Patriots Postgame Live

Curran: Patriots ‘turtled' by not going for late TD vs. Giants

Rookie kicker Chad Ryland missed what would have been the game-tying field goal.

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Another week, another new low for the 2023 New England Patriots.

The Pats fell to 2-9 on the season after an abysmal loss to the New York Giants on Sunday. They had a chance to tie or win the game late in the fourth quarter, but their day once again ended in disastrous fashion.

Bailey Zappe replaced Mac Jones at quarterback for the second half and tied the game at 7-7 with a third-quarter touchdown drive. The Giants went up three with a field goal in the fourth quarter, but Zappe led the Patriots down the field in the final minute and put them in a position to steal a victory.

New England worked its way to the Giants' 20-yard line with 37 seconds remaining. But rather than giving Zappe a chance to win the game with a touchdown, head coach Bill Belichick played the conservative route: After a Tyquan Thornton end-around gained just three yards, the Patriots ran the clock down to six seconds, then had rookie kicker Chad Ryland attempt a 35-yard field goal with six seconds remaining. That decision backfired, as Ryland missed the kick to seal the 10-7 defeat.

Our Tom E. Curran was critical of Belichick's decision on Patriots Postgame Live.

"You're a 2-8 team with nothing to lose," Curran said. "You are, by some dent of good fortune, in a position to actually win the thing. So if Bailey Zappe throws a pick in the end zone, Bailey Zappe throws a pick in the end zone. He still probably has a better game than Mac. Instead, they turtle. They fold in on themselves. And then they give it to the kicker, the fourth-round kicker, who hooks it.

"This is beyond polluted. These are not in a vacuum mistakes that each individual is making. This is dysfunction permeating the team and impacting each other."

Jones' woes continued as he completed 12 of his 21 passes for just 89 yards and tossed two interceptions before being benched. Zappe added a pick of his own, but the offense looked more functional with him under center than it did at any point in the first half.

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"You certainly did see a bump -- from the insertion of Bailey Zappe -- to the energy, which a lot of us hoped and expected would happen to the team," Curran added. "But eventually, you're going to revert to what you are. Water seeks its own level, and Bailey Zappe's level is a sub-par quarterback. Not that Mac is above par, but he's a sub-par quarterback. So you eventually fizzle out and we're sitting here at 2-9."

On the bright side, the Patriots' latest loss keeps them firmly in the mix for a top-three pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. They currently have the second overall pick behind the 1-10 Carolina Panthers, whose selection will go to the Chicago Bears.

The quarterback situation will again be the top storyline as the team prepares for a Week 13 matchup vs. the Los Angeles Chargers next Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

You can watch the full "Postgame Live" segment below:

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