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The New York Giants claimed their second Lombardi Trophy in five years, with Eli Manning leading them from behind in a 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots to win Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, Ind.
Manning lead a nine-play, 88-yard drive that started with 3:46 remaining, capping it off with an Ahmad Bradshaw six-yard plunge with :57 seconds left to give New York the decisive touchdown. The drive was highlighted by a phenomenal 38-yard reception by Mario Manningham where he was able to maintain possession on a close sideline play.
New England quarterback Tom Brady was terrific in the first half, tossing for 147 yards and a touchdown on 15-18 passing. He struggled in the second half however, generating just one scoring drive and passing for only 129 yards, one touchdown and one interception. In the offense’s final four possessions, the team had two punts, one interception, and a failed hail mary to end the game.
Brady finished the afternoon with 276 yards, a pair of touchdowns and one interception in his second straight Super Bowl defeat.
The ground game did not fare any better, gaining just 86 yards on the ground throughout the contest. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was the team’s leading rusher with 44 yards on 10 carries, but the New England ground game was ineffective throughout.
Sophomore tight end Rob Gronkowski was hampered by his ankle injury all evening, finishing the game with only two receptions for 26 yards. Gronkowski was targeted just three times, and he was in and out of the line up in the second half.
Woodhead was critical on New England’s 14-play, 96-yard drive that put the Patriots up 10-9 at the half. The first time Super Bowl participant accumulated 33 yards on that pivotal drive, and finished the first half with 36 yards.
One of the few positives coming out of the heart breaking defeat was the play of Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes. The young tandem each concluded their evenings with 11 tackles and eight solo takedowns each.
One of the few strengths New England had all night was on special teams. They fielded punts well, committed minimal turnovers, and did not allow big returns to the Giant’ returners.
The Patriots were unable to generate any rushing game, finishing the night with 83 yards. In additions to that, the line allowed a pair of sacks to stifle Patriot drives. Another key error was on New England’s first play, in which a slight breakdown in protection resulted in an intentional grounding, giving New York a 2-0 lead on the penalty in the end zone.
Brady’s blunder on that opening snap, coupled with a critical 12-men-on-the-field penalty which allowed the Giants to score a touchdown put the Patriots in a 9-0 hole. A third penalty was an offsides call on New England LB Rob Ninkovich, which prevented a would be Giants punt. New England finished the first half with five penalties for 28 yards.
The rush defense did not play great in the first half, surrendering 70 rushing yards on 16 attempts for a 4.4 average. New York finished with 114 yards, an average of 4.1 yards, which helped the Giants’s dominate the time of possession early with a 19:45-10:15 advantage. The Giants continued their possession edge in the second half, ending the night with a 37:05-22:55 edge.