NASTIEST CAUSE FOR DÉJÀ VU
On the Giants third drive, they opened with a throw deep down the left sideline to Louis Murphy. It was identical to the throw in the Super Bowl that Eli Manning completed to Mario Manningham. This time, the throw wasn’t as pretty – a dying quail Murphy had to come back for – and the stakes were much lower. The gain was 37 yards. The Super Bowl throw was 38.
MOST GRATEFUL FOR SECOND (AND THIRD) CHANCES
Ryan Mallett got bailed out in the second quarter after throwing an interception for touchback in the end zone. The pass was intended for Aaron Dobson, a 6-3 receiver who can go up and get jump-balls, but Mallet didn't take advantage. Dobson didn't help his QB much either and Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara snagged the ball. Luckily for New England, the pass was ruled incomplete and Mallett got another try. Take 2 on third-and-4: Incomplete. But Mallett got a THIRD chance when New York's Corey Webster was flagged for defensive pass interference. First-and-1 was apparently more manageable as the Patriots finally scored on a George Winn run.
SWEETEST STUTTER STEP
Josh Boyce – who has 40 speed in the low 4s – slowed and accelerated twice in a route against Giants corner Terrell Thomas, leaving Thomas stumbling the second time and opening himself up for a 40-yard touchdown reception from Mallett in the second quarter.
SMARTEST WAY TO GET PEOPLE TO LEARN YOUR NAME
Do something. How much brain space did you save for rookies Michael Buchanan and Steve Beauharnais prior to Thursday night? Don't lie. It's zero. But the pair made the most of their final preseason opportunity with some heads-up defensive work in the second quarter. Buchanan, a defensive end, got loose at the line (for the second time tonight) and got after New York's quarterback. He got the strip sack, which Beauharnais recovered to give the Patriots possession.
EASIEST WAY TO FRUSTRATE THE DEFENSE (YOUR OWN DEFENSE)
That would be committing an offensive turnover after your 'D' just handed you the ball they won on a forced turnover. The offender was Dobson. Mallett's pass, just over the line, wasn't the cleanest, but Dobson didn't put up a strong enough fight for the catch. Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich came up with the ball and New York kept hold to end the half.
UGLIEST TEBOW STAT (THIRD QUARTER)
Patriots quarterback Tim Tebow was sacked four times on his first two drives Thursday night. To really put this number in perspective, consider the fact that, in the last preseason games, Tebow's been sacked more times than he's completed passes (three). Not. Good.
WEAKEST EFFORT TO SECURE A ROSTER SPOT
Leon Washington, we hardly knew ye. The return specialist made a poor decision on a third quarter punt by Steve Weatherford. Washington, a veteran, should have known well enough to leave the ball alone as it hit New England's 38-yard line and rocketed upward. But the 31-year old tried to corral the punt on the top of the bounce and fumbled it away. Silly mistake.
STRANGEST REACTION TO A TOUCHDOWN IN THE FOURTH PRESEASON GAME
Tebow threw a 52-yard third-and-10 touchdown pass to Quentin Sims in the fourth quarter. But what happened next was even weirder: Ryan Mallett, Tom Brady, and other Patriots ran down the sideline toward the end zone as though Tebow had orchestrated a game-winning drive in a playoff game. It was like watching "Rudy."