Defense Carries Patriots
The New England Patriots proved that statistics don’t win football games -- defense and perseverance do.
Outgained 199-29 in a first half in which they had just one first down, the Patriots rallied behind Tom Brady and Kevin Faulk and beat the New York Giants, 17-6, on Sunday.
“We’re just an emotional team,” said defensive tackle Richard Seymour, who had two deflections that were turned into interceptions and a sack that stopped what looked like a New York touchdown drive.
“If something goes against us, we just keep coming back and trying again on the next play. It worked out for us today.”
Indeed it did on a rainy, windy day that made handling the ball difficult. The Patriots overcame it, the Giants didn’t -- New York had five turnovers, including two on its first three plays; New England had none
Despite that first-half dominance by the Giants (2-3), the Patriots (4-2) actually led, 7-3, at intermission, thanks to Tyrone Poole’s strip of Tiki Barber little more than two minutes into the game.
The fumble was returned 38 yards for a touchdown by linebacker Matt Chatham, one of many backups forced to play because of injuries.
Then the Patriots came out in the second half, scored 10 quick points and the Giants never really got back into the game. Brady, one of 10 for seven yards before intermission, was seven of 11 for 105 yards in the second half.
That set the Patriots on the way to their second touchdown, a one-yard run by Mike Cloud that made it 17-3 in the third quarter.
But it was almost all defense for New England, which used Seymour and Dan Klecko on the two rookies in the middle of the Giants’ offensive line, center Wayne Lucier and right guard David Diehl.
“Consistent,” said New England linebacker Roman Phifer, a 13-year veteran. “We just wanted to be consistent and keep them from making big plays.”
The Giants moved in the middle of the field, but couldn’t do anything when they got inside the Patriots’ 25. Typical was Seymour’s sack on a second and three from the New England 11 on the second play of the fourth quarter that kept the Giants from closing within a touchdown -- they settled for Brett Conway’s 34-yard field goal that left New England up 17-6.
“We tried to take what they gave us,” said the Giants’ Kerry Collins, who was 34 of 59 for 314 yards but had four passes intercepted. “Several times we called deep plays, but it just wasn’t there.”
The win was the fourth in five games for New England after being shocked 31-0 by Buffalo in their opener.