The New England Patriots put more separation between themselves and the rest of the NFL with a 35-14 Thursday night win over the New York Giants.
The NFL's No. 1 defense was dominant once again, holding the shorthanded Giants offense to just 213 total yards with four turnovers at Gillette Stadium. Daniel Jones couldn't do much with Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard all inactive for the Giants (2-4).
Tom Brady shockingly rushed for two touchdowns in an up-and-down day leading the Patriots offense. It was enough to improve to 6-0 on the season, moving two wins clear of everyone else in the NFL.
Notable Fantasy Stats
- Tom Brady, QB, Patriots: 31-of-41, 334 passing yards, 1 INT, 5 carries, 6 rushing yards, 2 rushing TDs
- Sony Michel, RB, Patriots: 22 carries, 86 rushing yards, 2 catches, 27 receiving yards
- James White, RB, Patriots: 9 catches, 46 receiving yards
- Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots: 9 catches, 113 receiving yards
- Daniel Jones, QB, Giants: 15-of-31, 161 passing yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs
- Jonathan Hilliman, RB, Giants: 11 carries, 38 rushing yards
- Golden Tate, WR, Giants: 6 catches, 102 receiving yards, 1 TD
Defense and Special Teams Again Lead Patriots
For a team that has one of the best quarterbacks of all time, the Patriots defense has been the bigger story this season.
Entering the day allowing just 6.8 points per game with 12 takeaways in five games, the defense was on point once again with several game-changing turnovers:
Daniel Jones struggled with his accuracy, but the defense was there to capitalize every time.
The special teams also took advantage of mistakes, especially with a touchdown off a "blocked" punt:
These types of plays took the pressure off the offense, which was needed with Tom Brady not looking like himself early:
The Patriots offense also gave up a touchdown off a strip-sack, which helped keep the game close.
Brady and the offense eventually did enough to pull out the win, but it was the defense that carried the Patriots to victory Thursday.
Turnovers Kill Giants Dreams of Upset
It was an uphill battle trying to move the football against an elite defense without his best weapons, but Jones hurt his own cause with three interceptions.
A fumble by Jonathan Hilliman in the fourth quarter that was returned for a touchdown then helped seal the Giants' fate.
This ruined an impressive night from the Giant defense, which made Brady uncomfortable all night and had several key stops on its own end.
The unit also followed up a big touchdown from Golden Tate with a Markus Golden return for a touchdown:
.@Daniel_Jones10 throws a dime to Golden Tate for the 64-yard TD! The first TD pass allowed by the Pats defense this season. @ShowtimeTate 📺: #NYGvsNE on @NFLNetwork | @NFLonFOX | @PrimeVideo Watch free on mobile: https://t.co/hkBLLYwJ9J How to watch: https://t.co/I6INVckndX https://t.co/xbgXAwWYKK
While this raised the Giants' hopes Thursday night, it's nearly impossible to win on the road when you commit four turnovers. If New York wants to find more success in the future, it will need to cut down on the mistakes.
Still, the defense, in particular, can hold its head up high after a strong performance against the defending champions.
The Patriots have a long gap until their next game on Monday, Oct. 22 against the 0-4 New York Jets. The 11-day break nearly gives the squad a second bye week.
The Giants will return home for a winnable game against the 1-3-1 Arizona Cardinals.