Super Bowl: Giants stave off Pats for victory
Originally published February 5, 2012 at 9:01 p.m., updated February 5, 2012 at 10:04 p.m.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Take that, Brady. You too, Peyton.
Eli Manning is the big man in the NFL after one-upping Tom Brady and leading the New York Giants to a 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots in Sunday’s Super Bowl — in older brother Peyton’s house, at that.
Just as Manning did four years ago when the Giants ruined New England’s perfect season, he guided them 88 yards to the decisive touchdown, which the Patriots didn’t contest as Ahmad Bradshaw ran 6 yards with 57 seconds left.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick reasoned the Giants would run the clock down and kick a short field goal, so he gambled by allowing the six points.
The gamble failed.
And now Manning not only has stamped himself as the elite quarterback he claimed to be when the season began — in the same class as Brady — he’s beaten the Patriots in two thrilling Super Bowls. The Giants (13-7), who stood 7-7 in mid-December, now own the football world, and Manning owns two Super Bowl MVP awards, the same number as Brady.
“It’s been a wild game, a wild season,” Manning said. “This isn’t about one person. It’s about one team, a team coming together.”
Manning led six comeback victories during the season and set an NFL record with 15 fourth-quarter touchdown passes. He showed that brilliance in the clutch on the winning drive. He completed five passes, including a sensational 38-yard sideline catch by Mario Manningham to open the drive.
On second down at the Patriots 6 and with only one timeout remaining, Belichick had his defense stand up as Bradshaw took the handoff. Bradshaw thought about stopping short of the end zone, then tumbled in untouched.
“I was yelling to him, ‘Don’t score, don’t score,”’ Manning said. “He tried to stop, but he fell into the end zone.”
Brady couldn’t answer in the final 57 seconds, although his desperation pass into the end zone on the final play fell just beyond the grasp of All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski. New England (15-4), winner of 10 straight since a loss to the Giants in November, was done.
“I thought we played very competitive. ... We were in the lead for a good part of the game. We just came up a couple of plays short,” Belichick said. “You don’t feel good after you lose this game.”
Brady headed off with his head bowed, holding his helmet, while around him was the wild celebration by the Giants, NFL champions for the eighth — and perhaps most unlikely — time.
“Great toughness, great faith, and great plays by a number of guys today,” Manning said, deflecting some of the attention. Still, he one-upped Brady. And Peyton.
“It just feels good to win a Super Bowl, it doesn’t matter where you are,” Manning said.
It was the fifth trip to a Super Bowl for Brady and Belichick, tying the record. And it looked like a successful one when they stormed back from a 9-0 deficit and led 17-9 in the third quarter. But the Giants, who reached New England territory on every possession except a kneeldown at the end of the first half, got field goals of 38 and 33 yards from Lawrence Tynes. And it looked like Tynes, who kicked them into the Super Bowl four years ago at Green Bay and again this year at San Francisco, both in overtime, would get called on again.
Then Belichick, known to try just about anything in a game, took a risk that didn’t pay off.
The Giants are the first Super Bowl winner that was outscored during the regular season. They were 6-2 after that 24-20 victory at New England, then lost four straight and five of six.
Coach Tom Coughlin insisted “the prize” was still within reach. Now the Giants are holding tight to that Vince Lombardi Trophy.
“What I was concerned with was these guys making their own history,” Coughlin said. “This is such a wonderful thing, these guys carving their own history.”
New England had the ball for all of one play in the first 11 1-2 minutes, and that play was an utter failure, a rare poor decision by Brady. After Steve Weatherford’s punt was downed at the New England 6, Brady dropped to pass in the end zone and had time. With everyone covered and Giants defensive end Justin Tuck finally coming free to provide pressure, Brady heaved the ball downfield while still in the pocket.
Only problem: No Patriots receivers were anywhere near the pass. The Giants were awarded a safety for Brady’s grounding in the end zone.
Manning, meanwhile, couldn’t have been more on target early, hitting six receivers in the first period, completing his first nine throws, a Super Bowl record. He also was aided by Ahmad Bradshaw, who hardly looked like a running back with a bad foot. Bradshaw broke a 24-yard run, and New England made another critical mistake by having 12 men on the field on a third-and-3 on which the Giants fumbled.
Instead, New York got a first down at the 6, and two plays later Victor Cruz beat James Ihedigbo on a slant to make it 9-0, prompting Cruz to break into his signature salsa move.
Manning’s first incompletion didn’t come until 1:19 into the second quarter.
At that point, it was 9-3 after Stephen Gostkowski’s 29-yard field goal. The Patriots got to the Giants’ 11, but All-Pro DE Jason Pierre-Paul blocked a third-down pass.
Soon after, when the Patriots had a three-and-out and Pierre-Paul blocked another throw, Belichick and offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien had a quick discussion. Then O’Brien, soon to take over as Penn State coach, went over to the struggling Brady.
The talk must have helped. On the final series of the opening half, Brady was masterful. Starting at his 4, and ignoring the last time the Patriots began a series in the shadow of the end zone, he was vintage Brady.
With New York’s vaunted pass rush disappearing, Brady went 10-for-10 for 98 yards, capping the drive that included two Patriots penalties with Woodhead’s 4-yard TD reception with 8 seconds to go in the half. Hernandez and Woodhead each had four catches on the drive that, stunningly, put New England ahead despite being outplayed for so much of the first 30 minutes.
Brady kept firing — and hitting — in the third quarter, with five more completions. The Giants didn’t come within shouting distance of the record-setting quarterback. He capped a 79-yard drive to open the second half with a 12-yard TD to Hernandez, but then the game turned. Again.
Consecutive field goals by Lawrence Tynes of 38 and 33 yards brought New York within 17-15. Brady then threw deep for his tight end after weaving away from two pass rushers. His throw was short, and Chase Blackburn picked it off early in the fourth quarter.
Although the Giants moved into New England territory again, as they did on every drive to that point, they bogged down and punted.
Reports filed as the game progressed, newest on top:
Eli Manning and the New York Giants are Super Bowl champions again.
Just as they did four years ago in Arizona, Tom Coughlin's Giants have defeated Bill Belichick's New England Patriots — this time 21-17 in Indianapolis for their fourth Lombardi Trophy.
But the Giants had to breathe a huge sigh of relief first as Tom Brady heaved a long, desperation pass into the end zone that Rob Gronkowski nearly caught as it tipped among a group of outstretched Patriots and Giants hands. Then, it fell to the ground and the jubilant Giants were running onto the field in celebration.
New York also beat New England 24-17 in the 2008 Super Bowl.
The Giants have taken the lead with less than a minute left — but did they leave too much time on the clock for Tom Brady and the Patriots?
Ahmad Bradshaw ran up the middle on second-and-6, and the Patriots parted like the Red Sea and allowed the Giants running back to get into the end zone for a 21-17 lead. Bradshaw appeared to realize what was going on and tried to stop his momentum at the last second, but stumbled into the end zone for a score.
New York was stopped on a 2-point conversion.
Now, it's Brady's turn. He's got 57 seconds and 80 yards to win it.
Hey, David Tyree. Mario Manningham's got his own sensational Super Bowl highlight.
The Giants wide receiver made a remarkable grab down the left sideline with 3:39 left and New York trailing 17-15. Eli Manning zipped a long pass toward Manningham, who was in double coverage but caught the 38-yard heave with his fingertips, got both feet down and brought the ball into his chest as he was being hit.
The play was ruled a catch, but New England coach Bill Belichick — standing right in front of where Manningham landed — challenged the call.
The officials upheld the call, and the Patriots have to be thinking about Tyree's incredible helmet-pinning grab on the Giants' Super Bowl-winning touchdown drive in Arizona four years ago.
The Giants are running out of tight ends.
First, Travis Beckum. Now, Jake Ballard.
New York lost their top two tight ends to injuries, with Bear Pascoe the only remaining player at the position.
Beckum tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee early in the second quarter at the Super Bowl. Ballard sprained his left knee in the fourth quarter.
By the way, New England's big tight end, Rob Gronkowski, has just two catches for 26 yards. His status was uncertain the past two weeks with a high left ankle sprain.
Tom Coughlin is fired up.
And for good reason.
The New York Giants coach was livid when officials didn't call a flag on New England's Sterling Moore, who — as TV replays clearly showed — had his left hand on Mario Manningham's left shoulder with his right arm stretched out over the Giants receiver's right shoulder as Eli Manning's pass came zipping at him.
The throw fell incomplete on third-and-10 from the Patriots 43 midway through the fourth quarter. The Giants were forced to punt as Coughlin barked at the officials from the sideline for not calling a pass interference penalty.
With the way these teams are playing, we could be in for another fantastic final 15 minutes.
The Giants are inching closer.
A 33-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes with 35 seconds left in the third quarter cuts New England's lead to 17-15. The Patriots' defense has done a solid job on the Giants' last few offensive possessions by putting consistent pressure on Eli Manning and not allowing much on the ground to Brandon Jacobs or Ahmad Bradshaw.
Tom Brady took a hard pop from Justin Tuck at the end of the Patriots' last drive that had team trainers briefly checking out his left shoulder on the sideline, but he appears to be fine. He was back on the field on New England's next possession.
Ouch. That was a painful drive for the Giants — literally.
Sure, they got a 38-yard field goal from Lawrence Tynes to cut the deficit to 17-12, but a couple of New York's receivers took a pounding from the Patriots.
First came a bone-crunching hit from Patrick Chung, keeping Hakeem Nicks from making a big catch, and causing the Giants receiver to shake his left arm around on the sideline. Two plays later, Sterling Moore slammed into Mario Manningham, who somehow managed to hold on for a 5-yard grab despite getting pounded into the turf.
Tom Brady is absolutely on fire.
He just led the Patriots on an eight-play, 79-yard scoring drive, going 5 for 5 passing, to give New England a 17-9 lead. That came after he hit on all 10 passes during the Patriots' 96-yard touchdown drive right before halftime.
The Giants need to find their pass rush — and fast.
We have an Ochocinco sighting at the Super Bowl.
After sitting out the AFC championship game against Baltimore, Chad Ochocinco opened the second half with his first catch, a 21-yard grab for New England. His first season with the Patriots was quiet with a career-low 15 catches, but he said he was living his dream by getting to football's biggest game for the first time in his 11-year career.
Strike a pose!
Madonna rocked the Super Bowl halftime show with an elaborate performance that kicked off with her classic "Vogue." She also danced her way out of a tumble when she slipped for a moment.
LMFAO then joined her for a mashup of her more recent hit, "Music" and their No. 1 song, "Sexy and I Know It." Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. danced onto the stage as cheerleaders, helping her through her new dance-pop song, "Give Me All Your Luvin'."
Madonna closed it out — with the help of Cee Lo Green — with "Open Your Heart" and "Like A Prayer." Looked pretty cool, actually.
No "Material Girl" or "Holiday," but it sure beats the very first halftime show back in 1967 that featured college marching bands.
OK, now let's get back to football.
Boy, where did that first half go?
New England, with a late score, leads the New York Giants 10-9 after a breezy first two quarters in Indianapolis.
While the teams make their halftime adjustments back in their respective locker rooms, it's Madonna's turn to take the big stage for the next 20 minutes. So, "Vogue" your way back to the kitchen, refill your chips and dips and let the Material Girl help you relive the 1980s.
That was classic Brady, huh?
With the Patriots pinned back on their own 2 after a penalty, New England QB Tom Brady coolly led the offense on an impressive march down the field to take a 10-9 lead over the New York Giants with 8 seconds left in the half.
Brady capped the 14-play, 96-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown toss to Danny Woodhead — his first scoring catch of the season.
Travis Beckum's Super Bowl is over — way too early.
The New York Giants backup tight end tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee early in the second quarter on Eli Manning's second incomplete pass of the game, a short toss to Ahmad Bradshaw. Beckum clutched his knee for a few moments before being helped to the sideline by two trainers.
Beckum has been a key part of the Giants' offense, particularly in two-tight end sets with Jake Ballard. Tough break for Beckum, and possibly for New York's offense, which has been solid so far against the Patriots.
The Patriots are on the board, but they probably should have had more.
Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 29-yard field goal early in the second quarter, capping a drive that appeared promising for New England. After falling behind 9-0 to New York, Tom Brady put the Patriots in scoring position with a few short passes to a few of the usual suspects: Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez and Deion Branch.
But things stalled at the Giants 11 when Jason Pierre-Paul knocked down Brady's pass intended for Hernandez on third-and-4.
Meanwhile, Eli Manning's hot start — 9 for 9, the best for a quarterback in the Super Bowl — ended on the Giants' first offensive play of the second quarter: an incompletion to Brandon Jacobs.
It's salsa time for Victor Cruz and the Giants.
With New England's defense appearing confused, Eli Manning marched New York down the field and connected with the wide receiver with the smooth moves on a 2-yard touchdown to give the Giants a 9-0 lead later in the first quarter.
As many in the crowd in Indianapolis broke into chants of "Cruuuuuuz!" the new Giants star started doing the salsa — his celebration after a big catch — in the end zone.