Patriots vs. Giants in Super Bowl XLVI: NFL Championship Sunday Recap in Photos

Michael NargiSenior Analyst IJanuary 23, 2012

Patriots vs. Giants in Super Bowl XLVI: NFL Championship Sunday Recap in Photos

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    Super Bowl XLVI is set. The New England Patriots will face the New York Giants in a rematch of Super Bowl XLII.

    The Patriots held on to a 23-20 lead against the Baltimore Ravens. They held their breath as Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal that would have sent the game to overtime. 

    The Giants defeated the 49ers in an overtime thriller, 20-17. New York benefited from muffed punt returns and took advantage of the opportunities they were given.

    The rematch of one of the best Super Bowls is going to happen, and both sides enter the game coming off memorable games.

    Championship Sunday lived up to its expectations. The games were thrilling and memorable.

    And the photos prove it.

49ers Strike First, Take 7-0 Lead in First Quarter

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    Vernon Davis celebrates his touchdown in the first quarter.

    Alex Smith connected with Davis for a 73-yard touchdown to score the first points of the game.

Giants Tie the Game 7-7 in the Second Quarter

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    Eli Manning throws for a six-yard touchdown to Bear Pascoe.

    The drive began at the end of the first quarter and ended with 11:15 left in the second quarter.

Victor Cruz Has a Huge Second Quarter

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    Victor Cruz had a great second quarter with receptions of 36, 17, 15, 15, 13, 11 and six yards.

    He finished the game with 10 catches for 142 yards.

    For more on Victor Cruz and his remarkable year, visit here.

Giants Tack on a Field Goal, Lead 10-7 at Halftime

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    Lawrence Tynes kicks a 31-yard field goal at the end of the second quarter to give the Giants a 10-7 lead at halftime.

Frank Gore Vital to 49ers' Scoring Drive

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    Frank Gore had a 24-yard catch and run to set up Vernon Davis' touchdown in the third quarter.

    Gore finished the game with 16 carries for 74 yards. He added six catches for 45 yards.

Vernon Davis Strikes Again

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    Vernon Davis reels in a 28-yard touchdown from Alex Smith in the third quarter.

    This touchdown gave the 49ers a 14-10 lead with over five minutes remaining in the quarter.

    Davis had three catches for 112 yards and two touchdowns in the game.

Vernon Davis Celebrates His Touchdown and a 14-10 Lead

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    Davis celebrates his third-quarter touchdown.

    After receiving a 15-yard penalty for his celebration in the first quarter, his teammates keep him in the end zone after this score.

Kyle Williams Muffs Punt Return

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    After both teams combined for five straight four-and-outs, the punt bounces off 49er Kyle Williams' leg.

Devin Thomas Recovers Muffed Punt

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    Devin Thomas recovers the ball for the Giants.

    After review, the officials got the call correct and awarded New York the ball at San Francisco's 29-yard line.

Eli Manning Finds Hakeem Nicks for 14 Yards

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    Eli Manning was faced with third and seven after the Giants recovered the muffed punt. 

    He connected with Hakeem Nicks for 14 yards to keep the drive alive.

Mario Manningham Scores Touchdown, Giants Take 17-14 Lead

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    Nicks and Cruz celebrate in the back of the end zone with Mario Manningham. 

    Manningham was the recipient of a 17-yard strike from Eli Manning on third and 15.

    The touchdown gave the Giants a 17-14 lead.

Eli Manning Celebrates Touchdown

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    Eli Manning celebrates his touchdown pass to Mario Manningham in the fourth quarter. 

The Three Big Receivers

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    Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham have made major contributions throughout the year to New York's Super Bowl run.

    In the NFC Championship Game, Nicks had five catches for 55 yards.

49ers Tie Game at 17 as Defenses Step Up in Fourth Quarter and Overtime

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    After the 49ers tied the game on a field goal, the defenses stepped up.

    The hits became even harder, and the defenses made stops.

    The Giants would capitalize on the only opportunities they were given.

Eli Manning Hit Hard

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    Late in the fourth quarter, Manning is able to get the ball to Ahmad Bradshaw and avoid a disaster.

    Manning dropped back 64 times, was sacked six times and was hit by the defense 20 times.

17-17 in Overtime

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    It was 17-17 in overtime when Kyle Williams fumbled while returning a punt.

    His second error of the game proved costly to the 49ers, as the Giants recovered the fumble at San Francisco's 24-yard line.

Lawrence Tynes Kicks a Field Goal in Overtime, Giants Win 20-17

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    Lawrence Tynes kicks a 31-yard field goal in overtime to send the New York Giants to the Super Bowl.

    The Giants beat the 49ers, 20-17, in an epic game in San Francisco. 

Let the Celebration Begin

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    Steve Weatherford, Lawrence Tynes and Victor Cruz celebrate their thrilling win in San Francisco.

    Weatherford handled a bad snap and set it up perfectly for Tynes' kick.

Exhausting Day for Eli Manning

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    With rushing yards hard to come by, the Giants turned to Eli Manning to throw the ball and make big plays.

    Manning finished the game carrying the team on his arm. He was 32-for-58 with 316 yards and two touchdowns. 

Off to Indy

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    The Giants fought hard into overtime to earn a trip to Indianapolis.

Tom Coughlin and Derrick Martin Celebrate

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    Tom Coughlin and Derrick Martin celebrate in the locker room after the victory.

    Coughlin, who was on the chopping block in the middle of the season, has completely turned the Giants around.

Steven Tyler Sings National Anthem

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    Steven Tyler began the day with an atrocious rendition of the national anthem. 

    Championship Sunday would have been perfect if not for these two minutes.

Patriots Take the Field

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    Tom Brady and the New England Patriots take the field at Gillette Stadium.

Quarterback Struggles in the First Quarter

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    Brady leaves the field in the first quarter. Both quarterbacks had a slow start to the game.

    Brady struggled to be productive in the first quarter, going three and out on the Patriots' first drive and throwing an interception with under five minutes left in the quarter.

Joe Flacco Sacked

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    Joe Flacco was sacked by Vince Wilfork in the first quarter.

    It was one of three sacks the Patriots had on Flacco.

Tom Brady Interception

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    Brady throws an interception in the first quarter that would lead to a Billy Cundiff field goal for the Baltimore Ravens.

The "Law Firm" Takes a Stand, Patriots Take 10-3 Lead

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    BenJarvus Green-Ellis takes a draw from Tom Brady in the second quarter. 

    The seven-yard touchdown was the first touchdown in the game and came with 10 minutes left in the second quarter.

Dennis Pitta Makes It 10-10

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    Dennis Pitta adjusts to the throw from Joe Flacco and reels in a six-yard touchdown pass.

    Baltimore tied the game at 10.

Questionable Incompletion, Patriots Take 13-10 Lead in to Halftime

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    Brady lofted a ball toward the sideline for Rob Gronkowski.

    After Gronkowski made a great catch, it was ruled incomplete.

    It was a play that could have been challenged and possibly overturned. Instead, the Patriots opted to kick a 35-yard field goal on the next play.

Joe Flacco to Torrey Smith, Ravens Take 17-16 Lead

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    After a Gostkowski field goal, the Patriots had a 16-10 lead.

    On the ensuing drive, the Ravens drove downfield to score on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Flacco to Torrey Smith. 

    Baltimore took a 17-16 lead.

Baltimore Recovers Fumble and Adds Field Goal to Take 20-16 Lead

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    After the touchdown by the Ravens, Danny Woodhead returned the kickoff 35 yards before LaQuan Williams forced a fumble.

    The Ravens recovered and added a field goal to take a four-point lead into the fourth quarter.

Rob Gronkowski Gets Injured at the End of the Third Quarter

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    Gronkowski's ankle was rolled over by Bernard Pollard with seconds remaining in the third quarter. 

    He was helped off the field, but returned to the game.

Tom Brady Scores on Fourth Down to Take 23-20 Lead in Fourth Quarter

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    Tom Brady leaps over the line to score on a play that ultimately led the Patriots to victory.

    On their third try from one yard out, the Patriots scored a touchdown to take a 23-20 lead. 

Lee Evans Drops Potential Game-Winning Touchdown

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    Lee Evans drops the ball on a play that would have given the Ravens the lead with under a minute left.

    After getting his hands on the ball, Sterling Moore jarred it loose and made the play of the game.

Billy Cundiff Misses Game-Tying Field Goal

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    Billy Cundiff walks off the field after missing the game-tying field goal.

    With that miss, the New England Patriots booked their flight to Indianapolis.

AFC Champion New England Patriots

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    New England hoists the Lamar Hunt Trophy as they cap off a successful run through the AFC and are on their way to the Super Bowl.

Patriots Celebrate

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    Tom Brady and Deion Branch celebrate getting to the Super Bowl. 

    Brady finished with 239 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. 

    Gronkowski led the team with 87 receiving yards.

At the End of the Day...

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    The New York Giants and New England Patriots will square off in what is sure to be a great Super Bowl.

    For much of the day Sunday, it looked as though it might not happen.

    At the end of the day, though, both teams did what they needed to do and will meet again in Indianapolis.