New York Giants Punter Steve Weatherford Has the Game of His Life vs. Patriots

Erik FrenzSenior Writer INovember 8, 2011

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 19:  Punter Steve Weatherford #5 of the New York Giants punt against the St. Louis Rams at MetLife Stadium on September 19, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants won 28-16. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

The blame game has begun as it does after every loss for the New England Patriots, and as usual the perspective is one where people can't see the forest for the trees.

The offense didn't get it going until the fourth quarter, the defense had it going but couldn't make the key stop when they needed to in the fourth quarter.

One thing no one is talking about, though, is the special teams battle. The all-important battle of field position is one that was won consistently by the New York Giants on Sunday. 

The charge in that battle was commandeered by Steve Weatherford, the former New York Jets punter.

His average of 41 yards per punt paints him as an average NFL punter, but he was so much more than just average. He was deadly.

Five times in the first half, Weatherford pinned the Patriots inside their own 20 to start. An "average" NFL punter puts those out of the back of the end zone, but Weatherford was able to angle them out of bounds or get enough hang time on them and force a fair catch.

New England's starting field position in the first half on average was their own 11-yard line. The offense should be able to drive that far at least once in the first half, but it's no wonder New England couldn't put any points on the board—they were consistently starting in a huge hole.

Of course, as is the case with anything in football, there are two sides to the story. This also falls on New England's returner, Julian Edelman. Some of those punts could have trickled into the end zone and put the Patriots at the 20. Instead, Edelman fair caught them.

Just another case of poor fundamental football from this team.

It's one thing to want to make a play, but put it this way: Edelman's six fielded punts in the first half resulted in a total of 13 return yards. If you're putting your team in a bad position to start, perhaps "making the play" means simply taking a touchback. 

While some may say that Edelman is playing his way off the roster, give Weatherford all the credit in the world for pinning the Patriots deep time and time again.