Report Cards: Patriots - Giants

Two weeks in a row the Patriots are facing a tough loss. This time it was against the hated New York Giants. Here's how each team did broken down unit-by-unit.


   PASSING OFFENSE: C -- Tom Brady led what could've been the game-winning drive and showed his usual poise in the fourth quarter, but two key turnovers led to 10 points for the Giants and set the tone for a frustrating afternoon. All told, Brady turned the ball over three times, and, once again WR Chad Ochocinco was a non-factor.

   RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- BenJarvus Green Ellis averaged more than 4 yards per carry, but the running game really wasn't a factor. This is a surprise considering the Giants have trouble stopping the run, particularly on first down. The Patriots should have tried to establish the run a bit more.

   PASS DEFENSE: D -- For three and a half quarters, the Patriots managed to hold the depleted Giants' offense in check, but when New York spread it out offensively, New England had no chance. Eli Manning led two late scoring drives, including the game-winner on a touchdown pass to Jake Ballard. The secondary once again let the Patriots down, and it doesn't appear to be getting better anytime soon.

   RUSH DEFENSE: C -- With Ahmad Bradshaw out of the lineup, the Giants figured to struggle running the ball, but Brandon Jacobs filled in nicely with 72 yards on 18 carries, including a 10-yard touchdown run. Even D.J. Ware had a couple of big carries, and Manning had a scramble for a first down on the game's final drive that helped lead to a field goal. Ultimately, the run defense wasn't nearly good enough, which turned out to be the story of the afternoon across the board.

   SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- Awful. Stephen Gostkowski missed a chip-shot field goal at the end of the first half and Julian Edelman muffed a punt in the third quarter that led to Jacobs' touchdown.

   COACHING: C -- The Patriots talked about wanting to get Taylor Price more involved offensively, yet he didn't get a single snap Sunday; instead, the Patriots kept wasting time trying to get the ball to Chad Ochocinco, who clearly isn't a good fit with this offense. There's not much else to complain about from a coaching standpoint; the Patriots don't have a great defense no matter what plays Belichick and his staff draw up.


   PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus -- It wasn't pretty and certainly the numbers don't show it, but Eli Manning was once again elite despite not having receiver Hakeem Nicks (hamstring) available. Manning's only glitch was the interception he threw into the end zone that was picked off by Kyle Arrington; otherwise, he made the plays he needed to in order to move the chains, including finding his big tight end Jake Ballard for two key passes on the game-winning drive. While the pass blocking wasn't always there, which forced Manning to throw a lot off his back foot, the good news is that he wasn't sacked. Manning finished 20 of 39 (51.2 percent) for 250 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

   RUSHING OFFENSE: B-plus -- While the numbers don't appear to be impressive -- the Giants' rushing game averaged 3.8 yards per carry -- it was how they ran the ball that made the difference. Minus their top running back, Ahmad Bradshaw, who was home nursing a broken foot, Brandon Jacobs came to work with a brand new attitude. He ran with a purpose and made every single one of his 72 yards on 18 carries count for something. Meanwhile DJ Ware, who moved into the third-down back role, did a nice job of picking up the blitzes while also managing a respectable 3.3 yards per carry on his seven opportunities. Finally, rookie Da'Rel Scott, active with Bradshaw sidelined, showed that intriguing burst of speed and quickness through the line on his lone carry that went for five yards.

-- While Patriots quarterback Tom Brady only completed 57 percent of his passes that included two touchdowns, he also threw two costly and uncharacteristic interceptions. The Giants did a nice job for the most part of mixing up zone and man-to-man coverage, and also did a decent job of disguising what they were looking to do. However, the fact remains that the Patriots managed to record not one, but two 100-yard receivers this week -- Wes Welker, who had nine catches for 136 yards, and tight end Rob Gronkowski, who caught eight balls for 101 yards.

   RUSH DEFENSE: A-minus -- Save for a couple of big runs of 18 yards by BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who broke free for 18 yards on the Patriots' first play from scrimmage, and receiver Wes Welker, who had a 13-yard scramble, the Giants run defense was much more stout this week as players did a better job of getting into their gaps and shedding blocks. Credit the Giants' linebacking corps, led by team leading tacklers Mathias Kiwanuka and Michael Boley, who did an exceptional job of keeping the Patriots' runners from getting to the defensive backfield.

   SPECIAL TEAMS: B-plus -- Take away the low, short snaps by Zak DeOssie (which were handled cleanly by holder Steve Weatherford), and the muffed punt by Aaron Ross that nearly changed the complexion of the game, and the Giants special teams had another solid outing. The star this week was Weatherford, who sent five of his six punts inside the 20 and of those five, three inside of the 10-yard line, forcing the Patriots to work with a longer field. Meanwhile the Giants' coverage units were, for the most part, solid, though the gunner coverage had its share of troubles with New England's gunners. The special teams also came up with a big play when linebacker Mark Herzlich forced a fumble that was recovered by fellow rookie linebacker Spencer Paysinger, a turnover that set up an ensuing scoring drive.

   COACHING: A -- Head coach Tom Coughlin has his players believing they can stand toe-to-toe with any team, and it's showing in their on-field performance. What's more, when some critical mistakes were made that could have potentially affected the outcome of the game, Coughlin and Co. were right there, encouraging players to forget about it and move on to the next play. Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride found a way to get tight end Jake Ballard involved in the game and it paid dividends as Ballard contributed on the game-winning drive. He also figured out a way to jump-start the running game despite not having his best runner, Ahmad Bradshaw, and his starting center, David Baas, in the lineup. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell brought his best plan to date to this game, a plan in which the Giants mixed up their coverages and disguised what they were doing just enough to keep the Patriots guessing.

Game Balls & Goats: Pats - Giants

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