by Scott Benson, Patriots Daily Staff
September 4, 2009
For a game that started as badly as this one did (by halftime the Giants had outgained the Patriots 325 to 83), there ended up being no shortage of New England candidates for this week’s PD Game Ball.
Rookie quarterback Brian Hoyer began the game in reverse (that may have had something to do with Messrs Tuck, Colfield, Robbins and Umenyiora, who got to run against jayvees) but rallied the Pats for five scores and the win, looking as comfortable at the controls as any New England quarterback not named Brady. Our man Sam Aiken rolled up 90 yards receiving and showed the run-after-the-catch ability that has us convinced he’s more than just a special teams leader. Former UMaine standout Brandon McGowan turned the whole thing around with a prescient read and pick of a telegraphed second-quarter Andre Woodson pass, which he returned for a 27 yard score.
But only one Patriot can have the cherished PD Game Ball, and that’s second-year RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who probably clinched a spot on the team with his performance.
The fan favorite’s number was called on all but seven of New England’s 36 rushes from scrimmage (Hoyer had six; Chris Taylor was the only other Pat running back to touch the ball), and after a slow start against the Giant frontliners, he came to dominate the proceedings. GE, New England’s leading pre-season rusher, finished with 125 yards and three scores, capped off by a 32-yard sprint that finished off New York with 2:39 left.
Once again it was his squared-up, lean-forward style that persevered. One thing that seems certain at this point; Green-Ellis will squeeze every available inch from his carries. His production last night (twice he pounded in for a touchdown on a goal-line play) attests to that. Further, GE added a new wrinkle by working himself free as a safety valve for Hoyer – he doubled his pre-season receiving total with four catches for another 22 yards. His performance in protection was at the least dependably competent – all in all it was the kind of versatility that is required of a New England back.
Was it enough to put him on the Patriots’ final roster, which will be finalized tomorrow? How could it not? Hasn’t Green-Ellis proven himself to be a dependable alternative in the event the 33 year old Fred Taylor and the oft-injured Sammy Morris and Laurence Maroney break down along the way?
No matter what happens, though – this ball’s for you, GE.
E-Mail Scott Benson at [email protected]