody always finds a way to step it up.
  • Is it me, or is Edelman visibly wincing every time he takes a step? This mini-bye is coming at the perfect time.
  • I said this earlier in the season as an emerging pattern: players have been getting open deep on this defense. They're getting a step on the DB and breaking free down the sideline. Nothing had come out of it until last night because there was inaccuracy from the opposing quarterbacks.
  • That said, two of the three TDs the Patriots defense has given up this year came on a 60+ yard play where stuff just kind of happens. The third was on a 4th and goal and the tip of the football just barely crossed the goal line.
  • I’m hoping that Jakobi Meyers has now earned Tommy B’s trust enough to start seeing more legitimate looks.
  • Especially since Meyers might be the only man left standing come December.
  • I’m trying to figure out who my defensive MVP is through six games and, until last night, I was all in on Jamie Collins. But this defense runs through Stephon Gilmore, who is playing his best football right now and should be in the running for DOPY. He had the PBU on the John Simon pick, logged an interception of his own, and defended four throws. Whoever he covers is just a complete nonfactor. This secondary is Flat Earther-level nuts.
  • Is holding a football with the laces out an extremely difficult thing to do? I ask the question sincerely, as I’ve never held for a FG in my life (with my circle of friends, there is an absolutely zero percent chance I’ll ever find my face or crotch anywhere near a swinging leg). Jake Bailey has botched more than few holds this season. If holding for a FG attempt really is that important to the kick, I think I owe an apology to both Stephen Gostkowski and Ray Finkle.
  • Although it appeared that half of the team was questionable to return as the game wound down, I think the vast majority of those holdouts were for insurance purposes. No need to leave guys out there when this game was never in doubt. The Gordon situation is something to monitor, but the team has 11 days between now and their next game at the Jets on Monday Night.
  • And the fact that this game was never in doubt, even with the offense struggling and the team only holding a one score lead late into the 4th quarter, is something we should all very much appreciate.
  • I’m hoping that Tommy B going three for three on QB sneaks with two rushing touchdowns will cause Josh McDaniels to rethink trick plays and tosses behind a left tackle who was unemployed until Labor Day as the most effective way to gain a yard.
  • The only good thing about TNF - and I mean the ONLY good thing - is that I now have the weekend free to watch the games without worrying about whether or not the Patriots will lock up a win.
  • I won’t be watching any of the games, for the record - I don’t think that football is all that fun to watch anymore, to be honest - but just knowing that I have the ability is nice. It’s like knowing that the bars are open until 4AM; I’m never going to be out that late, but I could be if I wanted to, dammit.
  • I’ll say this about these first few weeks of the season: it’s a good way to gauge where you stand in your Patriots fandom. The team is sitting at 6-0 and has been generating wins off of what looks to be a historically great defense. They’re winning by multiple scores almost every week. They’re depleted of their major offensive pieces and still winning games. So if you’re sitting here this morning thinking about nothing other than the fact that the offense is struggling right now, if you’re not enjoying these wins because they don’t look good enough for you, I’d invite you to appreciate the end result a little more and care a little less about how they got there. Wins are awesome; the Patriots don’t have to win a certain way and score a bunch of style points in addition to touchdowns. That’s more than enough for me, and it should be a enough for you.
  • And if you’re a Patriots hater, remember: you can’t have it both ways. If Tom Brady is an overrated system quarterback and the only reason he wins is because of coaching and scheme, you can’t make the case that he single-handedly loses them games or that he looks terrible right now. It can’t be on Belichick when they win and on Brady when they lose. Brady either gets the credit and the blame, or he gets neither the credit nor the blame. I 100% think that NFL quarterbacks get way too much credit for wins and way too much blame for losses, but that’s just kind of the landscape of the league and the consequences that come with the position. You can’t shift the goalposts weekly just to fit your own narrative.
  • Also...remember that season where the Patriots defense was historically bad to start the year, but then they got a few players back from injury and they figured it out and they finished the season with a Top 5 unit? This offense is going to be fine.
  • This is my favorite note that I write every year, save for perhaps the last one of the season which may or may not occur after a game that may or may not occur in February which the Patriots may or may not play in and may or may not win:
  • I couldn’t be happier to know that, save for the games I’ll watch with one eye open in a turkey coma on Thanksgiving, I have blissfully watched my last Thursday Night Football game of 2019. It’s an absolute trash product and I want no part of it.
  • Have I mentioned that I hate Thursday Night Football yet?

Have a great weekend, everyone. I’m told that people leave their house on Sundays and go enjoy various community activities. I’m going to go and see if there is any truth to those rumors. I’ll be sure to report back.