New England was able to move to 6-0 on the season after taking down the New York Giants 35-14 on Thursday Night Football, but it was hardly the blowout that the spread and many experts predicted. New York was able to hang in with the Patriots for the bulk of the game as Tom Brady and the offense struggled to find their footing all night. Really, it was the defense and special teams that proved to be the difference in this latest win as they accounted for 14 points directly off turnovers.
The dagger came late in the fourth quarter when Kyle Van Noy picked up a Giants fumble and took it 22-yards for the touchdown. Giants quarterback Daniel Jones showed flashes in this game, but he did have his fair share of miscues. He finished with 161 yards, a touchdown, and three interceptions. Brady, meanwhile, was not much better as he was inconsistent overall, but did finish with 334 yards through the air and was able to rush for two touchdowns.
The Patriots are 6-0 after beating the Giants and there's a lot to go over. Fortunately, John Breech and Sean Wagner-McGough are here to break everything down on the latest episode of the Pick Six Podcast. Listen to the full show below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.
We'll break down the key takeaways from the "Thursday Night Football" game that was much closer than the final score shows.
Why the Patriots Won
Tom Brady had an off night with the exception of a few downfield throws and the short stuff (which was expected given the weather conditions), but he's looked off at times throughout the year. The Patriots defense and special teams are so good it doesn't even matter. New England intercepted Giants quarterback Daniel Jones three times and forced a fumble that was returned for a score. The Patriots only scored seven points off those turnovers, but two of those interceptions were in Giants territory. The special teams got New England on the board when Brandon Bolden pushed the Giants' Nate Stupar back into a Riley Dixon punt and Chase Winovich returned it for a six-yard touchdown late in the first quarter in a game they never trailed.
Why The Giants Lost
Daniel Jones didn't have starting running back Saquon Barkley, starting tight end Evan Engram, starting wide receiver Sterling Shepard and No. 2 running back Wayne Gallman going into this one. The lack of productive skill players was too much for the Giants' rookie quarterback to overcome, as he made plenty of mistakes with three interceptions. Jones threw one pass off his back foot where he was moving to his left in an attempt to throw the ball away that led to a Duron Harmon interception with New York trailing 7-0 in the second quarter. He also had a bad read that led to an easy Stephon Gilmore interception as the Giants trailed 21-14 early in the third quarter. The Giants' defense did their best to keep the team in the game, but Jones's poor decisions and lack of offensive playmakers just wasn't enough to pull off the upset.
The Giants were still in this game early in the fourth quarter. Down 21-14 with 8:43 left, Jones threw a pass to running back Jonathan Hilliman, but Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins placed his shoulder on the ball and forced the fumble. Kyle Van Noy picked up the ball and took it to the end zone for the score. Van Noy was originally ruled down at the two-yard line, but replay showed he scored the touchdown giving the Patriots a 28-14 lead, which was insurmountable for the Giants depleted offense.
With better ball security by Hilliman, a third-string running back, and that turnover could have been avoided. The Giants missed Barkley and Gallman, having just 52 rushing yards and averaging 3.3 yards per carry.
Play Of The Game
Tom Brady certainly isn't the most mobile of quarterbacks, but one can't knock the man's determination to find the end zone. Brady had two touchdown runs on the night, the first time he accomplished the feat since 2011. At 42 years and 68 days old, Brady became the oldest player in the Super Bowl era to score two rush touchdowns in a single game. Brady has three rushing touchdowns on the season, his most in a year since 2015. He has more rushing touchdowns this year than the last three seasons combined.
Brady's first touchdown sneak gave the Patriots the lead for good with 36 seconds left in the second quarter to give the Patriots a 21-14 halftime lead. His second one was with 3:49 left in the game, the final score of the night.
"I felt like it was the right thing to do" - Giants head coach Pat Shurmur on punting in the fourth quarter down two scores.
The Giants trailed 28-14 with 7:08 left in the game when Shurmur decided to punt on a 4th-and-2, giving the ball back to Tom Brady and the Patriots. The punt went just 30 yards and New England had a seven-play, 63-yard drive capped by a Tom Brady touchdown run to put the game away with 3:49 left.
On the Giants' next possession, Shurmur challenged a defensive pass interference that wasn't overturned. While the challenge was fine, why challenge to extend a drive down 21 but punt down 14?
The Giants (2-4) will have 10 days off before they host rookie Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals. The Patriots (6-0) will have 11 days off and will travel to New York to face the Jets on "Monday Night Football" as they will look to improve to 7-0. New England won 30-14 in the first meeting.