The Giants are the cock of the walk once again after they knocked off the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl for the second time in four years.
How did we get there?
Many parties contributed to New York thwarting New England once again and claiming its fourth Super Bowl crown in four years.
THREE REASONS WHY THE GIANTS WON:
1. The First Quarter – New York dominated the line of scrimmage at the beginning of the game. Through the game’s first 19 plays, New York ran 18 of them. Their offensive line cracked open holes for running back Ahmad Bradshaw, who had a solid game with 91 total yards and the “game-winning touchdown.” It took New England a full quarter to regain all of the momentum they lost to start.
2. Mario Manningham – It wasn’t quite the Helmet Catch or the greatest throw in Super Bowl history, but it’ll be a play that will be talked about for years to come. Since New England decided to render Victor Cruz null and void for much of the game with their defensive coverages, the Giants needed another player to step up. Manningham caught five passes for 73 yards, including his sensational fourth quarter, 38-yard grab during New York’s Super Bowl winning drive. He hauled in 56 of his 73 yards receiving on New York’s final drive.
3. Justin Tuck – The man who helped ruin New England in Super Bowl XLII was at it again on Sunday night. Tuck sacked Tom Brady twice and may have turned the game’s tide with one single hit. New England led 17-12 in the third quarter and needed eight yards on a third down. Tuck sacked Brady, and injured the quarterback’s already damaged left shoulder in the process. Perhaps, it was not a coincidence that Brady wasn’t quite the same after the Tuck hit. The defensive lineman was also responsible for one of the game’s biggest plays (more on this later).
HONORABLE MENTION: Steve Weatherford – The Giants punter set a Super Bowl record with three punts inside of the opponent’s 10. New England struggled in the field position game.
THREE REASONS WHY THE PATRIOTS LOST
1. The Safety – Tom Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL. However, his intentional grounding penalty on New England’s first play, set a negative tone for the Patriots. By the book, it was the correct call. Brady wasn’t outside of the tackle box nor was their a receiver around as Tuck barreled into him. All Brady had to do was toss it to the right sideline and out of bounds. If he does that, we might get a different ball game.
2. Welker’s Drop – Welker joins former Patriot Asante Samuel as a goat during the Giant Super Bowls. Of course, Samuel dropped a game-ending interception during the Helmet Catch drive in Super Bowl XLII. Last night, with just over four minutes left and New England facing a 2nd and 11 from the Giants 44, Brady floated a ball downfield to Welker. The receiver got two hands on the football but dropped it. New York had one timeout left and the catch would have given the Patriots a first down and control of the game.
3. Bernard Pollard – Rob Gronkowski was ineffective last night because of his ankle injury suffered during the AFC title game two weeks earlier, thanks to Ravens safety Bernard Pollard. Gronkowski caught just two passes for 26 yards; could not make a play on Chase Blackburn’s second-half interception of Brady; and came up inches short of catching a deflected hail-mary attempt on the game’s final play. To his credit, Gronkowski did not use the injury as an excuse. However, he was clearly not himself.
HONORABLE MENTION: New England’s Defense – If I told a Patriots fan prior to yesterday’s game that New England would only allow 21 points, they’d sign up for that faster than they could say Tedy Bruschi. However, they were an inconsistent bunch despite Bill Belichick’s solid game-planning. They allowed New York to hold the ball for nearly 40 minutes. While they got key third down stops, some of their play was assisted by Giant penalties. Then of course, there was the infamous illegal substitution penalty that negated a Patriots fumble recovery before Cruz made it 9-0; and their lack of pass rush in the fourth quarter on Eli Manning when they knew he had to throw. All things considered though, they did enough to win.
HONORABLE MENTION II: Misfortune – The Giants fumbled on three occasions yesterday. The first was recovered by New England but negated by penalty. The next two (both in the second half) were recovered by the Giants as players just happened to be in the area near the ball. If either is recovered by New England, New York is not a Super Bowl winner.
Almost forgot one other reason for New England’s defeat.
That Manning fella.