Duke Calhoun’s Late Touchdown Helps Giants Top Patriots

Duke Calhoun's Late Touchdown Helps Giants Top Patriots Final, Giants 20-17: The Giants hung on, which means it's time for the New Jersey stadium's PA system to play Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind," which is about New York. That's backwards from Yankee Stadium playing "New York, New York," which is by Frank Sinatra, who is from New Jersey.

Fourth quarter, 1:49, Giants 20-17: That's the price you pay when Buddy Farnham is at safety. Rhett Bomar hit Duke Calhoun on a down-field slant, and Farnham took a poor angle to the ball and got beat to the end zone. Credit Calhoun with a 60-yard touchdown. The Giants then converted on the two-point try to grab a three-point lead. It's Zac Robinson time now.

Fourth quarter, 3:32, Patriots 17-12: Brian Hoyer got smoked again, and he's got a nice cut on his nose to prove it. He was relieved by Zac Robinson on a third-and-22. These offensive linemen owe the guy about 30 steak dinners.

Fourth quarter, 4:55, Patriots 17-12: Darnell Jenkins is money in the bank when it comes to fourth-quarter screen plays. He outdid his effort in the opener against the Saints with a 66-yard touchdown against the Giants. Jenkins made a quick move and burst right through New York's second level.

Fourth quarter, 6:11, Giants 12-10: Just when it looked like the Giants were ready to expand their lead, Rhett Bomar's high pass was tipped and landed in the hands of DeAngelo Willingham, who returned it 16 yards to the Pats' 26-yard line.

Fourth quarter, 8:45, Giants 12-10: As much credit as the Patriots deserve for their 2010 draft class, they also deserve praise for picking up two undrafted free agents — defensive tackle Kyle Love and safety Sergio Brown. I think Brown makes the team, but Love is most likely a practice-squad candidate.

Fourth quarter, 11:40, Giants 12-10: Fifth-string tight end Carson Butler isn't having the best night. He just dropped a third-down pass to go along with at least two missed blocks (one on special teams) and a false start.

Fourth quarter, 12:58, Giants 12-10: How about this for a makeshift defense? The Patriots again lined up Buddy Farnham at safety and also had Pierre Woods at cornerback for a play, and they still stopped the Giants. Woods and Rob Ninkovich are each having a good game.

Fourth quarter, 14:56, Giants 12-10: You can't really blame the Patriots' offensive line there. BenJarvus Green-Ellis had an opening on the right side, but he was pulled down by linebacker Bryan Kehl just a few blades of grass shy of the end zone. Great play by Kehl, but that was a big missed opportunity for Green-Ellis, who is still trying to make the roster.

End of third quarter, Giants 12-10: The Patriots went to Thomas Clayton for three consecutive goal-line carries, and Clayton was stuffed each time. Where, oh where, has Laurence Maroney gone? When the fourth quarter starts, it looks like the Patriots will go for it on fourth-and-goal.

Third quarter, 3:53, Giants 12-10: Lawrence Tynes converted his second 24-yard field goal of the game, and the Giants are back in the lead.

By the way, news out of Miami indicates franchise left tackle Jake Long has suffered a left knee injury. There's no indication of how serious it it, but this would be a far bigger blow than any of the Patriots' three significant injuries so far.

Third quarter, 4:42, Patriots 10-9: Buddy Farnham broke up a would-be touchdown pass to Derek Hagan. That's unreal. Farnham has not played defensive back in any portion of practice witnessed by the media. The Patriots have held 38 sessions this summer, with about five closed to the media, so that shows you just how much time Farnham could have actually had to prepare for this opportunity.

Third quarter, 10:21, Patriots 10-9: Did Brian Hoyer spit in Rich Ohrnberger's drink today? the right guard stepped aside and allowed Jay Alford a free lane at Hoyer, who scrambled to get rid of the ball. The low throw was picked off by Jonathan Goff at the 50.

Third quarter, 14:55, 10-9: Darnell Jenkins returned the second-half kickoff to the New England 18-yard line, and the Pats and Giants are underway again.

Halftime, Patriots 10-9: Be sure to look for NESN.com's latest roster predictions after the game, but here's a hint for now. Sergio Brown is one guy who has played himself onto the team, and several offensive linemen are doing their level best to collect unemployment checks next week.

Second quarter, 0:27, Patriots 10-9: Stephen Gostkowski banked a 46-yard field goal off the right post and through the uprights to put the Patriots back on top. In more serious matters, Brian Hoyer has really got to hate the backup offensive linemen. For the fourth consecutive game, Hoyer has gotten his bell rung over and over again. It's actually getting pathetic.

Second quarter, 4:40, Giants 9-7: Brian Hoyer couldn't lead the offense to a score, but he did deliver a beautiful 26-yard strike to fourth-string tight end Rob Myers on third down. Myers, by the way, isn't going to make the team, but he'll be welcomed back to the practice squad if it all works out. Nice kid, too.

Tackle Mark LeVoir has not been good for Hoyer's long-term health.

Second quarter, 8:24, Giants 9-7: Sergio Brown is playing like a guy who wants to play professional football. The undrafted safety made a strong tackle on third down and kinda sorta came close to blocking a punt.

Buddy Farnham was doing his best Troy Brown impression on that series, as the wide receiver lined up as a defensive back.

Second quarter, 10:01, Giants 9-7: Laurence Maroney rushed twice for seven yards on the last series, which was a ho-hum three-and-out, but he'll conclude this preseason without a single snap with the first-team offense. All he can do at this point is run hard and hope.

By the way, anyone see Zoltan Mesko wrangle punt returner Mario Manningham and just fling him out of bounds? Patriots linebackers Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes were very amused with Mesko's tackling tactics.

Second quarter, 11:50, Giants 9-7: Brian Hoyer will relieve Tom Brady at quarterback. I spent some time talking to Hoyer this week about what the fourth preseason game did for his career in 2009, and Hoyer mentioned that performance against the Giants allowed him to believe he really belonged in the NFL. The second-guessing, for an undrafted rookie like Hoyer, was tough for him to combat at first, and playing well for a full game erased any doubt he might have originally had.

Second quarter, 12:01, Giants 9-7: Lawrence Tynes chipped in a 24-yard field goal to give the Giants the lead.

Second quarter, 12:30, Patriots 7-6: With just three cornerbacks in uniform, the Patriots have employed DeAngelo Willingham as the fourth cornerback. Willingham is a safety by trade, so the Giants might be smart to target that side of the field. Jonathan Wilhite is on the right side.

End of first quarter, Patriots 7-6: Rhett Bomar has relieved Eli Manning, and the second-team defense is on the field for the Patriots. It's time for guys to earn their jobs.

First quarter, 0:56, Patriots 7-6: Tom Brady tried to go deep to Randy Moss, but the quarterback's pass was thrown a good 10-15 yards short. Antrel Rolle ate up the interception and returned it 28 yards to the Pats' 49. That was the Patriots' first interception of the preseason.

First quarter, 2:30, Patriots 7-6: Tom Brady and the first-team offense is still out there, and Fred Taylor is back out for his second series. Wes Welker caught the initial pass of the second drive and scooted ahead for 14 yards. He actually slipped while making a cut to avoid a tackle, which might have caused a few hearts to skip, but he made it back up.

First quarter, 3:11, Patriots 7-6: That was a better job by the defense to halt the Giants' early momentum on their second possession. The Giants tried to get tricky, but the Patriots played with good discipline — sans Derrick Burgess (read below) — and contained Eli Manning's operation.

New England takes over at its own 3-yard line after Matt Dodge's nice punt and Kevin Faulk's three-yard personal foul penalty for blocking after signaling for a fair catch.

First quarter, 5:07, Patriots 7-6: Derrick Burgess has blown containment of his edge twice, and his most recent infraction allowed Hakeem Nicks to gain 15 yards on an end-around.

First quarter, 6:51, Patriots 7-6: The Patriots answered right away with a scoring drive of their own, and they one-upped the Giants by converting the extra point. It was an interesting series for tight end Rob Gronkowski, who capped the eight-play, 45-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown grab.

On the play before the touchdown, it appeared that Gronkowski was supposed to run a fade route out of the left slot, but Tom Brady's throw sailed out of the end zone. Alge Crumpler, who was closest to the throw, immediately signaled to Gronkowski that he ran the wrong route, and Brady had some constructive criticism for the rookie, too. Still, Brady's throw was well off, so it's possible he just threw it out of bounds because he realized the play was broken from the get-go.

First quarter, 10:28, Giants 6-0: Rich Ohrnberger got the start at right guard, which could signify one or two things. The second-year lineman is getting his last opportunity to make a good impression with the coaching staff, and the Patriots are trying to save starter Stephen Neal, who has suffered through injuries in recent seasons.

First quarter, 10:43, Giants 6-0: In the understatement of the preseason, that's not why Bill Belichick put his starters on the field. The Giants breezed through the New England defense on a nine-play, 86-yard drive that concluded with Eli Manning's 13-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kevin Boss. Poor run defense and breakdowns were all the rage on that drive.

First quarter, 13:00, 0-0: Interesting. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis didn't participate in pregame warm-ups, but he's on the field for the game. Maybe he's using the same GPS as Jason Taylor.

First quarter, 14:50, 0-0: Hey, big play from safety Sergio Brown, who flew down the field to tackle Tim Brown at the New York 14-yard line on the game's opening kickoff. Brown is a bubble guy who I think can make the club with a good night, so that's a great way to get it going.

7:00 p.m.: This is definitely surprising. Tom Brady looks like he's going to start against the Giants, which means Bill Belichick is trying to send a message to the rest of the team.

6:44 p.m.: Second-round draft pick Jermaine Cunningham has missed all four preseason games with an undisclosed leg (ankle?) injury. Wide receiver Matthew Slater (calf) and offensive lineman Nick Kaczur (back) are the only other players on the roster who haven't dressed for all four games.

6:42 p.m.: With Terrence Wheatley and Kyle Arrington out of action, the Patriots only have three cornerbacks in uniform: Darius Butler, Devin McCourty and Jonathan Wilhite. This is going to be a big opportunity for Butler and McCourty to get a full game's worth of reps.

6:37 p.m.: Reporters on the scene have indicated wide receiver Julian Edelman, wide receiver Matthew Slater, cornerback Terrence Wheatley, cornerback Kyle Arrington, safety Brandon McGowan, running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick, offensive lineman Nick Kaczur, tight end Aaron Hernandez, defensive lineman Myron Pryor, outside linebacker Jermaine Cunningham and defensive lineman Ron Brace are not in uniform.

6:20 p.m.: OK, so Thursday's preseason finale is especially important for the guys on the roster bubble. Who are those guys, you ask? Well, well, well, we've got you covered.

There are six good positional races remaining, and we've already highlighted them this week: defensive line, linebacker, safety, offensive line, running back and wide receiver.

2:45 p.m.: Bill Belichick told New York radio station WFAN on Thursday that New England's starters will play in the preseason finale against the Giants. Keep in mind, though, that youngsters like Darius Butler, Devin McCourty, Rob Gronkowski and Gary Guyton are all considered starters. That still doesn't mean Tom Brady will take any snaps.

9 a.m.: There's hardly a red-carpet welcome for players in the fourth preseason game. While the likes of Tom Brady and Randy Moss are expected to sit out the Patriots' preseason finale Thursday against the Giants, the game will be dominated by second- and third-stringers.

Of course, there is a possibility that leads to a snoozefest, but the 2009 preseason finale — between the same teams, mind you — was one of the most exciting exhibition affairs of the summer.

Are the Pats and Giants on a collision course to repeat those dramatics? Stay with NESN.com's live blog to find out.

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