February 3, 2008


Giants Beat Patriots 17-14 (BARRY WILNER, 2/03/08, The Associated Press)

It was the most bitter of losses, too, because 12-point favorite New England (18-1) was one play from winning and getting the ultimate revenge for being penalized for illegally taping opponents' defensive signals in the season-opener against the New York Jets.

But its defense couldn't stop a final, frantic 12-play, 83-yard drive that featured a spectacular leaping catch by David Tyree, who had scored New York's first touchdown on the opening drive of the fourth quarter.

"It's the greatest feeling in professional sports," Burress said before bursting into tears. [...]

The Patriots were done in not so much by the pressure of the first unbeaten season in 35 years as by the pressure of a smothering Giants pass rush. Tom Brady, the league's Most Valuable Player and winner of his first three Super Bowl, was sacked five times, hurried a dozen more and at one point wound up on his knees, his hands on his hips following one of many poor throws in New England's lowest scoring game of the season.

...than Peyton Manning handing the trophy to his own brother.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 3, 2008 10:04 PM

Two excellent teams playing flat out . . . three lead changes in the fourth quarter, two in the last three minutes . . . manning escapes a certain sack, tosses a desperation pass, and wo-dat wideout David Tyree makes an impossible catch to keep the game-winning drive alive . . . plus Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers! It does not get any better than this.

Don't be too bummed, OJ. Spring Training is 11 days away.

Posted by: Mike Morley at February 3, 2008 10:57 PM

Very very cool.

(If the Pats were smart they'd fire Belichick and hire Spagnuolo. Holy outcoached Batman! What happened to the vaunted Belichick adjustments?)

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at February 3, 2008 11:14 PM

The adjustment they needed was bringing in Matt Guttierez and Brady has earned the right not to be benched.

Posted by: oj at February 3, 2008 11:30 PM

Bummed? That game salvaged what had until then been a joyless season. There's not much narrative drama to being so much better than everyone else. A loss humanizes them. They'll be better next year with some younger defensive guys.

Posted by: oj at February 3, 2008 11:48 PM

I was surprised the Pats made no real offensive adjustments - they moved the ball a bit better in the 2nd half because the Giants defense was getting tired (which is why Strahan, Umenyiora, and Tuck spent time on the sideline).

The Pats went to a few quick slants and look-ins to Welker and Moss, but no inside reverses (a favorite of theirs in the past), no deep stuff over the middle, and very few swing passes. Perhaps Brady's ankle was hurting, which limited his options. Eli looked positively nimble tonight compared to Brady.

And good for Burress, who caught just two, but made them count. He can be Park Ave. Plax after meeting his guarantee.

Posted by: jim hamlen at February 3, 2008 11:50 PM


Hah. The Giants would've teed off on him too.

Brady had little to do with the loss. But it took Belichick until 8 minutes left to realize that they had to hit the quick 5 yarder to Welker to move the ball.

It would've helped if the Pats actually had a running back -- Moroney looks great in the woeful AFC, but not against a proper NFC defense. But then again, with that offensive line . . .

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at February 4, 2008 12:07 AM

The loss was all about the offensive line, which had been nearly perfect all season but barely showed up last night. There's a big difference between your QB and receivers being able to rely on having 4-5 seconds after the snap and only getting 2-3 seconds. The receivers weren't able to separate and Brady had to make hurried passes time after time.

The Giants won this one in the trenches.

Posted by: Ibid at February 4, 2008 8:23 AM

So, OJ, a humanizing loss is better than a win? OK, whatever gets you through the sorrow.

I prefer joyless victory myself.

Posted by: Bob at February 4, 2008 10:03 AM

I hope no one brings up "greatest team ever" again. You could list the teams of the past that could have stopped the Pats last night(like the Giants Defense did).

I'll start with two:

'78 Steelers
'82 49ers

Posted by: Bartman at February 4, 2008 10:16 AM

'85 Bears, too.

But so could the current Chargers and Colts. Lots of teams could have beat them last night. The Giants showed up to play and the Pats didn't.

However, I still think that they're the best organization in football.

Posted by: Ibid at February 4, 2008 10:28 AM

Their coach has no class though. The way he left the field with 1 second left, without shaking Coughlin's hand. Pitiful.

Posted by: Bartman at February 4, 2008 10:46 AM

He'd already shaken Coughlin's hand--he's one of the few caches he likes.

Posted by: oj at February 4, 2008 11:42 AM

Actually, the reason it's such an easy loss to take is because it demonstrated how great they are. Despite playing the worst game their capable of they'd still have won but for that broken play completion to Tyree.

It would have been a hard loss if they'd played at all well and been beaten.

Posted by: oj at February 4, 2008 11:44 AM

Brady played like crap. Switching qbs would have helped. But you don't bench the best player ever at his position just because he has an off day. Guys earn the right to stink out the joint once in awhile.

Posted by: oj at February 4, 2008 11:53 AM

The Patriots simply aren't as good as everyone in NE thinks. It's not a question of a lucky catch by a Giant receiver. Those are the breaks by the way that the Pats themselves are used to getting in all the games they pulled out of their *sses this season.

The Giants dominated almost the entire game, with the only exceptions of the Pats first and last drives.

They deserved to win, and it would've been a tragedy for them to lose that game given how they dominated. It's not a function of the Pats playing poorly either, but rather of the Giants being a very good team playing at their peak and the Pats being a very good team but not a great one, and a very good teamed that peaked in October. Play that Superbowl 10 times and the Giants win 6 or 7 easy.

And again, it's not remotely Brady's fault that he got knocked on his *** nearly every time he dropped back. The only truly poor play from him was missing Moss in the endzone, but they ended up scoring anyway.

The Giants won not only because they're a better team, but because they had a better game plan, one that the Patriots couldn't adjust to. It was genius to send late blitzes up the middle when the Pats operated out of the shotgun. Even with a back in the backfield with Brady, usually the back missed the blitz b/c of the delay and went out for a pass.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at February 4, 2008 12:47 PM

Actually, the reason it's such an easy loss to take is because it demonstrated how great they are.

Save that line, cause you can use it again on November 5th to rationalize Senator McNixon's loss (and the Dem's pickup of their 60th Senate seat.)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at February 4, 2008 12:51 PM

OJ is right - Belichick shook Tom Coughlin's hand after the Pats' last offensive play. But it was still bush to run off the field, knowing another play had to be run. Who sent out the defensive players, the ball boy?

I'm sure the Pats take comfort in their 'greatness', even though they didn't win. Just like the 1968 Colts did. Or the 1969 Vikings. Or the 1983 Redskins. Or the 1998 Vikings. Or the 2001 Rams.

Posted by: jim hamlen at February 4, 2008 2:47 PM

Yes, the Pats were awful in every facet of the game, which is why a team they'd dominated on its home field was able to squeak by them. Teams have off days on occasion. They chose a sub-optimal moment for theirs.

Posted by: oj at February 4, 2008 3:44 PM

They weren't undefeated. The Pats were.

Posted by: oj at February 4, 2008 5:52 PM

I must have missed the handshake. I apologize to Coach B.

Posted by: Bartman at February 5, 2008 3:00 PM