So that nearly the entire country would have the opportunity to watch the New England Patriots make history by having a 16-0 season, the NFL Network-televised game against the New York Giants was also broadcast on NBC and CBS. I elected to watch the game on my local CBS station.
Giants running back Brandon Jacobs made the first touchdown of the evening, five minutes into the first quarter. The Patriots ended their first possession with a field goal. In the top of the second quarter, Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss made a TD, did a little dance, slammed the ball down onto the turf, and got a penalty for excessive celebration. The Giants answered that TD with a 74-yard kickoff-return TD by wide receiver Domenik Hixon. New York 14. New England 10. Seconds before halftime, Giants tight end Kevin Boss made a TD. Giants 21. Patriots 16. New England has been behind six times this season and they’ve always managed to win. I wonder if it’ll happen tonight. Probably?
Nearly halfway into the third quarter, Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress caught a pass for a TD. The Patriots weren’t going to accept that kind of skill; their running back Laurence Maroney put six more points onto the board close to the bottom of the third quarter. With the one-point conversion, the Patriots were up to 23 points, still five points under the Giants’ 28. At the top of the fourth quarter, Randy Moss caught a 65-yard pass for a TD. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady raised his right arm and made a peace sign with his fingers: New England would go for a two-point conversion. And it worked. Patriots 31. Giants 28. Towards the bottom of the fourth quarter, Laurence Maroney made another TD. With one minute left on the clock, Plaxico Burress made a TD. So close and still yet so far. Final score: Patriots 38. Giants 35. New England made their history.
Observations & Miscellania:
1. Idina Menzel sang the National Anthem. The audio was a little odd–sounded like someone just stuck a microphone to a speaker (echo and all).
2. I’m still not keen on the NFL Network score bar (middle top of the screen), but the field graphics (down and yardage) is exceptionally crisp. It reminds me of a hot dog and a Slim Jim. I’ve expressed the same thing before.
3. Commentator Cris Collinsworth uttered during second quarter (regarding a particular play where the Patriots were on defense) the following words: “the penetration on the front side is forcing those on the back side to go in a little deeper.” Easily misinterpreted.
4. In the very bottom of the second quarter, Patriots linebacker Junior Seau and Giants Brandon Jacobs got into a little scuffle. Shortly thereafter, Patriots defensive lineman Vince Willfork stuck his right index finger into Jacobs’s face mask. The referee charged Seau with a penalty.
5. After returning to the game from commercial break at the top of the fourth quarter, the camera went to a medium shot of Patriots guard Logan Mankins, offensive lineman Matt Light, and center Dan Koppen sitting on the bench. They all reminded me of filmic representations of vikings–as in the Nordics not Minnesota’s team.
6. Patriots cornerback Ellis Hobbs intercepted one of Eli Manning’s passes meant for Plaxico Burress nearing the middle of the fourth quarter. After this moment, the Giants lost their umph. Laurence Maroney made a TD at the end of that possession run.
7. In addition to the magic that happens between Tom Brady and his offensive teammates that enables them to score, they also have this effect on their opponents. If the other team is playing pretty well (even leading in points), as soon as their spirits are dampened by an interception, an avoidable fumble or incomplete pass, or significant and ostensibly debatable penalties, the roll they were on suddenly slows to a crawl.
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