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It seemed fitting to me that the football franchises representing the great American metropolitan areas that were targets of terrorism in the past, should meet just a few days after the latest in a string of attacks by religious extremist hit Paris. Such shattering real world events render all the regular pregame hype superficial and uncomfortable. That being said, there is still some “life goes on” comfort to be had in the playing of the game, as well as an inappropriate amount of joy that comes from winning.


Whatever else it may mean, the Patriots’ victory over a coach that seems to have them figured out certainly was a giant step towards a possible perfect season, as well as a a return trip to the Super Bowl. So let’s take a look at some of the key figures in what turned out to be a very entertaining game.





It doesn’t matter what clever tagline you use in your approach to discussing individual performances, it is clear that some people stepped up when it was needed and others not so much. Here’s how I feel about some of them…


TOM BRADY: (Good and Ugly) He obviously had essentially what can be considered a good game. He was 26/42, 2 TDs, and 1 INT, and that’s particularly impressive when you realize that 200 of those yards came in the 4th quarter alone. But the one official INT came at the two yard line and kept them from sealing the victory, and he should have had a second one on the game winning drive if rookie Landon Collins doesn’t overplay what should have been an easy opportunity. I’m not sure if Brady’s issues were a result of the injuries to the offensive line, losing Dion Lewis and Julian Edelman, the scheming of Coaches Coughlin and Spagnuolo, or all the above. I suppose that is open to interpretation, but whatever the case, he is still 9-0.


GRONK: (GOOD) He was targeted 7 times, caught 5, and rambled for 113 yards with 78 of them coming on one touchdown run.


MALCOLM BUTLER: (Good) Although he has yet to establish his own island, he has in general had a nice followup to his SB heroics. After the 87 yard touchdown pass and run to Odell Beckham in the 1st quarter, he pretty much shut him down the rest of the way holding him to just 17 yards on 3 catches. Of course his strip of Beckham in the end zone was definitely a game changer.


DEVIN McCOURTY: (Bad)  It is generally considered to have been one of his poorest performances of the season. His misplaying of the Beckham catch allowed what should have been a short gain into 6 points. Let’s face it, the psychological boost it gave to the Giants was even more important then the actual points.


ELI MANNING: (Good) The championship caliber Eli showed up going 24/44, 362 yards, 2 TDs, and no picks. It obviously remains to be seen if he can keep it up, but the NFC East is certainly up for grabs, and this could be a script we’ve seen before.


DANNY AMENDOLA: (Good) In addition to an 82 yard punt returned that led to a TD, he stepped in nicely for Edelman, going for 10 catches and 79 yards, with several big plays in the winning drive.


ODELL BECKHAM: (Bad)  See Above. He certainly did not live up to the hype.


STEPHEN GOSTKOWSKI: (Good) A 54-yard field goal with timing running out to win the game. Enough said.




The good news is that O linemen Sebastian Vollmer, Tre Jachson, and Marcus Cannon are all expected to be back for their Monday Night game against Buffalo. Assuming that Amendola can stay healthy, which may be a lot to assume, the Pats should roll past the Bills and head out to Denver, 10-0. Now if we could just find a cure for whatever is ailing Jamey Collins, we’d be all set.


Stay tuned…

About Jerry Ballgame

The personification of "old school", Jerry Ballgame was born in the shadow of Dr. Naismith's peach basket, and baptized in that "Dirty Water." Designated by his "Uncle" Ted, to keep an eye on things, he's here to tell everyone what his view is like from the Hub of the Universe.