Go, Big Blue!

The New York Giants top the New England Patriots 21-17 to take the title

February 06, 2012

Giants players celebrate their 21-17 win over the New England Patriots.

For the second time in four years, Eli Manning led the New York Giants past Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on the National Football League’s biggest stage—the Super Bowl. Inside Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Giants scored the game’s final 12 points to win a thriller, 21-17.

Giants receiver Mario Manningham hauls in a critical 38-yard pass late in the game.
Giants receiver Mario Manningham hauls in a critical 38-yard pass late in the game.

Making the Most of It

Manning completed 30 of 40 passes for 296 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. His big day earned him his second Super Bowl MVP award. The triumph was similar to the last time the Giants beat the Patriots in the big game.

Just like in 2008—when David Tyree’s incredible helmet-catch propelled the Giants to victory over the Patriots—a big reception by a receiver kept the game-winning drive alive, and helped New York outlast New England.

This time, it was Mario Manningham who provided the acrobatics. He ran a route down the left sideline and Manning zipped the ball to him between two defenders. Manningham hauled in the long pass to complete the 38-yard reception.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin was thrilled by both of those big receptions. "I think they are both spectacular catches,” Coughlin said. “I think with Mario's earlier tonight, the way he kept his feet inbounds and held onto the ball (while) going out of bounds was a remarkable thing."

Despite the heroics, New York was fortunate to get the chance to play for the championship at all. After 15 weeks in the 2011 season, the Giants were floundering with only a 7-7 record. They went on to win every game after that, including victories over the top two seeds in the Conference, the Green Bay Packers and then the San Francisco 49ers.

Missed Chances

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning holds the Lombardi Trophy. He was named game MVP.
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning holds the Lombardi Trophy. He was named game MVP.

The Patriots had a lot of chances to win the game, but let them slip through their fingers, sometimes literally. The game started badly for Brady. From his own end zone he threw a long ball downfield where there was no receiver. The referees called it an intentional grounding, which cost New England two early points.

The Patriots did score a touchdown right before and right after halftime. However, they missed multiple occasions to create turnovers on defense. The Giants fumbled the ball a few times, but always recovered. The one time the Patriots got the loose ball their celebration was short-lived. There had been 12 men on the field for the defense, which negated the turnover.

A severe case of dropping the ball also plagued the team. Deion Branch and Aaron Hernandez dropped important passes, but it was sure-handed receiver Wes Welker who came up short at just the wrong time. He dropped a pass that would have put New England in field-goal range, potentially putting the game out of reach. "It comes to the biggest moment of my life, and (I) don't come up with it," said Welker, after the game. "It's one of those plays I've made a thousand times."

In the end, the game came down to making the most of every opportunity. It truly was a Giant win.

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