Thursday night’s football game between the undefeated New England Patriots and lackluster New York Giants had all the hallmarks of a lopsided affair.
For a while, that didn’t happen. New York rattled Tom Brady throughout the game as the six-time Super Bowl champ continued with recent struggles.
Unfortunately, the Giants also turned the ball over four times. That simply can’t happen when playing the Patriots in New England.
When all was said and done, the Pats came out on top by the score of 35-14 in yet another dominant defensive performance.
Here are the biggest winners and losers from “Thursday Night Football” in Week 6.
Winner: Golden Tate
The Giants really needed this high-priced free agent signing to step up with a ton of Giants skill-position players missing Thursday night’s game. That’s exactly what Tate did early and often. He put up three catches for 79 yards in the first half, including this beautiful 64-yard score from Daniel Jones.
Tate finished the evening recording six catches for 102 yards on nine targets. Once the likes of Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard return from injury, Tate’s presence should act as a boon for Daniel Jones moving forward.
Loser: Sony Michel
Coming off the best performance of his sophomore season in last week’s win over the Redskins, Michel was hoping for the same type of consistency we saw from him as a rookie in 2018. It did not come to fruition against a lackluster Giants defense on Thursday. Michel put up just 18 yards on 11 attempts in the first half, failing to provide a struggling Tom Brady with balance on offense.
Michel finished the evening averaging less than three yards per rush before a 26-yard run in garbage time. Simply put, he must show more consistency to have the confidence of Bill Belichick. It’s also important for the youngster to help provide balance on offense with Tom Brady not at his best.
Winner: Kyle Van Noy
It’s pretty awesome to see how Van Noy has turned his career around in New England after being considered a second-round bust with the Detroit Lions. He entered Week 6 having put up five quarterback hits, 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Van Noy continued that tremendous production with two quarterback hits and a sack of Daniel Jones.
More than that, Van Noy made his presence known in putting the game away with a fumble return for a touchdown in the final quarter.
The Pats continue to find these types of castoffs and help them resurrect their careers. Van Noy acted as a difference-maker once again in helping New England move to 6-0 Thursday night.
Loser: Daniel Jones
It’s in no way a surprise that this rookie struggled in New England. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is undefeated at home against rookie quarterbacks in his career. The Patriots entered Week 6 having yielded zero passing touchdowns compared to 11 interceptions on the season. Like clockwork, Jones struggled early and often.
The Duke product threw two first-half interceptions and was picked off a third time early in the third quarter with his Giants driving for a potential game-tying touchdown.
All said, Jones completed 15-of-31 passes for 161 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. In a game that saw the Giants’ defense step up big time, Jones couldn’t do enough on offense to pull off the upset.
Winner: Chase Winovich
All he does is make plays. We focused on Winovich as one of the NFL’s best rookies heading into Week 6. For good reason. Despite playing limited snaps over the first five weeks, the former Michigan standout recorded four sacks. On Thursday, the third-round pick made his presence known returning a blocked punt for his first NFL touchdown.
This is the hallmark of New England’s current dynasty. The team finds gems in the mid rounds. When Winovich is not contributing on defense (two tackles Thursday), he’s finding a way to make noise on special teams. Opening the scoring against New York was a big deal for a Patriots team that struggled out of the gate.
Loser: Tom Brady
It might not be time to sound the alarm, but Mr. Brady has not been the same quarterback over the past three weeks. He threw red-zone interceptions in each of the past two games. It didn’t go much better Thursday against a Giants defense that yielded a 106-plus quarterback rating over the first five games.
Brady threw a horrible first-half interception into the hands of Janoris Jenkins. He later lost a fumble that was ultimately returned for a touchdown towards the end of the second quarter. Brady might have padded his stats during garbage time in the fourth quarter. But make no mistake about it, he’s struggling big time right now.
Winner: Lorenzo Carter
A third-round pick of the Giants last year, Carter is finally getting an opportunity to prove that his elite-level athleticism will translate to the NFL. Despite being questionable heading into Thursday’s game with a neck injury, the George product played and played extremely well.
Carter was consistently in the backfield, haunting Tom Brady throughout the evening. This included the forced fumble that resulted in six for the Giants’ defense. He also made a huge tackle on third down in the fourth quarter to take New England out of field goal range. The young Giants defense might have something special in this kid.
Loser: Patriots offensive line
As has been the case most of the season, New England’s Week 6 opponent was not a barometer of things to come moving forward. The Giants entered Thursday’s game with the ninth-worst scoring defense in the NFL and unable to really put consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. That changed against an immobile Tom Brady.
New England’s offensive line allowed Brady to be hit six times and sacked another three times. It led to him fumbling twice, including one that was returned for a touchdown. This Patriots offensive will need to do better as competition improves moving forward on the season.