Monday, February 6, 2012

Eli Puts Team on Back, Giants upset Pats in XLVI

 The G-Men have done it again folks. Eli Manning straight up put the team on his back, completing 30-40 passes for 296 yard and a TD, as the Giants went on to win their 2nd Super Bowl in 4 years (in dramatic fashion to say the least). Manning set a SB record with a 75% completion percentage (min. 40 attempts), as he became the 3rd QB in history to compile multiple career game-winning drives in the 4th/OT in the SB (Brady & Bradshaw are the others). Eli became the first QB to win two postseason starts against Tom Brady, as well as the only Giants QB to have multiple rings (as the starting QB). With 3:46 left to go in the 4th (Giants trailing 17-15 from their own 12 yard line), Eli completed 5-6 passes for 74 yards, including an unbelievable 38 yard ball to Manningham (clutch throw/catch), and drove the G-Men down the field for the clinching TD. Eli is now 7-1 in road/neutral site playoff games (NFL record) and is one of only five players to win multiple SB MVP's (Starr, Bradshaw, Montana, & Brady).

With all that being said, I can't deny the fact that Eli is a future Hall of Famer (I honestly never thought I would say that, but barring some sort of freak injury or something, he'll get in). In a day in age where championships define us, Eli now has 2 rings and finds himself only one behind greats like Brady and Aikman (2 behind legends like Bradshaw and Montana). Manning carried his team the entire season and nobody deserves a ring on that team more than him, which wasn't necessarily the case in the Giants last SB appearance. In '07-'08, some wondered whether the defense was the primary reason for their SB success (it was even suggested that Justin Tuck should have won the SB MVP that year instead of Manning). This year was different though. Eli outplayed Brady last night and was ultimately the reason they won.

As per Coughlin (now the oldest SB winning coach in history), all the credit in the world to him. He out coached Belichick yet again (2nd time in SB), as his G-Men proved (yet again) that they have the Patriots number (I think its 4-0 since the '07-'08 SB if you include preseason, but not positive). The Giants were an awfully talkative bunch leading up to the SB, but they backed it up on the field, and you have to respect them for that. The Giants proved me wrong (I said Pats 34-31) yet again, but this victory doesn't surprise me, unlike the one in '07-'08 when they legit shocked the world.

JPP was an absolute force (he knocked down several Brady passes, and I think he got a sack), as well as Justin Tuck, who was responsible for the first quarter safety (he also added two sacks and had multiple qb hurries and knockdowns). Hakeem Nicks had a big day at receiver (I think he had 10 for 109) and helped convert several 3rd downs, which turned out to be the deciding factor in the game in my opinion. Cruz had an early TD, fumbled (but the Giants recovered), then disappeared for a while, returning to make a catch or two in the 4th if I'm not mistaken, and we all know what Manningham did.

As for the Patriots, the team as a whole was sloppy at times (they had numerous unnecessary penalties, including the 12 men on field one that nullified the Cruz fumble). Belichick was pretty much outcoached by Coughlin, and uncharacteristically seemed rattled in the 4th quarter, as it appeared he unsurely tossed the challenge flag (on the Manningham catch) becuase he saw Eli rushing to the line to get the play off. Without that timeout, the Pats were unable to stop the clock at the end and had to allow Bradshaw to score, which ultimately lost them the game (if they had that timeout, Tynes would have had to  kick a FG with 1 min. left as opposed to 20 seconds). Not only did the Pat's lose the turnover battle, but they couldn't capitalize on certain opportunities (like loose balls). In their two SB loses to the G-Men, the Pats have forced a total of 4 fumbles, but recovered none of them (that pretty much sums it up right there).

Tom Brady started off shaky (completing just 4-7 passes and had that safety), but responded by setting a SB record with 16 straight completions, but ultimately fell short. The 3-time champion was far from flawless. He underthrew Rob Gronkowski on a broken play, who had gotten behind Blackburn, but Brady underthrew him and it resulted in a gamechanging interception. Brady had essentially a game sealing opportunity to hit Welker (on third down I believe), but threw it slightly behind him, and although it was a tough catch, he had it and dropped it (mutually inexcusable), which forced the punt that led the Giant's game winning drive. Gronk was basically a non-factor (2 maybe 3 catches), while Hernandez was utilized (10 catches I think), but it proved to not be enough. Deion Branch made a few catches, but had a huge drop on the final drive, which pretty much killed any realistic chance for the Pats to get a TD.

Anyways, credit is given where credit is due, and for the 2nd time in 4 years (this time with a 9-7 regular season record), the Giants show the world that truly anything is possible. (Shout out to my boy Ben, a true giants fan from the start).

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