I'm not sure who originated the saying 'you can't get enough of a good thing' but for this upcoming SuperBowl, let's just say it must be referring to SuperBowl XLII.
With the Giants overtime 20-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers, New York made possible a rematch of the classic early 2008 game that saw them beat the 17-0 New England Patriots 17-14. The Patriots, who played Baltimore earlier in the day, did their part by winning 23-10 over the Ravens, thus setting the stage for round 2 of one of the greatest SuperBowl’s in recent memory.
Like in that classic run in that 2007 season, the Giants have had to run a gauntlet of opponents nobody thought they could beat. Starting with catching the Dallas Cowboys at the end of the season and beating them to claim the NFC East crown, the Giants have had to beat a tough Atlanta team followed by the number 1 and 2 seeds in the NFC playoffs, the Packers and just today, the 49ers. With just one win remaining between them and yet another piece of football immortality, the Giants are running hot at just the right time.
"It's just been a tremendous effort by all of us, man," Giants receiver Victor Cruz said. "We understand that any one of us can get hot at any moment. As long as we're all on the same page and just playing together, man, we've got a great group of guys."
The 49ers pushed the Giants to the limit with solid offensive play and a defensive effort that kept Giants QB Eli Manning on his back for much of the game. But like the earlier Baltimore game, special teams proved to be the difference maker between these two teams. San Francisco return man Kyle Williams, filling in for the injured Ted Ginn Jr., made two crucial mistakes that led to the Giants scoring 10 points, including the game winning field-goal in overtime.
The first mistake came in the fourth quarter when Williams allowed a punt to bounce off his leg. The live ball was then recovered by a Giant player and soon led to a New York touchdown. The second mistake, and the one that cost the NFC West Champions the game and a trip to the SuperBowl, came in overtime when Williams was stripped on a punt in overtime, giving the Giants the ball in field goal range.
"We all know him. We know how committed he is to winning," 49ers QB Alex Smith said of Williams. "It's not on him. I look at the 1-for-13 on third downs. I know he's going to feel bad, but he's still part of our team. We didn't lose the game there. We lost it across the board offensively. We just couldn't get it done."
In yet another dramatic game that featured another dramatic ending, even the final chip shot field goal from 31 yards out wasn't without it's small share of breath-holding as the snap had to be caught off the ground and quickly placed so that Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes could put it through the uprights. Like in the 2007 season NFC Championship game against the Green Bay packers, Tynes calming drilled the game winner in overtime.
"It's my second NFC championship game, my second game-winner," Tynes said of his kick 7:54 into overtime. "It's amazing. I had dreams about this last night. It was from 42, not 31, but I was so nervous today before the game just anticipating this kind of game. I'm usually pretty cool, but there was something about tonight where I knew I was going to have to make a kick. Hats off to Eli, offense, defense. Great win."
With the win, the Giants are the 3rd team with a 9-7 record to make the Super Bowl. The previous two teams both lost in the game.
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