The Patriots are 16-0! We’ve been saying it all along, Pats fans before the season, and NFL fans after week one (before the videotaping incident). I usually don’t do recaps, but I thought I’d try it out: I think the big reason why the Giants surprised the Patriots last night is because the Patriots weren’t expecting an aggressive aerial attack, let alone an agressive game. They knew they would have to stuff a Giant’s run attack led by Brandon Jacobs, but they weren’t expecting Eli Manning to chuck the ball deep on the opening series. However, after that, the Patriots were able to respond well.Several minutes after a Gostkowski field goal, the Pats marched down the field for a touchdown in a very methodical drive based upon the passing game. Although Randy Moss gave us a quick scare, he was back, and scored a touchdown, to give the Patriots the lead. The Patriots were immediatley stunned however, as Hixon returned a kick for a touchdown to make it 14-10 Giants. The Patriots were able to regain the lead late in the half, when Gostkowski booted his 3rd field goal of the night. However, Eli Manning constructed a beautiful two minute drive, throwing his 2nd touchdown, giving the Giants a 21-16 lead.The second half did not start well for the Patriots. A quick three and out, and the Giants regained possession. Another quick score, and the Patriots were facing their biggest deficit of the year, 28-16.Tom Brady and the Patriots wouldn’t be phased. Late in the 3rd, the Patriots drove down the field for a touchdown, capped off by a Laurence Maroney 6 yard plunge. Although the stats didn’t show it (19 carries, 46 yards, 2 touchdowns), Laurence Maroney run particularly well. He was hitting the hole hard, breaking tackles, and driving his legs. The Maroney touchdown put the Patriots right back in the game.For the next few minutes, the ball went back and forth between the Giants and the Patriots. However, a particularly sloppy Giants drive gave the Patriots the ball back with a five point deficit. The Patriots took advantage of the situation. Although an initial play action bomb to Randy Moss didn’t work out (behind Moss, but it should have been caught), the Patriots went for another bomb the next play. This time, the play was a success, as the Patriots took the lead 31-28.With the touchdown throw, Tom Brady became the first member of the fifty touchdown club, breaking Peyton Manning’s single season touchdown mark of 49 in the process. With 23 touchdowns on the season, Randy Moss broke Jerry Rice’s record of 22 touchdown catches in a season.The next drive, the Giants struggle’s continued. Thanks to a great read by Rodney Harrison, Ellis Hobbs was able to intercept an Eli Manning pass with an amazing grab (for a corner). The pick gave the Patriots the ball in excellent field position. They took advantage, as Laurence Maroney found the endzone for the second time in the game. Although the Giants made their way down the field for another touchdown, a failed onsides kick gave the Patriots the ball and the win, 38-35.Believe me, undefeated is great. I couldn’t be more excited, but there is still a long way to go. The undefeated title will mean nothing if the Patriots don’t win the Superbowl. If the Patriots don’t win the Superbowl, then you can have the asterisk.
Teams that went undefeated:2007 Patriots*1972 Dolphins1942 Bears**Did not win Superbowl
Winning the Superbowl is more important than ever. No pressure, Pats!