The Patriots’ offense broke records left and right throughout the 2007 regular season. Tom Brady broke Peyton’s record, the offense was scoring 50 points a game at times, Randy Moss broke also record, and it looked like nothing would stop them.
What was the key word in that paragraph? Offense. The Patriots’ offense was a great one this season, but the problem win the end was that they didn’t have the complete puzzle. They didn’t have the defense in the end. The Patriots had season-worsts in Points scored (14), yards per play (4.0), and sacks (5.0).
Both the Giants and Patriots sent their defenses out for game-winning stops in the final minutes of Super Bowl XLII, but there was only one defense that came up with the stop, and the Giants’ defense wanted it more.
Giants Defensive End Michael Strahan on Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo:
“He’s been incredible. We were 0-2, losing by 14, and he comes into the locker room and says ‘I would just like you to know that if I had to go to battle, I would not change a person in here. All you need to do is believe in the system and it will work.’ And we believed. We’re Super Bowl Champs because of him. He’s made the most incredible adjustments second and third times that we’ve played teams that we shut down the best offenses in the league and make them very mediocre.”
The game was a low-scoring game in all, compared to what people expected it to be. Just take a second to look at the stats:
Brady and the Patriots offense ran out onto the field following a Giants score to make the score 17-14. What did they do? They had a total of -10 yards. It’s not like the Giants already had the game won when that drive started. The Patriots had 3 time outs and over a half minute left to play. Also, since they weren’t pinned inside their 15 yard line or deeper, they had reasonable field position, starting at their own 26.
The Patriots’ defense, on the other hand, allowed a 12-play, 83-yard drive that ate over 2 minutes on the clock, resulting in a Giants’ touchdown.
Like I said, it all comes down to whatever defense wants it more and when it counts the most. Wow, I can still remember reading headlines saying “DISGUSTING!” when the Giants gave up 80 points in their first two games this year. The defensive turnaround has been talked about plenty of times before, and it will be talked about for years to come. As for Spagnuolo, I hope he stays, but if not, he was a great spark to this 2007 squad that will be remembered forever.