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Between the trade drama, the NFL lockout situation and the pre-season bloopers, the Giants were described as: a hopeless team, a team unlikely to reach the playoffs. During the regular season the Giants had 9 wins and just barely clinched a wildcard playoff spot. The team was considered one of the many mediocre teams advancing to the post season. As the post season progressed, the Giants knocked out each team, one by one. Still, many not convinced that they had what it takes to be Super Bowl contenders. This time gaining a reputation of “good, if that.”
Now, the Giants are advancing to the Super Bowl and NOBODY can say that Eli and his teammates don’t mean business.
With a trip to Super Bowl 46 on the line, the 20-17 overtime victory sent the Giants home from San Francisco with a conference title and a trip to Indianapolis to compete for the Super Bowl championship title.
One shoulder pad hanging over his Jersey, while the other side sported green and brown grass stains, making it nearly impossible to realize it was once white, Manning leaped off the ground and ran off the field preparing for overtime and getting ready to fight for his spot in the Super Bowl.
The Giants battled a rough three seasons following their Super Bowl victory against the New England Patriots back in 2008. Since then they haven’t had much luck in the post season.
It took the entire season but during the postseason everything came together for Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, Jason Pierre-Paul and Lawrence Tynes.
Victor Cruz, a second year wide receiver, caught 10 passes for 142 yards in last night’s game. Although he didn’t have the opportunity to Salsa his way through the end-zone, he made a critical impact on the game and the teams advancing which led him to a post game salsa as he spoke with the media.
Cruz made his most important appearance on the last drive of the first half where he set the Giants up for a 31-yard field goal putting the Giants on top and sending them into halftime with a 10-7 lead.
“I don’t even know how to put it,” Cruz said. “It’s been an amazing ride this year. I’m just happy to be here.”
Quarterback, Eli Manning took a beating most of the game in large thanks to his offensive line that allowed him to get sacked six times. Manning jumped back up every time and managed to complete 32 of 58 attempts for 316 yards and two touchdowns.
“It feels great,” Manning said. “We had to fight for every yard we got. They’re a good team. Their defense is stout.”
The first touchdown of the game came from 49ers quarterback, Alex Smith connecting with tight-end Vernon Davis which put San Francisco up 7-0. Davis used his exceptional speed to gain the first touchdown as well as San Francisco’s 2nd and last touchdown of the game. His teammates only managed to get 3 more points on a field goal bringing their total to 17 points for the game.
Tight-end, Bear Pascoe put the first points on the board for the Giants with a 6 yard pass in the end zone from Manning.
Running Back Ahmad Bradshaw was the leading rusher for the Giants with 74 yards on 20 carries.
Joining Cruz, wide receivers Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham have become known as the triple threat amongst the 2011-12 season. Nicks and Manningham both contributed to the victory over the 49ers. Nicks had 5 catches for 55 yards. Manningham had only one catch of the game but the 17-yarder was a touchdown catch, ending regulation time with 17 points.
The Giants defense was quieter than usual but still managed to sack Smith 3 times. Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora, Mathias Kiwanuka and Justin Tuck were all in on the sacks.
Two factors basically sealed the Giants win: The fact that San Francisco just couldn’t seem to score anymore after the half and when young returner, Kyle Williams had his second fumble of the game, this time in overtime, the crucial deciding moments of the game.
What it came down to: For the second time in 5 seasons, becoming Super Bowl contenders was left in the hands (or should I say foot) of Lawrence Tynes. After a fumbled punt in overtime, Tynes hit a 31 yard field goal much like the one back in 2008 in overtime against the Green Bay Packers.
“There was moisture, the footing was tough, the balls were really slick,” said Tynes. “I am going to a dome for the Super Bowl so I am going to be happy.”
The Giants won this NFC championship just like they did four years ago. With a field goal in overtime on the road after forcing a decisive turnover. Tynes got a second chance to win the NFC Championship in overtime and he did just that.
Last night’s match-up in San Francisco defined what a playoff game should look like. Each team played until the clock stopped.Giants head coach, Tom Coughlin described the game as “a classic football game.”
It’s been deja-vu for the Giants these past couple of weeks. If the Giants can keep it up, the only difference will be: instead of breaking a Patriots perfect record, they will only be breaking the hearts of Patriots fans around the nation and adding another loss for the Patriots.
The Giants-49ers game drew 50 million viewers. Imagine how many will be tuning in to see the repeat showdown of the 2008 Super Bowl.
Eli Manning will get the chance to beat Tom Brady’s Patriots yet again on February 5th in Indianapolis.