EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New England Patriots and New York Giants are following a familiar script in playing an entertaining, highly competitive game -- with the Giants leading 17-10 at the half -- and the injury concerns are growing for Bill Belichick's team.
On the final play of the first quarter, Patriots top receiver Julian Edelman limped to the sideline after a 12-yard catch-and-run and then walked to the locker room with the medical staff for further evaluation. At the start of the third quarter, Edelman was ruled out for the game.
On the sideline immediately after the play, Edelman took off his left football cleat, and members of the medical and athletic training staff were looking at his left foot. Then he tied up his cleat before walking under his own power to the locker room.
The injury was one of the most significant developments for the Patriots in the first 30 minutes Sunday against the Giants, as the game opened with a bang -- both teams scoring on their opening possessions. The Patriots had a long, sustained drive in which quarterback Tom Brady's excellence on third down was critical (Brady to tight end Scott Chandler for a 1-yard TD pass capped it off), while the Giants hit a big play with receiver Odell Beckham Jr.'s 87-yard catch-and-run with cornerback Malcolm Butler in coverage and safety Devin McCourty taking a poor angle.
That was the longest offensive play (passing or rushing) allowed by the Patriots in the Belichick era (2000-present).
At that point, MetLife Stadium was jumping, as this has been a great atmosphere for football. There's something about the Patriots and Giants getting together that produces that type of dynamic.
One thing Giants quarterback Eli Manning is doing well is testing the Patriots' cornerbacks in the deep part of the field, giving his receivers a chance to make 50-50 type plays on the ball. The Giants have won three of those situations to produce big plays, while the Patriots have had their moments on a few as well. There's been some good jawing between Beckham and Butler.
The Giants get the ball to open the second half.