Feb 062012
 
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Giants Win 8th NFL Championship: The New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots 21-17 on Sunday evening to win the franchise’s eighth NFL Championship, and fourth Super Bowl trophy. The Giants scored the game-winning touchdown drive on their final possession, driving 88 yards in nine plays to score with 57 seconds left in the game. QB Eli Manning, who finished the game 30-of-40 for 296 yards, 1 touchdown, and no interceptions, was named the game’s MVP.

The Giants received the football to start the game. The Giants were able to gain 35 yards and three first downs, but then were forced to punt. Steve Weatherford’s kick was downed at the Patriots’ 6-yard line. On the first offensive snap for the Patriots, QB Tom Brady was flagged with intentional grounding in the end zone, resulting in a safety and a 2-0 lead for the Giants.

After New England’s free kick following the safety, the Giants drove the ball 78 yards in nine plays to take a 9-0 advantage on Manning’s 2-yard touchdown pass to WR Victor Cruz. The big gain on the drive was a 24-yard run by HB Ahmad Bradshaw. The Giants got a huge break later on the drive. Cruz fumbled the ball away to the Patriots after a short 4-yard reception on 3rd-and-3. The turnover was erased however by a penalty on the Patriots as they had too many men on the field.

The Patriots responded with a 10-play, 60-yard drive on their second possession of the game to cut the Giants’ lead to 9-3.

The Giants had two more possessions in the first half but both resulted in punts after each picked up two first downs. Meanwhile, the Patriots went three-and-out on their third possession.

On New England’s final drive of the first half, Brady moved his team 96 yards in 14 plays to take a 10-9 lead with 8 seconds to go before the break. Brady hit HB Danny Woodhead for a 4-yard score on 3rd-and-3.

The Patriots extended their lead to 17-9 on their first possession early in the third quarter by driving the ball 79 yards in 8 plays as Brady found TE Aaron Hernandez for a 12-yard touchdown. The Patriots would not score again in the game.

On the Giants’ first possession of the third quarter, New York drove 45 yards in 10 plays to set up a successful 38-yard field goal by PK Lawrence Tynes. Patriots 17 – Giants 12. The key play on the drive was an 8-yard reception by WR Hakeem Nicks on 3rd-and-4.

The Patriots went three-and-out on their second possession of the half when DE Justin Tuck sacked Brady on 3rd-and-8. The Giants then responded with another field goal by driving 33 yards in 9 plays. Tynes’ 33-yard field goal cut the Patriots’ lead to 17-15. FB Henry Hynoski made a huge play on this possession by recovering a fumble by Nicks after a 17-yard reception.

On New England’s ensuing possession, LB Chase Blackburn picked off Brady at the Giants’ 8-yard line on a deep pass intended for TE Rob Gronkowski early in the fourth quarter. The Giants were able to move the football to the Patriots 38-yard line, but the drive stalled and the Giants punted. On this possession, RG Chris Snee saved the day by recovering a fumble by Bradshaw at the Giants’ 11-yard line.

With 9:24 to play, New England managed to drive 48 yards in 11 plays and take 5:38 off of the clock. But the Patriots missed an opportunity to ice the game when WR Wes Welker could not hold onto a 2nd-and-11 deep pass. The Patriots punted two plays later from the Giants’ 44-yard line.

With 3:46 to go, and trailing by two points, the Giants began their final possession of the game from their own 12-yard line. The biggest play of the drive was a phenomenal 38-yard sideline reception by WR Mario Manningham to start the possession. The play gave the Giants a first down at midfield. Two plays later, Manning found Manningham again for 16 yards. Two plays after that, Manning hit Nicks for 14 down to the New England 18-yard line with two minutes to play. Bradshaw gained 7 yards, Nicks 4 yards, and then Bradshaw 1 yard. Then on 2nd-and-goal from the 6-yard line, Bradshaw scored on a run up the middle with 57 seconds left to play. The Giants’ 2-point conversion attempt failed and New York led 21-17.

The Patriots had one last chance. After two incompletions and a 6-yard sack by Tuck, Brady was able to convert on 4th-and-16 by finding WR Deion Branch for 19 yards. He followed that up with an 11-yard reception to Hernandez that moved the ball to the New England 44-yard line with 17 seconds after Brady spiked the football. A 5-yard penalty on Tuck moved the ball to the 49-yard line, but the Patriots were not able to complete their final three passes, including a Hail Mary into the end zone on the game’s final play.

Offensively, aside from Manning’s numbers, Nicks finished the game with 10 catches and 109 yards. Bradshaw carried the football 17 times for 72 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, LB Michael Boley led the team with 10 tackles. Tuck had both of the Giants’ sacks. Blackburn had the game’s only turnover.

Highlights/lowlights of the game are available at NFL.com.

The trophy presentation video and post-game celebration video are also available at NFL.com.

Injury Report: TE Travis Beckum left the game in the 2nd quarter with a torn ACL in his right knee. TE Jake Ballard left the game in the 4th quarter with a torn meniscus in his left knee – not the same knee with the partially-torn PCL. DE Dave Tollefson broke his hand and dislocated a finger.

Post-Game NFL Network Interviews: Video clips of NFL Network interviews with the following Giants are available at NFL.com:

  • Head Coach Tom Coughlin (Video)
  • QB Eli Manning (Video)
  • HB Ahmad Bradshaw (Video)
  • HB Brandon Jacobs (Video)
  • WR Victor Cruz (Video)
  • DE Justin Tuck (Video)

Post-Game Notes: Inactive for the Giants were HB Da’Rel Scott, WR Ramses Barden, OC Jim Cordle, OT James Brewer, DE Justin Trattou, DT Jimmy Kennedy, and LB Mark Herzlich.

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Eric Kennedy

Founder and owner of BigBlueInteractive.com, which is now entering its 20th season. Follow Eric on Twitter @BigBlueInteract.

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