Haven’t we seen this before?
The Giants, a team that was left for dead just weeks ago, are once again hoisting the Lombardi trophy as they yet again were just a little bit better than the 15-3 New England Patriots, winning 21-17 to take home Super Bowl XLVI.
The game, as it did four seasons ago, came down to the arm of Eli Manning, as he threw a huge pass to Mario Manningham on an eventual game-winning drive that ended with an Ahmad Bradshaw score with less than a minute ago to erase a 17-15 deficit.
The Pats had a final shot, but a Hail Mary pass fell incomplete, starting a celebration that was about as wild as it was four years ago when the Giants beat the Patriots 17-14 in Glendale, AZ.
Manning finished 30 for 40 for 296 yards and one touchdown, while Tom Brady was 27 for 41 for 276 yards with two TDs and one interception.
Manning was the king of the comebacks in the 2011 season, as he led six comeback victories and set an NFL record with 15 fourth-quarter touchdown passes.
He was great in the games biggest moments, including the sensational 38-yard sideline catch by Manningham to open the drive. It was the play of the game, and also cost the Patriots a time out when Bill Belichick used a challenge that rightfully failed.
On second down at the Patriots 6 and with only one timeout remaining, Belichick had his defense stand up as Bradshaw took the handoff. Bradshaw thought about stopping short of the end zone, then tumbled in untouched.
“I was yelling to him, `Don’t score, don’t score,”’ Manning said. “He tried to stop, but he fell into the end zone.”
Brady’s desperation pass into the end zone on the final play fell just beyond the grasp of All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski. “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 then not get here.”
It looked like the Pats were going to have their revenge, as they came back from a 9-0 deficit and led 17-9 in the third quarter. But the Giants, who reached New England territory on every possession except a kneeldown at the end of the first half, got field goals of 38 and 33 yards from Lawrence Tynes.
Brady tried to put the game away, going deep for his tight end after weaving away from two pass rushers. His throw was short, and Chase Blackburn picked it off early in the fourth quarter.
The game continued to go back and forth, until New York and Manning, who was the games MVP, got one last chance, and he made it count, taking his team down the field and getting the win.
For Manning, it was his 2nd title in as many trips, the same for head coach Tom Coughlin. They join the four-win Super Bowl club. The Pats have lost two straight Bowls after winning three in a row, and are now 3-3 after losing to the Bears in SB XX and the Giants in XLII and now XLVI.