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Giants Top Patriots Again 21-17 in Thrilling Super Bowl XLVI

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Eli Manning earned MVP honors as the Giants pulled off another comeback win.

Giants Top Patriots Again 21-17 in Thrilling Super Bowl XLVI

In this article…

Super Bowl XLVI wasn't necessarily the most exciting Super Bowl in history.  The game wasn't filled with too many thrilling plays.  Both teams combined for just 38 points over 60 minutes.  There was only one turnover, and the game moved along at a lightning-quick pace because of the running game and a lack of incomplete passes by both quarterbacks.

But Super Bowl XLVI made up for its lack of "razzle dazzle" with stellar overall play and a terrific finish.  Eli Manning went 30-40 for 296 yards, one touchdown, and another game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter to propel the Giants to a 21-17 victory.  Tom Brady went 27-41 for 276 yards with two scores and an interception in the loss,

When you look at the players who keyed the Giants' victory , you can begin to understand the type of adversity this team has had to face all season long.

  • Justin Tuck (two sacks, three tackles,) was plagued with injury issues all season and was largely ineffective until this playoff run.
  • Victor Cruz (scored 1st quarter touchdown) was basically an undrafted rookie playing because of another preseason injury to presumed slot receiver Domenik Hixon.
  • Mario Manningham (the pivotal 38-yard catch on the game-winning drive) has dealt with injuries and dropped passes throughout the course of the season.
  • Chase Blackburn (intercepted Tom Brady to start the 4th quarter) wasn't picked up by the Giants until midway through the season because of so many injuries to the linebacking corps.
  • Ahmad Bradshaw (game-winning touchdown) broke a bone in his foot for the second straight year and was playing injured since then.

And finally Eli Manning, named the Super Bowl MVP for the second time in his career, has dealt with the question of being "elite" all season long.  He certainly answered any of his critics with his performance last night.  Manning was never rattled.  He made maybe three or four poor throws all game.  He controlled the offense with his usual precision, not forcing the ball downfield and not making mistakes his doubters all seem to expect from him.

The Patriots could have, and maybe should have, won the game.  Tom Brady was simply fantastic during a stretch where it looked like New England was going to take control of the game.  He ended the 1st half with a 96-yard touchdown drive to put New England up 10-9.  Then Brady led an effortless touchdown drive to start the second half and the lead was now 17-9.

But the Patriots couldn't get anything more going offensively from that point on.  The Giants scored the final 12 points of the game and benefited from some huge New England mistakes all game, mistakes the Patriots usually don't make.  A 12 men on the field penalty nullified what would have been a Victor Cruz fumble and led to New York's first touchdown.  Brady underthrew Rob Gronkowski on a broken play and was intercepted by Chase Blackburn.  Wes Welker dropped a ball deep in New York territory that would have sealed the game for all intents and purposes.  Instead, New England had to punt the ball back to the Giants and Eli Manning.

Here's what happened on the very next play:

<iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/XP0Q5I0vgS4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

There was no question that the Giants were on their way for the game-winning score after the catch.  It was the biggest play of the game, and the first time Manning had connected with a receiver deep down the field.  Manning continued the drive and Ahmad Bradshaw capped it off with a six-yard touchdown run.  But Brady and the offense had almost a minute left to march down the field and score the winning touchdown.


Two more drops left New England with a 3rd and 10.  Justin Tuck broke through for his second sack of the game and forced New England to burn one of their two remaining timeouts.  After converting on a 4th-and-16, Brady got the Patriots close to midfield as time continued to waste away.  His Hail Mary the final play landed inches away from a lunging Gronkowski in the middle of the end zone as Giants and Patriots both reached for the ball.  The tension slowly built up  all game to that final, game-deciding play.  Everything was left out there.  Manning ran to Tuck on the field, and it was fitting that the offensie and defensive stars of the game shared a moment together.  

It may not have been a Super Bowl filled with high scoring and fantastic plays the whole way through.  But this Super Bowl had so much more going for it than all of that stuff.  It had the back story of Super Bowl XLII four years ago.  It had the drama.  It had timely plays.  And it had a climactic finish that kept us on the edge of our seats.  There's not much more you can ask for.

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