I watched the New York Giants attempt to stop the juggernaut that is the New England Patriots last night. The Giants was in control of the game throughout the first three quarters and even led by 12 at one point… and then Eli choked. You knew the Pats were going to be scoring probably on every drive as the Giants were unable to force a turnover, so with a 12 point lead, it was up to Eli Manning and the offense to "keep pace" so to speak. As good as Eli and the offense looked in their 2 minute offense at the end of the first half, as bad they looked at the end.
After Maroney ran it in from 6 yards out to close the lead to 5 with 4:00 left in the 3rd quarter, Manning got sacked on 2nd down for a 14 yard loss which put them in a 4th and forever situation. After regaining 9 on 3rd down, they were still facing 4th and 13 at the Pats 46 yard line. The Giants punt the ball. The punt yielded only a lousy 28 yards, but the Giants D stopped the Pats and forced a punt in the 4th quarter. All you have to do now is score again.
Mistake #1. Manning fumbles the snap on 1st down. That made it hard to convert the 3rd down and led to a 3 and out.
From the New England 35 yard line and sniffing weakness like a hyena, pretty boy Brady (yes, I can't stand Tom Brady) takes a shot deep down field to Moss. Moss drops the ball. The Giants have been very diligent all night long preventing the big play.
Mistake #2. Going right back to Moss on the same play, the Giants safety lets Randy get behind him for a 65 yard record breaker.
It's Brady's 50th TD pass of the season, breaking Peyton Manning's record of 49 and it's Moss' 23rd TD reception of the season, breaking Jerry Rice's record of 22. Of course, Peyton didn't get his record by just going Moss deep… Moss deep… Moss deep… Hey actually spread it around and had everyone involved. On Peyton's record season, the Colts also became the first team to have 3 receivers with 10 TDs each on the season as Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Brandon Stokeley all caught 10 TDs or more on the season. Take away Harrison and Peyton still had nearly 40 TDs. Take away Moss and Brady doesn't even make 30 TDs. Also, Jerry Rice set his record of 22 TD receptions in a strike shortened 12 game season. At that pace, he would have had 29 over a 16 game season, but the record now belongs to Moss.
At least it was a spectacular record breaking play of 65 yards! History can never do that play justice as you'll always just see that play being played. To truly do it justice, the previous play, an incomplete pass on the exact same play, really should also be shown. It was a pretty play. ;-) The Pats got the 2 point conversion to stretch their lead to 3.
Mistake #3. Under pressure to score again, Eli throws a pick giving the ball back to the Pats around mid field.
The Pats march down the field and Maroney punches it in from 5 to make the lead 10. With 4:36 left in the game, NOW, you ARE truly in your 2 minute offense because you have to score and get the ball back for another score attempt. What does 2 minute offense mean to you? To me it means 2 minutes right? Assume you have no timeouts and only 2 minutes to get a score. So when the clock hits 2:36, you absolutely MUST have a score on the board.
Mistake #4. Eli wastes time and play calling sucks. In an 11 play drive that destroyed the clock on behalf of the Patriots, the Giants ran the ball twice in the first 3 plays for a net of 9 yards. Just who the hell are you trying to fool?! The KNOW you have to throw the ball! Why even bother running it! Pathetic play calling… just pathetic! Of course, Eli didn't help either. Why bother with no huddle offense when you STILL take almost 40 seconds to get the damn play off! TWO MINUTE OFFENSE PEOPLE!!!
As a result, the Giants added a meaningless TD with 1:04 on the clock and 1 timeout left which meant they absolutely HAD to get the onside kick, which of course they didn't and the Pats won.
So on the night, the Pats broke the '85 Bears and '04 Steelers record for most wins in a season with 16… a perfect season. They also broke the '98 Vikings record for most points in a season. Brady broke Peyton Manning's record for most TD passes in a season with 50 and Moss broke Jerry Rice's record for most TD catches in a season with 23. Congrats to Brady, Moss and the Pats.
The Giants did show, like the Eagles and the Ravens, that if you get physical with Brady and the receivers, you have a shot at winning the game, but like the Eagles, the Giants offense choked and let the Pats back into the game, and like the Ravens, the Giants defense choked and gave up the big play that sealed their fate.
Nevertheless, it was a great meaningless game!
I hope the Pats have to face the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Divisional playoff game. I think the Jags' hard running style and physical defense have a very real chance of going into New England, especially if it is bad weather, and pound the Pats into defeat.
Of course, failing that, Peyton Manning and my Colts, now with Marvin Harrison back in the lineup, will go to New England in the AFC Championship game, having won his last two trips up there, and knock the Pats off to make a repeat Super Bowl appearance.
In the event that the Pats do manage to make it to the Super Bowl, my Cowboys will take care of business!
Of course, I'm still rooting for my ultimate Super Bowl… Cowboys vs. Colts!!! ;-)