Anybody else wildly bored yet?
Well if you’ve torn through everything on Netflix, filled out every “What type of doorknob are you?” online quiz, and given up trying to figure out how Skip Bayless still has a job, why not check out our offseason countdown of the Top 20 Most Memorable Patriots Moments of 2019.
The list so far:
20. The Patriots draft N’Keal Harry.
19. The Patriots trade for Mohammed Sanu.
18. Josh Gordon breaks three tackles to score the first Patriots touchdown of the 2019 season.
17. The kicker carousel.
At Number 16, we finally get to shift the spotlight to the unit that deserved the lion’s share of it all season long: the defense.
16. A Kyle van Noy scoop and score ices the game against the New York Giants.
Patriots vs. Giants has meant one of two things over the past 20 years or so: a meaningless Week 4 Preseason matchup, or an inexplicable, nonsensical, and often brutally heartbreaking loss at the hands of Eli freaking Manning. Whether it was on the world’s biggest stage in two separate Super Bowls or pulling out wild endings in the regular season, Pats/Giants was must-watch TV.
But on October 10th, 2019, the Giants that came into Foxboro Stadium were led by Daniel Jones, the controversially drafted quarterback that was supposed to lead the G-men into the next decade. The Giants were 2-3 on the season, struggling, and not making any real noise in an incredibly weak NFC East. The Patriots, however, were 5-0 and fresh off an absolute throttling of the Washington Redskins the week before. Nobody expected the 2019 Giants to suddenly become the 2007 Giants and shock the world, but the hope was Jones could continue to develop and show some growth against one of the league’s top teams.
And for much of the game, he did just that. The Patriots, in what became a theme for them all season long, had trouble moving the ball offensively and were unable to generate any points at all on their first four possessions. The Patriots were able to score a TD when a blocked punt was recovered by rookie Chase Winovich and returned for a touchdown, but they offense didn’t find the end zone until halfway through the second quarter after a Duro Harmon pick gave them a short field.
The two score lead lasted all of one minute, untl Jones hit Golden Tate for 64 yards and the score. The then one score lead lasted all of one minute and 45 seconds, when Tommy B got strip sacked and the Giants were able to return it 42 yards for the score. The Giants and Patriots were suddenly tied, 14-14, with less than five minutes to play in the half.
Luckily, Tommy B engineered an 11 play, 75 yard drive to put the Pats up by a TD going into the locker room, giving New England some much-needed momentum. The Giants just kept hanging around - and despite New York’s first two drives of the third quarter ending with a pick and a punt respectively, the Patriots still couldn’t capitalize. Their sole possession of the third quarter was actually a solid drive - 16 plays with over nine minutes of clock eaten up - but kicker Mike Nugent clanged the FG attempt off the left upright. Third quarter ended scoreless, and New England was protecting a one score lead heading into the 4th quarter - where they were unable to complete a 4th and 5 attempt rather than try for a 49 yard FG.
On New York’s next possession, the Giants faced a third and nine from their own 33. In an attempt to beat a New England blitz, Jones threw a quick screen to RB Jon Hillman; however, the defense sniffed it out immediately, and Devin McCourty and Jamie Collins converged on Hillman seven yards in the backfield. The hit jarred the ball loose, and Kyle Van Noy was there to scoop it up.
As Van Noy rumbled towards the end zone, Jones did everything he could to break up the play, and dove at Van Noy’s feet just as the linebacker extended his body and reached the ball towards the pylon. After a replay review, it was clear that the ball crossed the plane while Van Noy was still in the air - touchdown Patriots. New England 28, New York 14.
The Giants ran all of nine plays after that scoop and score, and the Patriots added another offensive TD on the day as they cruised to a 35-14 final score and a 6-0 record. Once again, the offense sputtered - Brady went 31 of 41 for 334 and an INT on the day and nobody besides Julian Edelman eclipsed 55 yards receiving - but the defense kept them in it and made big plays when necessary.
Kyle Van Noy joins a very long list of NFL players who underwhelmed with their original teams, came to New England and flourished, and then went elsewhere with a big payday and the respect of the entire Patriots fanbase. I hope he has all the success in the world over in Miami for exactly 14 of the 16 games he plays this season. His contributions to this team were immense during his time here, and it’s great to be putting him, and this moment, on the list at Number 16.
Check out the Van Noy touchdown here.
Full Patriots/Giants highlights here.