It was the lack of mistakes that stood out most in rookie quarterback Tommy DeVito’s game, a second straight without an interception (a botched handoff to Wan’Dale Robinson in the first quarter went down as a quarterback fumble). DeVito also demonstrated a sweet touch on deep passes to Jalin Hyatt (a career-high 109 receiving yards) and deft touch on the touchdown to Isaiah Hodgins. He did absorb six sacks, though, and the Giants managed only 220 net yards of offense mostly because the Patriots keyed on Saquon Barkley and held him to 46 rushing yards on 12 carries. If the game had gone into overtime, it would have been interesting to see if they could have figured out a way to score and win the game without the defense or special teams setting them up since they had just one possession in regulation that went for more than 33 yards and that was their opening drive which ended with the fumble.
The Giants did not allow a single play of 20 yards or more and let up just one scoring play in the entire game, a 7-yard run that capped a seven-minute drive to open the third quarter. All of the Giants’ points came on short fields provided by the defense’s takeaways, including a fourth-quarter interception by Xavier McKinney (who also had a team-high 10 tackles). Bobby Okereke, playing with a fractured rib, also had an interception and posted eight tackles. Jihad Ward had 1.5 sacks and Kayvon Thibodeaux was credited with a half sack, two tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C
Randy Bullock’s 42-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter turned out to be the winning points, but he also put his second-half kickoff out of bounds to give the Patriots the ball at the 40 to start their only scoring drive of the game. Jamie Gillan had one of his best punting games as a Giant putting four of his eight attempts inside the 20 and launching a massive 74 yarder that was actually a bit too long (it was a touchback). Still, when the Giants needed a big boot from him with 3:15 left, he flubbed a 38-yard kick that was returned 12 yards to give the Patriots the ball at midfield to begin their final drive. That possession ended with the missed field goal but would have been a critical error.
Brian Daboll had his best challenge of the season to overturn the spot on a first down late in the third quarter and forced the Patriots to punt. The offensive staff had DeVito ready for all the tricks Bill Belichick’s defense normally throws at rookies. Wink Martindale’s defense has been dominant the last two weeks and they were able to pressure the quarterback even without their (literally) biggest player on the interior of the line, Dexter Lawrence (hamstring). In spite of reports of friction between them, which Daboll denied, Daboll gave Martindale a game ball after the win.