Patriots 27 - 3
By Patriots Insider Staff
27 - 3 was the final score but those aren't the numbers you should focus on. The real numbers are 32 - 4. Why 32 - 4? Because those are the total numbers of players each team held out of action for the final preseason game of 2005. 32 players for the Patriots sat the game out, while a mere 4 for the Giants did likewise.
When it's all said and done, there will be little fallout for the defending world champions who decided it was more important to rest their starters than to make a game out of their last exhibition for the fans.
Because they do everything as a team, with a purpose, and they're "good for the league." But that doesn't explain why fans were charged full fare to watch a game where the defending Super Bowl champs played one starter (Not including specialists Adam Vinatieri, Lonie Paxton and Josh Miller), while the New York Giants played all but nearly one.
Who was out?
The following players were listed either as Did not Play, or Inactive
Patriots: QB, T.Brady, CB, A.Samuel, CB, D.Starks, DB, E.Wilson, RB, C.Dillon, RB, K.Faulk, S, R.Harrison, CB, T.Poole, LB, M.Beisel, LB, M.Vrabel, LB, L.Izzo, LB, W.McGinest, LB, R.Colvin, G, S.Neal, C, D.Koppen, T, T.Ashworth, OL, L.Mankins, T, M.Light, DL, V.Wilfork, T, B.Gorin, WR, T.Brown, TE, D.Graham, WR, D.Branch, TE, B.Watson, WR, T.Dwight, WR, D.Givens, TE, C.Fauria, DL, D.Klecko, DL, R.Seymour, DL, T.Warren, DL, J.Green, LB, C.Brown
Giants: QB, E.Manning, CB, W.Peterson, OL, L.Kelly, DE, E.Moore
In spite of the lobsided rosters, the Patriots reserves did a manageable job of fending off the Giants starters, at least in the first half. The second half, things turned ugly quickly.
The New York Giants played some of their starters in the first quarter of the game, yet managed to only chalk up 6 points. Dominating play for the better part of the first 30 minutes, two jay Feely field Goals were all the team could manage. Possibly that was a good sign for the second-string Patriots players. Down 32 bodies, 21 of which are starters, the Patriots fended off the Giant's first string, sans Eli Manning.
The Patriots reserves had a chance to take the lead late in the first half, until Doug Flutie overthrew receiver Andre Davis to a waiting Shaun Williams in the back of the endzone. Flutie who had moments of good decisions and crisp throws mixed in with periods of off-target heaves, stumbling backpeddling and moments of panic, did what he could with a squad that looked like a group of backups.
By halftime both teams had a solid look at their primary backups, the guys who will step in should a starter go down during the regular season. The Giants probably felt a little better about their situation than the Patriots, but only being down 6-0, the Pats have to be thinking not too shabby.
The rest of the game must have seemed like an exercise in futility for Patriots fans, and a shot of confidence for Giants fans.
The Patriots managed one decent drive, their first one of the second half 65 yards in 17 plays, controlling the ball for 7:14 of gameclock ending with an Adam Vinatieri chip shot. Those were the Patriots only points.
On their remaining 8 possessions, the Matt Cassel led offense managed to a mind-numbing 11 yards on 26 plays for an unfathomable sub 0.5 yard per play average.
What happened to the Matt Cassel fourth-quarter comeback kid from week one? Maybe Rohan Davey put a hex on him when he left town or maybe it was a series of unfortunate events.
In any event, the game ended when both head coaches ran the ball into the line of scrimmage turning it over on downs in order to run out the clock.
Final Score: Giants 27 - Patriots 3
Roster Cuts approach. According to head coach Bill Belichick he was pleased to get a good look at players who didn't get much time to play against the Saints or the Packers. The staff will look at the tapes and make some decisions in the next few days.
Those on the bubble can only hope they showed enough tonight to get an opportunity to be part of the 53-man roster Sunday evening. Some of the lucky ones will either catch a ride with another team, or be invited to join the Patriots practice squad once they clear waivers.
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