If you’re interested, below the fold.
I’m a Patriots fan. It was a very tough loss. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be a player. But this was nothing like 2007. That was brutal because of its improbability. I didn’t expect the Patriots to win yesterday. I knew they could but it wasn’t anything I expected.
The Patriots lost because the Giants played a near-perfect game and the Patriots were good but not quite that good. It was clear that Gronkowski wasn’t close to 100% and the Pats still almost won. No doubt there were numerous errors that were not visible to the casual fan. But I noticed only two outright mistakes by Brady–the underthrow to Gronkowski that was intercepted and the safety on the first play from scrimmage. The latter was a fairly shocking judgment call but probably the right call. The underthrow might have been forgotten but the linebacker made a superb play. (UPDATE: I forgot the throw to Hernandez that hit Jason Pierre Paul in the chest and was described incorrectly as a knockdown. Could easily have been intercepted.) The throw to Welker that would have sealed the game was not a great throw but it was good enough. It was on his hands. It would have been a tough play, but my guess, Welker usually makes it. There was a drop by Hernandez. Other than that, I can’t remember a bad play by the Pats. The offense made no exceptional plays although Brady overall was quite accurate. The 98 yard drive was magnificent.
The Patriots defense played much better than people anticipated. They held the Giants to what was essentially 20 points on offense. They forced two fumbles but couldn’t recover them. Mainly luck. But they could not get a stop when they needed one at the end.
But the real difference in the game was the superb play of the Giants. Manning relentlessly put the ball where he had to, tight window after tight window into what was surprisingly good coverage. His receivers were spectacular. They consistently climbed high to make tough catches and in my memory, they made every one of them. The Manningham catch was superb–a perfect throw and a very hard catch. But there were many fine plays like that including the interception. The Giants made many many tough plays. The Patriots missed the few like that that would have made the difference.