This guy does a great job of breaking down the x's and o's. I'll post the first quarter. The rest is in the link.
Great game and I had some time so I re-watched the first half and had some fun. As always, I am not an expert, these things are just my opinions. Unfortunately, the NFL Network uses terrible camera angles and poor, or no, replays to help out with this stuff so lots of guess work comes into play.
14:22 2nd & 5 deep Play Action pass completion to Plax out of an Ace formation. Hobbs appears to get smoked here and I'm sure many have been hammering him but I'm not so sure it's all his fault. I suspect Rodney was just as much if not more to blame. (no good replays) From what I can see, the Pats are in a Cover 4 look pre-snap. Sanders appears to be either way out of position post snap or the Pats rolled him to the deep flat on the snap looking to play a deep out route (poor if so, the TE did not release). If they did that, then they were probably playing Cover 3 and Rodney should have been in the deep middle to help out on the throw to the hash but he wasn't. If Sanders screwed up, he should have been there. Rodeny can be seen trying to catch up to the play but he's way behind. I suspect that Rodney fell for the play fake and was out of position leaving Hobbs on his own to make an impossible play. If this is true, at least Hobbs was there. When it happened to Anthony Smith, the Steelers CB was nowhere to be found.
Since there has been so much talk about the officiating (as usual), I'll try to look at some of those issues when they come up.
13:30 1st &10: An Eli throw to Smith is ruled incomplete and upheld on the Giants challenge. Anyone who disputes this call is either being disingenous or they haven't watched much football. No question this was incomplete.
Things start getting chippy on the next play. A run is stuffed and Harrison finishes and a Giants O-Lineman doesn't like it. At the same time, another Giants O-Lineman finishes and Teddy Bruschi doesn't like it. It was obvious to me that the hype and build-up to this game generated some aggression on both sides that ended up being played out on the field. The Giants had to hear about how good the Pats were and how they were going to kill them. That's one hell of a motivator. After they got out there and smacked the Pats around at the start of the game, the Pats did what they always do, turned it up a notch. Emotions ran high all night.
I noticed that Wilfork (I saw him called Vince Pitchfork by someone-great nickname) still has his old teammate Shawn Taylor's number on his helmet along side M. Hill's number.
Giants first TD on a pass to Jacobs. I haven't seen much of the Giants this year but I liked what they did here. Teams will run the same pass plays using different personnel, formations and motions. On progession passes, the timing is set up so the 1st read is open first and the last read is open last. This looked like a progression pass where Jacobs was the last read (probably 3 or 4). Having that read come from the backfield may be a wrinkle the Giants like to use. The Giants had great protection here. In a Ref note, the Giants right tackle was holding here. It was a mild hold the type of which we see go uncalled every week and would see again in this game. It shouldn't be called IMO.
10:52 1st & 10. The Pats are limited in what they can do with Kaczur and Kyle Brady out of the game. A big part of their offense this year has been the three TE set using Ryan O'Callaghan as the third TE. He is at Right Tackle for this game so Wesley Britt is getting some use as the second TE for blocking purposes. (I guess Spach isn't the blocker Britt is so they traded Spachs receiving ability (if he has any) for Britt's blocking.
This was a nice Play Action Slant to Moss. This slant had no slide to control the second inside defender but the play-action took care of that. This pass is made later than the quick pass type Slant so Moss changed his footwork. He attacked the CB's outside shoulder for a few steps, gaining space inside and making his break when Brady was ready to throw. Nice look at yet another variation of the Pats' slant pattern. A nice touch here was motioning Watson to the inside to sell the run. That TE motion was a game plan key for San Diego last year. Maybe this play is intended to give SD something to think about (Moss is a little scarier than Reche aligned on the outside after all).
10:14 1st & 10: Another play action pass completion this time to Welker.
9:42 1st & 10 Pats run Maroney on an Inside Zone that goes no where. The Giants have Strahan in a 6I (inside shoulder of TE) on Britt at TE. Britt can't cut him off in that alignment.
9:00 2nd & 10: A quick screen pass dropped by Watson on a low throw. The blitz disrupted the throw. Welk shows his blocking ability and Antonio Pierce shows his range as he has Watson man to man and would have made a play coming from the middle if the ball was caught.
8:55 3rd & 10
The "Blue Print" Man 2 coverage. 2 deep safeties w/press corner coverage underneath w/pressure. Pats throw a nice screen to Faulk here to set up a makeable 4th down situation. It's a good philosophy to show screens early to blitz/pressure teams like the Giants. If you can hit a few early on, it will slow them down.
4th & 2. The Giants are in a version of Cover 2 with a bump & run corner on Moss and loose (possibly zone/bracket) coverage on Welker. Brady hits Moss on a hitch for the first down. The CB has nice coverage. He is jamming Moss but this contact is within five yards and is legal. Moss gets away with a push here IMO. A flag would have been justified there.
I've seen comments about this play where people thought that Brady should have been flagged for taunting as in "any other QB does that and it's a penalty but they let Brady get away with it." After the completion, Brady jumps up after taking a shot from Justin Tuck with the old Deion Branch/Troy Brown 1st Down routine. Afterwards he turns to Tuck, who is walking back to the hudlle and screams at him and wacks him in the butt. I don't see taunting there. I see a "nice hit" type of moment. Usually, playes don't pat each other on the helmet, slap someone on the ass or pads unless they are complimenting them. Anyone who has played or watched a lot of football can recognize what that exchange was all about (personally, I like the excitable Brady more than the robotic one we see most often).
7:38 1st & 10 2 Back Inside Zone. The Giants D Tackle does a great job of beating a Mankins/Koppen double team while Strahan again beats Britt from a 6I alignment. If Maroney had cut this back as soon as he saw the DT beat the front side double team, he may have had a chance to hit a seam but it's doubtful. It also appears that the Pats don't want him cutting this play all the way back either.
7:00 2nd & 10 Giants in a version of Man 2 with the CBs in man and the LBs in Zone. Pats keep Evans on the field which keeps the Giants base personnel on the field. Evans then splits out wide as the #1 in a trips set. He is just a decoy used to gain a personnel match-up elsewhere. The view and replay are poor but it does show a nice option route by the #3 (Watson). This move with Evans put Welker in space against LBs for a 1st down. Watson's option route (and Brady's pump fake) pulled the LB out of the middle and there was nice protection on this play. Light had a minor uncalled hold on this play just like the uncalled one the Giants had earlier. No problem with the non call.
6:19 1st & 10 Pats run an Inside Zone. An earlier Play-Action pass came off of this look. Another great job by the Giant's DT (#98) here splitting the Hock/O'C double team. The Mike backer played this well too. The Giants have their LB's playing very tight against this look. I would like to see Maroney cut this back but again, I don't think the Pats want him doing that.
On 2nd Down Watson dropped the pass after Brady made a great play to get the ball off. Watson has to make these catches if he wants the ball thrown his way more often.
5:30 3rd & 10 Giants in Man 2 again and drop a DT into low coverage. Collinsworth called this a zone blitz but there was no blitz, just a drop into coverage. The dropping DT could have been called for a hold on Welker as he wrapped him up on his drag route but it was a good non-call as it didn't effect the outcome of the play.
Pats kick the FG; nice game for the Ghost.
5:13 1st Quarter Giants ball 1st & 10: This is a nice look at a strong side power. The Giants run it from a pro left off-set strong (King) I formation. This power consists of the FB kicking out and the back-side guard pulling and leading through the hole. Wilfork & Bruschi blew this play up and Warren did a nice job playing the cut back.
4:40 2nd & 9 This was an Outside Zone with a pull (the way Indy likes to run it). AD did a nice job keeping the ball inside and Seau showed some of his old skills hitting the open window off the pull (this will cost him later). Seymore played this well too.
3:54 3rd & 11. There are a couple of ref type things here. If you stop the film you will see that the play clock says 0 before the ball is snapped. It's a difference of a fraction of a second. There must be a conspiracy because the refs didn't flag Eli with a delay penalty. Actually, the time is kept on the field and there is a slight delay, so no, there is no conspiracy (I know most football fans are aware of this but it seems to need mentioning for some reason).
The second thing on this play is Rodney's hit after the incompletion. Normally, I would think this should be a penalty but the same thing (almost exactly) happened last week to Dante Stallworth and no flag was thrown there and I saw it happen in a game yesterday as well so I guess it's not a penalty unless the reciever has left his feet or if it's after the whistle.
3:36 Pats Ball 1st & 10: This was a good throw away in the face of pressure. The QB never wants to take a sack on first down.
3:31 2nd & 10: Pats run a rare Toss (we saw some of this in preseason but not much since). Maroney had no chance. Giants were expecting a Pass and stunted two LBs and there was no one to pick up the trailing blitzer.
3rd & 14 Sack followed by a flag for illegal contact (conspiracy exihibit #1)
Webster maintained contact with Stallworth all the way to his break at twelve yards deep, seven yards beyond what is legal. This is a blatent penalty right in front of an official after which the Giants removed him from the game for a little coaching. Again, only an unabashed homer, troller, hater or football neophyte would find fault with this call. The Giants certainly didn't.
Collinsworth mention the upfield push the Giants were getting with their D-line. They really were doing a nice job not allowing Brady to step up in the pocket, one of his strengths. O'C did a nice job on Strahan on this play though.
1:49 1st & 10: Great screen out of bunch here. Moss and Watson had nice blocks here (Moss' rolling cut block is standard) and Welk was explosive as usual.
There are a couple of issues here. One is a last second hold that went unflagged by Moss (he reached out and hooked the DB's leg at the end of his block). This was behind the play at the time it happened and I'm not surprised it wasn't called (or even seen). The second issue is the uncalled horse collar tackle at the end of the play. I don't think a flag would have been warrented there. If the DB had used his body weight to pull Welk down a flag would be justified but it looked to me that the DB realized his position and changed his tactic in mid-stream. There was no chance at injury and a good non-call IMO.
1:19 1st & 10: This was a trap play well executed at the point of attack. Unfortunately for the Pats, it was wellexecuted on the edges by the Giants with their DEs sliding down to make the play. I think the Pats were trying to bring the DE's upfield on a pass rush (Light sells pass) but Strahan's 6I alignment gives him an easy read (Watson had no chance) as does Light's inside shuffle. Light wanted the DE to rush upfield so he could release to the next level but the DE played collapse techique instead. Nice job by the Giants DEs.
00:34 Hitch to Faulk who has a great nose for the first down marker. The CB was playing way off making this too easy for Brady and Faulk. This was the play I mentioned in another thread where Faulk asked out after the play and no mention of it was ever made. Moss was also injured on this play. I hope the fans in Foxborough never react to an opponents injury this way but it's possible. There are always a few idiots who cheer opponents (or their own player's) injuries but this sounded like the majority of the crowd. An injury to Moss is cheered because he is good? Booing him when he gets up because he is on the other team? There isn't even a rivalry between these teams. Pretty sad. Especially for fans of a team that's going to the play-offs again and are being treated to an outstanding effort.
On a side note: How many NE fans were booing (or cursing) BB when they first saw Moss down like that?
Regarding the play: IMO this was a blatent illegal contact penalty that went uncalled. Moss was running a post and tried to cut under the Safety to split the middle. The Safety stepped up and put a shoulder into Moss' chest. The ball was already thrown towards Faulk when the contact is made but still in the air (you can see it in the replay). I'm surprised a flag wasn't thrown (there was no helmet to helmet here though as some have suggested it, although a different re-play angle may have given us a better view). I would also like to know what Brady and Strahan were talking about during the lull in the action. If Harrison had done this to Plax without a flag, Giants (or the haters) fans would be screaming but the conspiracy theorists only see things that help the Pats.
00:05 1st & Goal: Nice Draw run by Maroney. Strahan beat Watson from the 6I again but Maroney made a nice move to pick up a couple of yards. The unblocked Safety made the play here. Giants were in man with a double team on Welk.
This was the end of the First Quarter. An entertaining quarter to be sure