10. Rob Gronkowski was worthless. Not his fault of course, but he was only targeted 3 times and couldn’t prevent the Brady pick. He couldn’t move at all. He might as well have stayed at the hotel.
9. Brady’s safety. The Giants had already established that they were going to play physical and dominated the first quarter and this was New England’s first play. They give the ball back to Eli and it’s 9-0 and the Pats are out of sync.
8. Time of Possession. The Giants worked the Pats early and even though they only scored 2 TDS they held the ball for 37 minutes. That kept the defense fresh and Brady was limited in his possessions.
7. Pats couldn’t run it. Or maybe they just didn’t have the opportunity. They
ran it 19 times, and two of those were end-arounds to Welker. Green-Ellis and Woodhead did basically nothing and forced Brady to throw it 41 out of 62 plays.
6. Giants got the breaks. Think about these three plays. First quarter, Cruz fumbles and the Pats recover but it’s negated because the Pats had 12 men on the field. Two plays later the Giants score. Late 3rd quarter, Nicks catches a 17 yard pass and fumbles, but Hynoski recovers at the 33. Seven plays later Tynes kicks a FG and they trail by only two. The biggest one was early 4th quarter when Bradshaw fumbles, but Chris Snee falls on it at the Giant 11. Three huge plays that cost the Pats at least 10 points, but probably more.
5. Brady’s pick. This was huge because Brady was hot and the Pats had the ball on their own 43, basically at mid-field. Brady flushed and rolls out
and rushes the throw to Gronk in single coverage. He throws short because JPP is about to destroy him but Blackburn picks it. The way the Pats were dinkin and dunkin they could have burned 5 or 6 minutes and kicked a FG or better.
4. Manningham catch. With 3.46 left in the game the Giants are pinned at the 12 with just one timeout left. This goes for 38 yards and all of a sudden
they are at the 50. The biggest aspect of this play was it was so close to
the sideline Belichik had to challenge which burned his 2nd timeout which
they needed on the final drive.
3. Eli was better than Brady. He was 30 for 40 and made some great throws on the final drive, but more importantly didn’t give the ball away. Brady was very good with just a few mistakes, but mistakes will beat you in big games. Eli made none.
2. Giants sack on 3rd and 10. The game was probably over, but on 3rd and 10 after 2 drops the Pats allow a sack on their own 20 and Brady had to use the final timeout. The game was over at that point.
1. Welker drop. This was the biggest factor in my eyes and here is why. The Pats are up 2 with about 4 minutes to play and Brady has Welker wide open between 3 defenders. The ball isn’t thrown perfectly, but it’s in Welker’s hands and it’s a catch he has made 3 million times. The Pats are in the middle of a 9 play drive that started at their own 8 and have burned 5 minutes. If Welker catches it in stride he probably scores, but even if he’s downed there the Pats have it 1st and 10 on the Giant 20. The Giants have one timeout left and the 2 minute warning. If the Pats get one first down the game is over, but at the very least they kick the three and Eli gets the ball back with no timeouts and 90 seconds left. Critical drop and Pats fans know it.
Congrats to the Giants!