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BOSTON (CBS) –The Patriots defense played well for the first three quarters against the New York Giants, but without a full 60-minute effort, it really does not mean much to them.
“First half, second half, doesn’t matter. We’ve got to play 60 minutes,” safety Patrick Chung said after the 24-20 loss on Sunday. “You’ve got to finish strong just like you start strong.”
The much scrutinized Patriots defense was on the way to their finest performance of the season. After shutting out the Giants in the first half, they allowed 10 points off two turnovers in the third quarter. The Giants scored their touchdown after taking over at the New England 10-yard line, courtesy of a Tom Brady fumble.
The Pats D had kept them in the game, but when the game was on the line, it all slipped away.
“It was very frustrating. At the end of the day, we take it on our shoulders,” said defensive captain Jerod Mayo. ”We have to close the game and we didn’t execute when we needed to.”
Highs & Lows: Another Ugly Loss
“It was a great performance, but you have to continue to carry it on to the second half,” defensive end Andre Carter said on WBZ-TV’s Sports Final Sunday night. “I know the question has always been, ‘why aren’t we doing that. What things are we doing wrong?’ That’s something we’ve discussed. I’m not sure if it’s on occasion we have mental breakdowns here, or if communication is off. It is frustrating, because we’re too good and too talented to be on that level.”
Andre Carter On Sports Final
Two pass interference penalties did New England in, leading to a pair of Giants touchdowns in the final three minutes. Corner Kyle Arrington, whose third quarter end zone interception of Eli Manning set up the Patriots first touchdown, was flagged for pass interference on a Manning toss to Mario Manningham, a 35-yard penalty that gave New York the ball at the Patriots 40. Five plays later, Manning hit Manningham in the end zone, giving New York a then 17-13 lead with just over three minutes left.
But after Brady and Co. marched down to put New England ahead 20-17 with 1:36 left, the defense had another shot to come up big. All they needed was to stop the Giants one more time.
Five plays after the Patriots took the lead, the Giants were at the New England 21, well within range of a game-tying field goal. With 35-seconds left, Manning took a shot towards the end zone. Chung was out after injuring his ankle a few plays earlier, so Sergio Brown found himself in the coverage. While trying to get over to help defend Victor Cruz , the safety instead became tangled with the receiver, and the ref threw some more laundry onto the field.
With a first and goal at the one yard line, the Giants scored three plays later to clinch the win.
It was Brown’s only play of the game. After the game, he said he was surprised a flag was thrown on the play.
“I got my head back looking at the ball – tried to make a play on the ball and I guess we got tangled up. I was looking at the ball trying to make a play on it. Our feet got tangled up and they called the penalty on me,” he said.
Head coach Bill Belichick did not give much on the penalties, just saying “the last two calls were tough.”
“It’s very frustrating,” corner Devin McCourty said of the flag on Brown. “There’s nothing we can do about that now. We’ll watch the film and we’ll get it corrected and we’ll be ready to go next week.”
“It was unfortunate because we played our hearts out tonight and it didn’t go our way,” said Carter.
There were a lot of things the Patriots defense did well in the loss. Despite not registering a sack, they were aggressive in the pass-rush and hit Manning on eight different occasions. Carter’s pressure forced Manning to make a quick decision, and led to an Arrington interception in the end zone pick in the third quarter.
But with two fourth quarter leads slipping away, the defense heads back to practice trying to figure out what went wrong.
“We’re going to judge this game by the whole 60 minutes and tomorrow we’ll come in here and dissect the film and we’ll see just how much progress we made ,” said McCourty. “We just have to make plays at the end. We felt like we played well throughout the game and it comes down to just making plays – that’s our job we’ve got to make plays.”
“They just made more plays than we did,” Arrington said. “The offense put it in our hands and we just couldn’t make enough plays.”
And in the end, that is all that matters.
Tune in to the Patriots-Jets game Sunday night on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Pregame coverage begins with Patriots Gameday on WBZ-TV at 11:30am, with the Hub’s pregame beginning at 5:00pm. Tune in after the game for the Patriots Postgame Show, and Patriots Fifth Quarter on WBZ-TV.