In what was a better game than any of the 4 instant classics that the Pats and Giants have given us since 2007, New England outlasted its kryptonite team on a game winning 54 yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski with 1 second to go.
It was clearly the game of the 2015 NFL season, and it meant way more to both sides than it should have. It wasn’t just an AFC-NFC game in November. The game felt personal to all the fans, the teams, and especially Malcolm Butler and Odell Beckham Jr.
How important this game meant to you isn’t even dependent on how much you care about the Patriots going undefeated. I only care a little bit about 19-0, but this game meant everything to me. It’s time for us Patriots fans to admit that superiority above all else, which isn’t the same as just winning the Super Bowl. Because of that, beating the Giants and not having a team that is truly kryptonite for the Patriots is way more important than it should be. Brady and co. avoided that today.
Any discussions over who played better are futile. The Giants played closer to their A+ game than the Pats did, of course, because they’re a worse team and lost on a 54 yarder at the end of the game. Eli Manning was probably the best player on the field, and it sucks to admit that he knows how to play and beat the Pats. But dammit it’s true.
The Pats should feel lucky that they escaped that one, especially when Brady throws 2 easily catchable passes to the Giants defense in the latter half of the 4th quarter. That can’t happen, and Brady doesn’t deserve a narrative of being clutch in this game. That also hurts to admit because he led them down the field with a little over a minute to go, but the Pats shouldn’t have been in that position.
Even though the Pats should feel lucky, it should also give the team a ton of confidence. They went into the house of the opponent who plays them the best and escaped with a win without playing their A game in clutch situations. If they can win that type of game, then the only team that can beat the Patriots is themselves.
I don’t care how much of a cliched narrative it sounds like, but this type of win does wonders for a team’s confidence and swagger going forward. These are the kinds of games you win if you’re on your way to Santa Clara.
On to Buffalo.