Last Sunday's game between the Patriots and Giants provided plenty of emotions for Patriots fans. From confidence, to happiness, to shock, to confusion, to frustration, and then jubilation, that game had it all.
It was a roller-coaster ride from the first snap to literally the last.
And just as crazy as it was, it was actually quite meaningful from the Patriots’ perspective.
They learned a lot about themselves in that win. They learned how much Julian Edelman means to the offense – and that they could still pull off a game-winning drive without him.
They learned that all the injuries to the offensive line might finally be catching up to them – with the current loss of Sebastian Vollmer really hurting – but they still kept a surging Giants defensive line away from Brady on the final drive when the whole world knew he was throwing on each down.
They saw how Malcolm Butler responded to getting torched by Odell Beckham Jr. on the Giants’ first drive of the game. Beckham had just three receptions for 14 yards after that. And Butler’s pass breakup in the end zone late in the fourth quarter allowed the Pats a chance to win with a field goal.
And though the Patriots already had all the confidence in the world in Stephen Gostkowski, watching him nail a 54-yard field goal on the road proved that he does in fact have ice in his veins.
In a season that’s had its fair share of blowouts, the Patriots proved that when the going gets tough, they get going.
“I think we learn something from every game we play regardless of what the fourth-quarter situation is relative to the final score,” Bill Belichick said. “There are a lot of situations that take place in the game and even in a couple of the games that the score hasn’t been as tight at the end, there are still a lot of great teaching situations and situational football that comes up.”
The Patriots and Bills will face off for the second time this season on Monday [8:30 p.m., ESPN]. The Patriots beat them 40-32 in their first meeting, but the Bills made things interesting with 19 straight points in the fourth quarter.
“You learn something from every game and whatever your opportunities are, I think you try to take advantage of it and learn from it regardless of what the score is,” Belichick said. “Whether it’s in your favor or not in your favor, or whether it’s close or not close, once the game is finished you’ve just got to learn from it and take advantage of those teaching situations and make sure that everybody understands them and if it comes up again do it better. Even if it turned out well just understand the situation and do it better. We’re always looking to improve our overall football awareness and execution and situational football at critical points in the game.”