If there was any week that a loss was a gigantic win for the Patriots, this was that week. However, it was another uninspiring offensive effort, with some defensive blunders as well. Italian-American Icon Tommy DeVito and the Giants only needed one touchdown to take home a victory, and a last-second field goal miss by Chad Ryland brought the Patriots to 2-9 on the year, securing their first three-season losing record stretch dating back to the early '90s (91-93). With that said, this is probably for the best long term. In the meantime, let's look at the highlights, lowlights, and everything else in between.
To the Bench
Even out of the bye week and all of the scrutiny he took, Mac Jones couldn't step up his game and was benched after an atrocious first-half outing. Jonathan Vilma in the booth had mentioned Jones talking about eliminating key mistakes from his game, and even then, they showed up on Sunday...twice.
The Giants were all over things with this zone look against play action, and Jones decided to look off of Parker, who may have had a 50/50 ball opportunity if Jones stepped into the throw, and instead sailed a ball while fading away going to Pop Douglas who was bracketed perfectly. This was also a 2nd&7 for whatever it's worth, which makes this far more frustrating. The Giants ultimately did nothing on the ensuing drive, but eating a sack or trying to tuck it and run would have been far better than the alternative.
Now, here's pick No. 2, which, by all accounts, was significantly worse in every way.
While it's fair to say that Pop Douglas waltzes in for six if he gets this (and the odds of that happening here are less than 1%), this is a throw, fading away, moments away from being hit, going into double coverage going towards the opposite side of the field. Simply inexcusable by Jones. Eat the sack, and take the three points. While the previous pick didn't hurt in the long one, this directly led to the Giants' lone touchdown drive of the day. If Jones isn't starting against the Chargers this Sunday, you can look back at this play and pinpoint this being the reason.
It's not a film segment, but the clothesline that Pop Douglas took and the subsequent lack of a penalty that came after was so unbelievably absurd that it needs mention.
I mean this is a textbook Pro Wrestling finisher. A Kazuchika Okada Rainmaker, a Hangman Page Buckshot Lariat, a Stan Hansen Western Lariat, and so on. One Alex Barth of 98.5 the Sports Hub, went and looked midgame to see if there was anything in the NFL rulebook that made this play a penalty, and sure enough, here's what he found.
If what happened to Douglas doesn't apply to Subsection D, then throw out the entire rulebook at that point. Some of Douglas' teammates were justifiably furious over the lack of a penalty on that play. One of which, Jabrill Peppers, went off when he was asked about things post-game by Zack Cox of NESN.
“It’s just crazy. They preach all this player safety stuff, but that doesn’t get flagged. But I’ve been fined maybe two or three times for clean hits. So that pissed me off, too. They even looked up at the Jumbotron, and there was still no flag. But you can’t say anything about the refs in this league. It is what it is. To me, that’s a joke. You can’t say you care about player safety and not flag that play.” - Jabrill Peppers on the hit that took out Pop Douglas
Barmore Pushing for the Pro Bowl?
Not the first time this was the case in 2023, and I doubt it'll be the last, but Christian Barmore was a menace in all phases on Sunday. He'll likely end the year as one of the 10 best pass-rushing IDL in football, and you saw a ton of plus reps out of the third-year Alabama man against New York, occasionally getting some additional attention from Andrew Thomas, here's the highlight reel.
Also, give top honors to Davon Godchaux (monster against the run) and Anfernee Jennings as well. I thought both had excellent showings here. Not to mention Keion White as well, who finally got his first career sack over the weekend. The entire unit did exactly what they should have done against a very suspect Giants offensive line outside of Thomas.
"A Significant Play for Some"
Hard to explain this other than Ryland just pushed this one way too far when he was only 35 yards out. Now, there are two things you can say here that are both accurate. The first is that this one singular American Football missed kick could prove VERY large by year's end. The Patriots are now 1.5 losses behind Big Blue and would have a tiebreaker over them in the draft order, and based on how everything else went this weekend, the Patriots hold the No. 3 pick, only trailing the Arizona Cardinals, who should probably find a couple of wins by year's end, and then the Panthers who just cleaned house as far as their staff is concerned.
As far as Ryland goes, this is a kick you have to make. No other way to put it. This puts him up to six misses on the year, three of which have come at MetLife Stadium. Although I agreed (and still do) with the idea of cutting bait with Nick Folk, he's currently 22-of-23 on field goal tries to Rylands 12-of-18 split. Even with Ryland's kickoff touchback rate being a significant upgrade over what the Patriots had last year, he hasn't been good enough in year one. Also worth noting are the draft picks, both directly before Ryland and three selections after him: Browns' tackle Dawand Jones and Bears' running back Roschon Johnson. Not in 'give up' range with Ryland yet, but the early returns on him are what they are.
Final Score: New York Giants 10, New England Patriots 7
Gaffney's Three Stars from Patriots-Giants
3rd Star - Anfernee Jennings (1.5 Sacks, 2 QB Hits, 4 Tackles)
2nd Star - Rhamondre Stevenson (21 Rushes for 91 Yards, 1 TD, 5 Catches for 9 Yards)
1st Star - Christian Barmore (1 Sack, 1 QB Hit, 3 Tackles, 1 PBU)
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