INDIANAPOLIS – The Giants did it again.
There was no perfect season on the line this time, but the New York Giants still ended the New England Patriots’ season in heartbreak for the second time in as many Super Bowl meetings, winning Super Bowl XLVI, 21-17, for the fourth NFL championship in franchise history.
A spectacular 38-yard Eli Manning-to-Mario Manningham sideline pass with three and a half minutes to play set New York on its way to the game-winning score. A short time later, the Patriots’ defense let running back Ahmad Bradshaw score the game-winning touchdown with their eyes on giving Tom Brady as much time as possible to lead the team to a miracle finish.
That finish never came. A last-gasp end zone heave for Aaron Hernandez bounced around and then fell to the Navy-painted turf, setting the Giants sprinting toward one another in celebration and a hail of confetti swirling into the air at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“All of the people really did a tremendous job,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said in a postgame interview on television. “We had a couple penalties that I thought took points off the board. We got into halftime and I said, ‘We can play better than this.’ They agreed.
Brady completed 27 of 41 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Rob Gronkowski, who injured his left ankle in the AFC Championship game and was the Patriots’ biggest question mark heading into the Super Bowl, only had two receptions for 26 yards.
“We fought to the end, I’m very proud of that,” Brady said. “We just came up a little short.”
Manning hit 30 of 40 passes for 296 yards and a touchdown.
“We’ve got a great bunch of guys, they never quit. I’m proud of our team,” Manning said. “Stayed positive. I knew offensively we were moving the ball, just not getting touchdowns. I knew eventually they’d get us a turnover and then they did.”
Manning was able to claim his second title and second Super Bowl most valuable player award in the house that his older brother, Peyton, built as the quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts.
But last night belonged to Eli, coach Tom Coughlin and a Giants team that began training camp with one motto: finish.
New York pulled off six must-win games – its final two games of the regular season, which got them into the playoffs as the NFC East champion and the number-four seed in the conference – plus four postseason games to do just what they set out to do when camp kicked off in late July.
It was the Patriots’ seventh appearance in the Super Bowl. They are 3-4 in NFL title games, including a 17-14 loss to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
Article Source: Shalise Manza Young @www.boston.com