With 2:49 left in Super Bowl XLII, it seemed to be yet another perfectly scripted comeback victory for the New England Patriots.
Super Bowl XLII MVP Eli Manning ended the 12-play, 83-yard winning drive when he found Plaxico Burress in the corner of the end zone with 35 seconds to play.
The catch of the drive and the game belonged to the Giants' David Tyree a few plays earlier. With 59 seconds left, Eli Manning amazingly escaped what appeared to be a definite sack and launched the ball down the field. Tyree lept into the air, catching the ball high above his head—thus winning the jump ball.
The Giants were at New England's 24-yard line and on the verge of doing what seemed impossible only a few minutes before.
Tyree's amazing leap was then followed by New York Giants rookie Steve Smith's catch. The rookie showed the experience of a veteran as he was smart enough to find the first down marker and to get out of bounds and stop the play clock at 39 seconds. On the following play came the TD pass. It was only Plaxico Burress' second catch of the game but probably the biggest catch of his NFL career.
The Plays Belonged to the Giants Offense.
But the Day and the Game Belonged to the Giants Defense
Right from the start it was the Giants defense that set the tone of the game. The Giants defense was in Brady's grill the entire night. The pressure defense of the Giants that bought home the Lombardi trophy and the Super Bowl Championship. New England QB Tom Brady was sacked four times, hit 16 times and pressured 23 times.
At the end, the Giants defense left Tom Brady and the New England Patriots with 10 seconds and a fourth down with 20 yards to go for the first down. Jay Alford's sack for a 10-yard loss with 19 seconds to play left the Patriots hoping for a miracle. And that miracle never came as Corey Webster broke up the long bomb to Randy Moss. The New England Patriots turned the ball over on downs to the New York Giants with one second left on the clock. With one snap and a knee the Giants were Super Bowl XLII Champions.
Super Bowl XLII: First Quarter
The Giants won the toin coss and elected to receive. Eli Manning and the rest of the Giants offense started the game on a crisp note putting together a time-consuming, 16-play drive. However, the Giants had to settle for a 32-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes. The drive had started on the Giants' own 23-yard Line. The drive netted 63 yards and four first downs. The time of possession was nine minutes and 59 seconds.
Giants 3, Patriots 0
With 5:01 left in the first quarter, New England Patriots running back Laurence Maroney returned the Giants' kickoff 43 yards to New England's 44-yard line. QB Tom Brady threw an incompletion on the first play of the drive. But Laurence Maroney came back with two rushes for nine and five yards. Brady's second pass was incomplete as well. The Brady strung two completions together (Stallworth seven yards / Welker eight yards) and the Patriots were on the Giants 35-yard line. The Patriots earned another first down as the drove the ball to the Giant's 17-yard line. Uncharacteristically, Tom Brady had thrown two incompletions in a row. With third and 10 on the 17, it looked like the Giants had dodged the bullet. However, Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce was penalized for defensive pass interference in the end zone.
The ball was spotted at the one-yard line. Laurence Maroney was stopped for no gain on first down as the first quarter came to an end.
The two total possessions in the first quarter set a Super Bowl record for least possessions in a Super Bowl quarter.
Super Bowl XLII: Second Quarter
On the first play of the second quarter, Maroney went off the right guard and scored on a one-yard run. Gostkowski converted the PAT. New England's touchdown drive went 12 plays for 56 yards. Time of possession was five minutes and four seconds.
Patriots 7, Giants 3
Gostkowski ensuing kick-off went out of bounds and the Giants were awarded the ball on the 40-yard line. On third and seven, Manning passed deep left to Amani Toomer for 38 yards. Toomer's catch of Manning's lob was amazing as he managed to keep both feet inbounds. Brandon Jacob's ability to pick up the blitz and block was the key to the play. It seemed as if the Giants were ready for their second score.
However, on third and five, Eli Manning's short pass to the left was intercepted by Ellis Hobbs at the 10. The bullet pass was intended for Steve Smith. The ball was catchable but went through Smith's hands. Hobbs returned the ball 23 yards.
The first two plays of the drive were to Maroney (reception eight yards; rush one yard). With third and one on their own 42, it looked like the Patriots were ready to put some serious space between themselves and the Giants. But then Butler and Strahan combined to tackle Maroney for a two-yard loss. The Patriots were forced to punt. At this point it was only the third 3-downs-and-out for the Patriots in the entire playoffs.
The Giants did not do much on their next possession as they went three-and-out as well. The Giants defense came back on to the field and held the Patriots again on three downs. The Giants offense fared better on their next possession, but were forced to punt the ball back.
With 1:47 left in the half, the Patriots had the ball on their own 11-yard line. Tom Brady and the Patriots were putting together an impressive drive as they drove the ball to the Giants 44-yard line. However, with 22 seconds in the half and first and 10, pressure from Justin Tuck caused Brady to fumble the ball, which was recovered Osi Umenyiora.
Super Bowl XLII Halftime: Patriots 7, Giants 3
Super Bowl XLII: Third Quarter
The Patriots started with the ball at their own 21-yard line. It seemed like the Giants had the ball back after New England's punt. However, New England Patriot's Coach Bill Belichick challenged the play. Upon review, the Ginats were penalized five yards for too many players on the field. The Giants Chase Blackburn could not get off the field in time. The penalty gave the Patriots a first down at the Giants 39-yard line.
The Giants defense kept it together and forced the New England Patriots with a fourth and 13 on the Giants 31. Instead of attempting a field goal (or punting), Coach Belichick decided to go for it. On the play, Brady was pressured into an incompletion.
For the Giants, this defensive stand despite the penalty and the ensuing offensive drive seemed to be the turning moment of the game.
Super Bowl XLII: Fourth Quarter
The Giants started their drive at their own 20-yard line. On the first play of the drive Eli Manning connected Kevin Boss for a 45-yard gain to the New England 35. A couple of runs by Bradshaw and a 17-yard pass play to Steve Smith had the Giants with a first and 10 on the New England 12. Ahmad Bradshaw's strong run for seven yards gave the Giants a second and three on the Patriots five yard line.
On the ensuing play, Eli Manning connected with Tyree over the middle for a touchdown. Tyne's PAT gave the Giants a 10-7 lead, with 11 minutes and 10 seconds remaining in Super Bowl XLII. The Giants 80-yard touchdown drive took six plays while consuming three minutes and 47 seconds.
With 7:54 left, New England started with the ball at their own 20. This time the Patriots offense was in synch and the Giants defense could not stop Tom Brady, Randy Moss and Wes Welker. The Patriots marched 80 yards down the field on 12 plays while taking a valuable five minutes and 12 seconds off the clock.
The drive was capped by a Tom Brady to Randy Moss connection for six yards to the right. It was one of the few times that the Giants secondary was in single coverage against Moss. On the drive Wes Welker set the Super Bowl record for most receptions in the Super Bowl (11 receptions in a single Super Bowl game).
With 2:42 remaining, it looked as if the Patriots 19-0 destiny was well in hand. But their destiny was disrupted.
Starting at their own 17, the Giants went into their no-huddle offense. The no-huddle had suited Giants QB Eli Manning well throughout the year. Amani Toomer's catch for 11 yards was good for a first down at the 28. On third and 10, Amani Toomer caught another pass for 9 yards falling short of a first down. It was fourth and one with 1:34 left to play and the Giants had no choice but to go for it.
Brandon Jacobs banged up the middle, stretched out his right arm and the ball for two yards and the first down.
Tyree's amazing leap was then followed by Smith's catch. The rookie showed the experience of a veteran as he was smart enough to find the first down marker and to get out of bounds and stop the play clock at 39 seconds. On the following play came the TD pass. It was only Plaxico Burress' second catch of the game but probably the biggest catch of his NFL career.
Final Team Stats
New York Giants
New England Patriots
TOTAL FIRST DOWNS
THIRD DOWN EFFICIENCY
FOURTH DOWN EFFICIENCY
TOTAL NET YARDS
Total Offensive Plays (inc. times thrown passing)
Average gain per offensive play
NET YARDS RUSHING
Total Rushing Plays
Average gain per rushing play
Tackles for a loss-number and yards
NET YARDS PASSING
Times thrown - yards lost attempting to pass
Gross yards passing
PASS ATTEMPTS-COMPLETIONS-HAD INTERCEPTED
Avg gain per pass play (inc.# thrown passing)
KICKOFFS Number-In End Zone-Touchbacks
PUNTS Number and Average
FGs - PATs Had Blocked
Net Punting Average
TOTAL RETURN YARDAGE (Not Including Kickoffs)
No. and Yards Punt Returns
No. and Yards Kickoff Returns
No. and Yards Interception Returns
PENALTIES Number and Yards
FUMBLES Number and Lost
EXTRA POINTS Made-Attempts
FIELD GOALS Made-Attempts
RED ZONE EFFICIENCY
GOAL TO GO EFFICIENCY
TIME OF POSSESSION