INDIANAPOLIS - Brian Waters said the safety that came on the Patriots first offensive play of Super Bowl XLVI "didn't make a difference one way or another."Too much time left in the game to look at that play as a reason the Patriots didn't win. But when you look at the fallout from that play, you realize just how badly thetwo pointsthe Giants got when Tom Brady threw the ball to nobody with Justin Tuck bearing down on him in the end zone really hurt. The Patriots had just survived the first Giants' drive, an 11-play excursion that got down to the Patriots 33 before three straight negative plays forced a punt. After the safety, a Patriots defense no doubt a little short of breath from the drive and playing with so much adrenaline, had to come back on the field. And the Giants reeled off a nine-play, 78-yard touchdown drive against the Patriots as a result. It was New York's only touchdown of the night until the Patriots allowed Ahmad Bradshaw to score in the final minute so they could get the ball back. And, while the Giants were driving on their last possession, you couldn't help but look at the 17-15 score and realize how much harder it would have been for Eli Manning if he needed a touchdown to win instead of just a field goal. Deion Branch said the Patriots had three receivers out on the pattern. Rob Gronkowski was open short. Wes Welker ran a crossing pattern. Branch ran a deep in-cut. Brady threw it in the direction of Branch but his aim was to get rid of the ball, not complete a pass. And that's why the flag flew. New England didn't cry about the call but they seemed to disagree. "It's not my call," said Belichick when asked about the play. "It's a referee's judgment call," said Brady. "I was looking down the middle of the field and (Justin) Tuck was looking to come get me and I tried to get rid of it. The referee made the call."It was a huge play in the game regardless of the time. And even though Brady came back to complete20 of his next 22 passes after the grounding,the two points he gave away at the beginning haunted the Patriots all night.
FOXBORO -- The Patriots took different approaches as the National Anthem played on Sunday at Gillette Stadium. Many, including safety and captain Devin McCourty, took a knee. Others stood and linked arms.
On the opposite sideline, it appeared as though every member of the Texans stood on the sidelines and linked arms.
Those joining McCourty on a knee included Stephon Gilmore, Malcolm Butler, Lawrence Guy, Johnson Bademosi, Alan Branch, Brandon King, Malcom Brown and rookies Deatrich Wise and Adam Butler.
Among those linking arms were Tom Brady, Phillip Dorsett, Cassius Marsh, Matthew Slater, David Harris and Dwayne Allen.