Eli Manning rallies Giants to Super Bowl victory over Patriots


INDIANAPOLIS – His brother built this house. Eli Manning raised the roof. The sleepy-eyed quarterback woke up the past Sunday by leading the New York Giants to a 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Manning was named the game’s most valuable player, just as he was in February 2008.
It was the second time in four years Manning lifted the Giants over the Patriots on the NFL’s grandest stage–and the second championship ring for Manning, one more than his older brother, Peyton. The game was played in the stadium Peyton has called home.
The Lombardi Trophy is the fourth in five Super Bowls for the Giants, the first nine-win team in a 16-game schedule to win a Super Bowl and the first to weather a four-game losing streak in the process.
The winning touchdown was a six-yard run up the middle by Ahmad Bradshaw with 1:04 to play. By all appearances, the Patriots allowed him to score in order to get the ball back in the hands of Tom Brady for one more chance.
Bradshaw attempted to stop just short of the goal line so the Giants could use more of the clock, but his momentum carried him into the end zone.
Brady, who was going for his fourth ring in five tries, took possession with 57 seconds left, and got his team to midfield, but his Hail Mary heave on the final play fell incomplete.
The Giants’ season was marked by their incredible resolve. They needed to win their finale against Dallas to get into the postseason. New York was the second team in NFL history to reach the Super Bowl by beating three opponents with better records, matching the feat of the 2008 Arizona Cardinals.
Early in the fourth quarter, a mistake deep in their own territory nearly cost the Giants dearly. They had taken over on an interception by linebacker Chase Blackburn early in the fourth quarter when they trailed, 17-15.
On the second play of that drive, Ahmad Bradshaw fumbled near the New York 15. The loose ball bounced backward, and Giants guard Chris Snee pounced on it.
It was the Giants who took an early lead, but the Patriots battled back.
Trailing, 9-3, the Patriots took the lead with eight seconds remaining in the first half, when Brady hit Danny Woodhead for a 4-yard touchdown and Stephen Gostkowski kicked the extra point.
That capped a 14-play, 96-yard drive, tying the longest touchdown drive in Super Bowl history.
Brady ended the half on a streak of 11 consecutive completions, two shy of the big game’s record set by San Francisco’s Joe Montana in Super Bowl XXIV. He began the second half with five more completions in a row, staking a claim to the Super Bowl record and tying his own postseason record.
Behind Brady’s pinpoint passing, the Patriots marched 79 yards on the opening drive and scored when Aaron Hernandez caught a short pass over the middle and pinballed into the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown and a 17-9 lead with 11:20 remaining in the third quarter.
About five minutes later, New York’s Lawrence Tynes kicked a 38-yard field goal, cutting the New England lead to 17-12.
At the start of the game, Eli Manning set his own Super Bowl record by connecting on his first nine passes.
New York opened the game with a 10-play drive and got some traction right away, moving into Patriots’ territory and picking up 19 yards on a pass from Manning to Hakeem Nicks. They were stopped on three consecutive negative plays_two sacks and a run that didn’t make it back to the line of scrimmage–and were forced to punt.
It was a beauty of a punt by Steve Weatherford, pinning the Patriots on their 6. Then, on New England’s first play from scrimmage, Tom Brady dropped into the end zone, scanned the field and couldn’t find any open receivers. Just before being hit by Justin Tuck, Brady unleashed a deep pass that landed near midfield, nowhere near any receivers.
Officials flagged Brady for intentional grounding, and because he was in the end zone at the time, it was ruled a safety. That gave New York a 2-0 lead with 8:52 to play in the quarter.
It was a critical mistake by New England’s defense that led to the first touchdown. On the ensuing drive, the Giants moved into scoring range and, on third and three from the 11, Manning hit Victor Cruz with a short pass. The Patriots swarmed him and pried the ball loose for a fumble…
But the play was wiped out because New England had 12 defenders on the field. That penalty not only gave the Giants the ball back, but a first down on the six. Two plays later, Manning hit Cruz on a quick slant for a 2-yard touchdown and a 9-0 lead.
Manning completed nine consecutive passes to start the game, setting a Super Bowl record.
New England would get on the board less than two minutes into the second quarter, when Gostkowski kicked a 29-yard field goal to trim the deficit to 9-3.

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