It wasn't pretty and it probably won't break into the top 10 Super Bowls ever, but for the second time over the past four years, the New York Giants have toppled Tom Brady and the Patriots. Like their 2007 win over the Pats, it came down to the final Giants drive and a cool headed Eli Manning to give New York a 21-17 win and Eli his second Super Bowl ring.
And for the record, that's one more than big brother Peyton.
"We've had a bunch of them this year. We've had some fourth-quarter comebacks," said Manning. "We'd been in those situations, and we knew that we had no more time left. We had to go down and score, and guys stepped up and made great plays."
In the house that Manning built, otherwise known as Lucas Oil Stadium, a Manning stood taller than anyone and took home his second Super Bowl MVP in two attempts. This Manning, Eli by name, wasn't spectacular but got it done when he needed to, especially on that final drive. For the night, he finished with 296 yards and 1 touchdown.
"That was quite a drive that he was able to put together," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "He deserves all the credit in the world, because he really has put his team on his shoulders all year."
In a game that featured two of the statistically worst defenses to ever make it to the big dance, it was the Giants that stood tall and harassed Tom Brady into some crucial un-Brady like mistakes, including a pivotal fourth quarter interception that was forced by Giants pressure and helped by the inability of Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski to leap up to catch the ball. The Giants snagged two sacks but hit Brady eight times and kept him from getting comfortable in the pocket for most of the game.
"Certainly it wasn't one play that was the reason we lost," Brady said. "Everybody feels they could do a little more. I'd rather come to this game and lose than not get here."
Noticeably hobbled by a high ankle sprain suffered against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Title game, Gronkowski was largely ineffective and severely hampered. Besides the inability to prevent the Brady pick, Gronkowski was also not able to make a potential miracle catch on a last second hail-mary that would have given the Pats the win. His injury was thought to be a game changer and it proved to be true as the absence of his play making ability was notable in a mostly stagnant Patriots offense.
In the end, it wasn't any huge mistakes that caused the Patriots to lose, though many will point to a inexplicable Wes Welker late drop and Belichick's decision to allow the Giants to score with a minute left as two examples of crucial game changing moments, it was just that one team had to walk out of there a winner and for this contest, like the 2007 SuperBowl, it just happened to be the Giants.
And with that win, and this one, the duo of Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning gain another trophy. Two down, and one more to go to catch Belichick/Brady, a duo that will be haunted by memories of these Giants for the rest of their lives.
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