Patriots edge Giants to keep quest for perfection alive

Sport360 staff 08:58 16/11/2015
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Star power: Rob Gronkowski (l).

The New England Patriots stretched their NFL season-opening win streak to nine games on Sunday as Stephen Gostkowski’s field goal with one second left lifted them to a 27-26 win over the New York Giants.

Superstar quarterback Tom Brady was almost intercepted by New York’s Landon Collins on the Patriots’ final drive, but the rookie safety dropped the ball when he landed awkwardly on his neck.

Brady piloted the Pats into Giants territory with four seconds remaining and Gostkowski sealed the win. It had looked like the Patriots’ arch nemesis would pull off another upset — just as they had when they halted the unbeaten Patriots’ march toward immortality with a Super Bowl win to cap the 2007 season.

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Four years later the Giants would beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl again. New York took a 26-24 lead on Josh Brown’s 29-yard field goal with less than two minutes to play.

Shortly before that, the Giants thought they had a touchdown when quarterback Eli Manning connected with wide receiver Odell Beckham jnr in front of cornerback Malcolm Butler in the end zone.

However, replay showed Butler batted the ball out of Beckham’s hands before the receiver’s second foot was on the ground and the call of a touchdown was overturned. Manning missed another throw to the end zone and they settled for the field goal — which proved too little to keep the Pats at bay.

New England are one of three remaining unbeaten teams, along with the Carolina Panthers and Cincinnati Bengals.

The Panthers improved to 9-0 with a 27-10 victory over the Tennessee Titans in Nashville, where Carolina quarterback Cam Newton completed his first 11 passes, eventually completing 21 of 26 for 217 yards and one touchdown despite being sacked five times.

“We’ve had game after game where the stakes were high and they’re going to get higher each and every week,” said Newton, who also ran for a touchdown.

“We knew we had to start fast as an offense.” The Bengals, already off to the best start in franchise history, will try to improve to 9-0 on Monday, when they host the Houston Texans.

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