The New England Patriots’ defense was hardly perfect Sunday, but it stepped up against the New York Giants when it mattered most.
The Patriots allowed 342 yards and two touchdowns through the air in their 27-26 win, but 251 of those came in the first half, and 87 came on one play. The Giants couldn’t score a touchdown to essentially put the game away late in the fourth quarter.
The Patriots fared better against the run, allowing just 80 yards on 23 carries for 3.5 yards per carry. Take out quarterback Eli Manning’s scramble, and the Patriots allowed an even more impressive 3.2 yards per carry.
Check out this week’s pass charting stats:
Malcolm Butler: 3-10, 92 yards, TD, two PBUs, pass interference
Justin Coleman: 4-7, 50 yards, TD, PBU
Rashaan Melvin: 2-3: 48 yards, pass interference
Jonathan Freeny: 4-5, 46 yards
Logan Ryan: 3-4, 39 yards, PBU
Jon Bostic: 1-1, 31 yards
Devin McCourty: 1-3: 13 yards
Rob Ninkovich: 2-2, 7 yards
Dont’a Hightower: 1-1, 6 yards
Patrick Chung: 0-1, pass interference
Jerod Mayo: 0-1
— Butler allowed an 87-yard catch to Odell Beckham Jr. in the first quarter, then shut down the star wideout to the tune of two catches for five yards on nine targets with two pass breakups. Butler shadowed Beckham around the field for most of the afternoon.
— Ryan shadowed Rueben Randle, while Coleman, and then Melvin, covered the Giants’ No. 3 receivers. Coleman, who had a cast on his hand for the game, was benched late. Melvin didn’t play much better.
— Chung and Butler’s pass interference penalties looked bogus on first and second glance.
— It’s telling that Ryan was targeted just four times, while Butler was targeted 10 times and Coleman and Melvin also were targeted a combined 10 times.
— Chung helped limit running back Shane Vereen to just two catches for 12 yards. Patriots fans know how dangerous Vereen can be as a pass-catcher.
Chandler Jones: sack, three hurries
Rob Ninkovich: sack, hurry
Malcom Brown: sack
Nate Ebner: QB hit
Dont’a Hightower: hurry
Dominique Easley: hurry
Patrick Chung: hurry
Devin McCourty: hurry
Jabaal Sheard: hurry
Akiem Hicks: hurry
— The Patriots weren’t able to get consistent pressure on Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
— New England really miss linebacker Jamie Collins — who sat out with an illness — as an interior pass blitzer.
— Ninkovich’s lone sack was extremely clutch. It came in the fourth quarter and forced the Giants to punt rather than attempt a field goal.
Bryan Stork: two sacks, QB hit, three hurries
Cameron Fleming: five hurries
Josh Kline: two QB hits, hurry
David Andrews: sack, hurry
Shaq Mason: two hurries
LeGarrette Blount: sack
Rob Gronkowski: QB hit
— Stork and Fleming were perfect last Sunday. They weren’t quite as good against the Giants, but all things considered, Fleming and Stork impressed in their first career starts at left and right tackle, respectively. The Patriots will benefit from having Marcus Cannon and Sebastian Vollmer back from injuries.
— Brandon Bolden and James White shared the third-down back role, and neither player surrendered a pressure.
Here, we break down Brady’s incompletions to determine why they weren’t caught:
1. Out in front of Julian Edelman
2. Shallow to Brandon Bolden
3. Out in front of Danny Amendola
4. Overthrow to Scott Chandler
5. Tipped at the line to Michael Williams
6. Pass breakup to Brandon LaFell
7. Pass breakup to Rob Gronkowski
8. Thrown behind Gronkowski
9. Drop by Chandler
10. Behind LaFell on interception
11. Underthrow to Aaron Dobson
12. Out of bounds to LaFell
13. Shallow to LaFell
14. Under pressure on throw to Dobson
15. Out of bounds to Dobson
— Brady, who wasn’t fantastic, was just 1-for-7 on deep passes.
— Brady moved the Patriots into Stephen Gostkowski’s field-goal range but threw five inaccurate passes on that game-winning drive.
Thumbnail photo via Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports Images