Super Bowl XLVI Review: Giants vs. Patriots
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Date: February 5, 2012
Site: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
Point-Spread: New England Patriots -3/New York Giants +3
Score: New York Giants 21, New England Patriots 17
MVP: QB Eli Manning
In a rematch from Super Bowl XLII, the Giants won their 4th Super Bowl, beating the favored Patriots 21-17. Four years before, the Giants spoiled the Patriots’ perfect season with a come-from-behind touchdown in the final minute. In Super Bowl 2012, it was slightly less-dramatic, but the underdog Giants again came from behind with a last-minute score to again deny the Patriots of Super Bowl glory.
The Giants were not expected to go to the big game. In fact, after 14 games in the 2011 regular season, New York was 7-7 and coach Tom Coughlin was on the hot seat. No one was talking about that after the Giants won 2 straight to scrape a playoff berth at 9-7, before going on an inspired playoff run. Whichever team won this game would be able to claim 4 Super Bowl championships.
Despite the Giants’ regular season issues, Manning had a great campaign, throwing for almost 5000 yards and 29 touchdowns. His two favorite targets were a blossoming Hakeem Nicks and an out-of-nowhere Victor Cruz--both combining for over 2700 yards receiving. TE Jake Ballard and WR Mario Manningham also made key contributions in the passing attack. Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs led a decent running attack.
The Giants’ defense was tough and rounding into shape just at the right time. The line was stacked with Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, and Osi Omenyiora. The secondary was formidable with Corey Webster, Antrel Rolle, Kenny Phillips, and Aaron Ross. Their work would be cut out for them, facing the Patriots and QB Tom Brady, coming off one of the most explosive seasons of any quarterback in history.
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Brady and Company helped New England forge to a 13-3 record, despite a defense that was not as good as previous New England Super Bowl teams in recent memory. Brady accumulated the 2nd-highest passing yardage of any QB in history with 5246 yards, with 39 touchdowns and only 12 picks. Their weapons were numerous, with Wes Welker catching 122 balls. Their tight end duo was one of the more productive ever--with Rob Gronkowski (17 touchdowns) and Aaron Hernandez (79 catches). Returning receiver Deion Branch chimed in with 51 receptions. Their running back workload was carried by BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Stevan Ridley, and Danny Woodhead.
In the playoffs, the Patriots first took on the surprise Denver Broncos, beating them by a score of 45-10. In the AFC title game, New England caught a break, when a short Baltimore field goal in the waning seconds missed, giving the Patriots a 23-20 win. The Giants, meanwhile, beat Atlanta 24-2, advancing to the divisional playoff with a win over the top-seeded 15-1 Green Bay Packers in Lambeau, winning 37-20. In the NFC title game, the Giants needed overtime to beat the 49ers 20-17.
Super Bowl 46 Recap
First Half: The Giants established a nice opening drive, but the New England “D” tightened up and forced a punt that pinned the Patriots deep in their own territory. Brady, in the end zone, was called for intentional grounding, resulting in a safety that gave the Giants a 2-0 lead. The New England free kick gave way to another Giants’ drive. Manning, who won the game MVP, completed a 2-yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz to make it 9-0.
New England got busy and Brady started doing what he’d done all season--making use of all his weapons to move downfield. A series of completions got the Patriots close, but after the drive stalled, K Stephen Gostowski kicked a field goal to make it 9-3. After forcing a New York punt, New England took over inside their own 5-yard line. In a 14-play drive, the Patriots drove all the away inside the Giants’ 5. A 4-yard TD pass to Woodhead gave New England the lead going into the half 10-9.
Second Half: Brady and the Patriots got started quickly in the 3rd quarter, taking the opening drive all the way. A 12-yard pass to Hernandez gave New England a 17-9 lead. A nice kickoff return helped the Giants get in range for a field goal, which Lawrence Tynes converted from 38 yards to make it 17-12. New England was forced to punt and the Giants responded with a nice drive, getting inside the Patriots’ 10-yard line. The Patriots kept the Giants out of the end zone, but another Tynes field goal made it 17-15.
Neither team could finish off a drive for most of the 4th quarter. New England almost put it away late, but some miscues forced them to punt, with the Giants taking over with 3:46 remaining. A big pass play to Manningham got the Giants near midfield. The Giants got really close, but fearing they would not have time for a comeback, the Patriots let the Giants score, after Bradshaw’s inertia brought his into the end zone, giving New England the ball with under a minute left. The 2-point conversion failed, making it 21-17.
Brady managed to get the Patriots to midfield, but a final hail-mary play fell short in a dramatic final play in the end zone, giving the Giants victory in Super Bowl 46. The Giants earned the 4th Super Bowl, giving Eli Manning and the Giants the clear upper-hand over the Patriots and Brady in this Super Bowl rivalry.