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'Kudos & Wet Willies,' Patriots are Perfect Edition

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The New York Giants came close, but they couldn't quite do enough to stop the New England Patriots from finishing off their perfect 16-0 regular season.

I will have more thoughts later on the Giants' 38-35 loss to New England Saturday -- probably after I've had a chance to sleep on it -- but here is a very quickly put together list of 'Kudos & Wet Willies' for you.

Kudos to ...

The New England Patriots: Going 16-0 and recording the first unbeaten regular season since the 1972 Miami Dolphins is truly historic. The Giants made them earn it, opening a 28-16 lead, but the Patriots showed why they are a great team. They are an easy team to hate, but you still have to tip your cap to them for a great achievement.

Domenic Hixon: Returning kickoffs for the first time as a Giant Hixon had a 74-yard return for a touchdown. He also had a couple of other nice returns and ended up with 221 yards on 8 runbacks. I suspect we will see him back there along with Ahmad Bradshaw next week against Tampa Bay.

Eli Manning: Played one of his best games as a Giant. His numbers (22-of-32, 251 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT) were excellent. I was impressed by his decision-making, a couple of the throws he made on the move and his presence. He played like a big-time quarterback which, hopefully, will carry over to next week.

Plaxico Burress: What more can be said about Burress? Four catches, 84 yards, 2 touchdowns. The man has had an amazing season playing on one healthy leg, and that continued last night.

Kevin Boss: Showed the hands and play-making ability the Giants have been excited about since the pre-season, with four catches for 50 yards. The Giants now know they do have somebody they can throw the ball to in the middle of the field with Jeremy Shockey gone.

Gerris Wilkinson: After watching this guy last night I have to ask -- why haven't the Giants gotten him on the field more? Replacing the injured Kawika Mitchell, Wilkinson made 9 tackles and even managed to show enough speed to hold his own covering Randy Moss downfield. He did have one penalty in pass coverage, but I am not going to kill him for that since he was trying to cover Moss.

Aaron Ross: The rookie cornerback is going to be a fixture on the Giants' defense for years to come. He was solid last night with 6 tackles, including several excellent ones in open-field situations.

Reggie Torbor: Nine tackles and a sack for Torbor. He is only playing because of the season-ending injury to Mathias Kiwanuka, and he has filled in pretty capably. Torbor has failed in other opportunities with the Giants, but not this time. He has played well, and was a force last night.

Wet Willies to ...

James Butler: What on earth was Butler doing on the 65-yard touchdown from Tom Brady to Moss that put the Patriots ahead in the fourth quarter? Geez, he had over the top responsibility in a Cover 2 and didn't get anywhere close to Moss. The Giants desperately need to upgrade at that spot. Butler simply doesn't make enough plays.

NFL Network: This was my first experience with the NFL Network, and I was incredibly annoyed by watching commercial after commercial campaigning for cable companies to carry the channel. Oh, and there were also several comments about it during the broadcast. Just do the game, dammit, and stop hitting us with all your political self-promotion.

The officials: They are not to be faulted in any way for the Giants' loss. That said, it seemed like they didn't have a clue much of the second half. I'm not going to bother recounting all the questionable calls, but let's just say it was not this crew's best night.