Confident Giants Beat Pats For The Ring

Eli Manning (Matthew Emmons/US Presswire)

One must think now that as long as Eli Manning is on the field, the Patriots aren't going to win anything. His seventh comeback of the season capped it all, giving the Giants and Tom Coughlin their second Lombardi Trophy with a 21-17 win at Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium. Here's the good and bad.

Eli Manning won his second MVP award with a 30-of-40, 296-yard performance with one touchdown and no interceptions, and Tom Coughlin took home the second ring of his potential Hall-of-Fame career in a 21-17 win over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI in Lucas Oil Stadium, which is where Manning's big brother plays.

The location didn't matter to the Giants' offensive leader, however.

"It just feels good to win a Super Bowl," Manning said. "It doesn't matter where you are."

The Giants won it despite a "mistake" by running back Ahmad Bradshaw. Down 17-15 with the clock running down in the fourth quarter, the Giants had the ball at the Patriots' 6 with just over a minute to go.

Knowing the importance of running as much time off the clock, Bradshaw waltzed through a gaping hole, ostensibly since the Patriots were playing a "fall-down" defense designed to let Bradshaw score and get the ball back in the hands of Tom Brady. Bradshaw knew it and tried to take a knee inside the 1, only to stumble into the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown.

That left 57 seconds for Brady to operate, and he indeed got to midfield despite Justin Tuck's second sack of the game. But his Hail Mary to Adam Hernandez fell incomplete, setting off a jubliant scene on the Giants' sideline.

Bradshaw's mistake wouldn't have been possible at all had it not been for Manning's 38-yard hookup with Mario Manningham

Here's the good and bad to the end of yet another Giants miracle playoff run.

THE GOOD:

MARIO MANNINGHAM: The receiver, much maligned in past seasons for his problems judging the sideline, reeled in Manning's 38-yard pass on the first play of the game-winning drive over Patrick Chung as the defensive back was knocking the receiver over the sideline. It marked the longest play of the game, and was somewhat reminiscent of Manning's 32-yard heave to David Tyree that helped victimize the Pats in Super Bowl XLII four years ago. Only, there was no ball-to-helmet aspect to this one. But there was a healthy helping of acrobatics involved. Manningham finished with five catches for 73 yards, second on the team to Hakeem Nicks' 10 grabs for 109 yards.

ELI MANNING: Can't get much better than 30-of-40 for 296 yards and a touchdown. The only turnover of the game came on Tom Brady's side. He took three sacks and a few other hits, but as always he got right back up. His threading of passes through traffic was excellent. And his execution in the first half kept Brady off the field until the final drive of the half. No wonder they made him the MVP again.

AHMAD BRADSHAW: Can't criticize him too much. He ran hard and picked up 72 yards of the Giants' 114 yards rushing that opened things up for Manning. Brandon Jacobs kicked in with 37 yards.

Victor Cruz: He salsa-ed in the end zone in the first quarter when he caught a 2-yard scoring pass, his first career Super Bowl TD.

JUSTIN TUCK: Let's see. Tuck pressured Brady into an intentional grounding on the Patriots' first play that caused a safety, and then came up with two sacks. The last one caused the Pats to use their final timeout on the last possession, a huge sack. Add that to Jason Pierre-Paul's two batted passes, and you have a pretty good day from the defensive front.

Lawrence Tynes: He wasn't the hero, but without his two third-quarter field goals that answered the Patriots' touchdown drive on the first second-half possession, the Giants would not have been in position to win the game.

Chase Blackburn: His interception way down field at the 8, in front of Rob Gronkowski, saved the Giants from a potential New England scoring opportunity in the fourth quarter. Blackburn, a middle linebacker, chased the ankle-challenged tight end all the way and turned around at just the right moment to grab Brady's escape-and-throw.

THE BAD:

SECOND-QUARTER DEFENSE: The Giants had stopped Brady, who at one point completed a Super Bowl record 16 straight passes. But they couldn't stop the Pats on the final drive of the first half as Brady marched his team 96 yards in 14 plays for a touchdown pass to Danny Woodhead and a 10-9 lead. He was 10-for-10 for 98 yards in the drive. Then, to start the second half, they allowed Brady to go 79 yards for a 12-yard touchdown pass to Adam Hernandez that made the score 17-9.

Kevin Boothe: The guard had two penalties, the biggest being his second-quarter hold that nullified Jacobs' first-down run and forced a punt. The Giants were controlling the ball at that point, and the punt triggered Brady's half-ending touchdown drive.

OFFICIALS: Overall, a well-officiated game. But they did miss a sure pass interference call on Sterling Moore that would have gone for a long gainer as the Giants tried to claw back into contention.

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