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The New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots 21-17 to win Super Bowl XLVI in clutch, come-from-behind fashion, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The thrilling comeback victory was almost identical to the way in which the Giants upset the Patriots just four years ago in Super Bowl XLII. Though there was no miraculous David Tyree helmet-catch in this go-around, Manning and the Giants were just as magical, putting together their game-winning drive that capped yet another instant Super Bowl classic between the rival cities.
“It just feels great. It was a great game with two great teams,” said Super Bowl XLVI MVP Eli Manning, who appeared as cool as the other side of the pillow in the game’s decisive scoring-drive. “We just played to the very end.”
With 3:46 remaining in the game, Manning lead a nine-play, 88-yard drive. The drive was highlighted by the play of the game – a phenomenal 38-yard throw-and-catch connection between Manning and Mario Manningham, on the sideline, right at midfield. Manningham managed to make a fantastic grab and keep both of his feet in bounds, despite the valiant efforts of two Patriot defenders. Manning and the Giants continued their march into New England territory, and as the game’s final minute approached, Ahmad Bradshaw gave New York the lead, 21-17, with only 57 seconds left.
On the decisive score, it was evident that Bill Belichick and the Patriots opted to allow the touchdown – an interesting strategy that was called to give Tom Brady and the Patriots offense a last-minute chance to respond and score a touchdown of their own, that would win them the game.
Ultimately, the strategy did not pay off. Or it was too little, too late for Brady, Belichick and company, as more missed opportunities doomed the glimmer of hope that remained for the Pats on their final drive – including the final play, a Hail Mary that was juggled around in the end zone momentarily before it fell to the turf, incomplete, crowning the Giants once again, as Super Bowl champions, at the hands of the Patriots.
On the Patriots’ final drive there were two notable drops by Deion Branch and Aaron Hernandez, two of Brady’s most sure-handed targets. But it was earlier in the quarter when the Patriots biggest botched opportunity occurred. Just as the Patriots seemed to be putting a choke-hold on the game – leading 17-15 and looking for more – Wes Welker, Brady’s clear-cut, most trusted and reliable receiver, dropped a deep pass on a second and long that would have moved the chains and set up New England deeper into New York’s territory with the clock continuing to wind-down. The next play on third and long was an incomplete pass attempt over the middle to Branch that was well defended by the Giants’ Corey Webster, forcing Belichick’ and New England’s hand to punt, which of course set the stage for Eli to show the world just how elite he has become.