Giants 21

(9-7, 5-3 away)

Patriots 17

(13-3, 7-1 home)

Coverage: NBC

6:29 PM ET, February 5, 2012

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN 

1 2 3 4 T
NYG 9 0 6 621
NE 0 10 7 017

Top Performers

Passing: E. Manning (NYG) - 296 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: A. Bradshaw (NYG) - 17 CAR, 72 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: H. Nicks (NYG) - 10 REC, 109 YDS

Eli Manning, Giants thwart Pats again to cap magical run with 4th Super Bowl title

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- Elite and Eli. One and the same.

And now there are two Super Bowl championships and two MVPs to prove it.

Eli Manning is the big man in the NFL after one-upping Tom Brady and leading the New York Giants to a 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots in Sunday's Super Bowl -- in older brother Peyton's house, at that.

"This isn't about one person," Manning insisted. "This is about a team coming together."

A team led by a quarterback who months ago claimed -- to snickers throughout the league -- that he belonged in the same stratosphere as Brady, and then proved it.

Just as Manning did four years ago when the Giants ruined New England's perfect season, he guided them 88 yards to the decisive touchdown, which the Patriots didn't contest as Ahmad Bradshaw ran 6 yards with 57 seconds left.

"Certainly Eli has had a great season. He made some great throws in the fourth quarter, and they deserved to win," Brady said.

They got some help from Patriots coach Bill Belichick, whose late-game risk didn't turn out as he planned. Belichick reasoned the Giants would run the clock down and kick a short field goal, so he gambled by allowing the six points.

The ploy failed.

"Ball was inside the 10-yard line, a 90 percent field goal conversion," he said. "Sure, could have done a better job in a lot of things."

Manning did everything asked of him in the final minutes, a habit for the eight-year veteran. He's beaten the Patriots in two thrilling Super Bowls. The Giants (13-7), who stood 7-7 in mid-December, now own the football world, and Manning owns two Super Bowl MVP awards, the same number as Brady.

It was a classic I-can-top-that showdown with the outcome in doubt until the last desperation pass fell to the turf as the last second ticked off the clock. Manning started the game with nine straight completions, a Super Bowl record; Brady hit 16 straight over the second and third quarters, breaking Joe Montana's Super bowl record of 13.

Manning finished 30 for 40 for 296 yards and one touchdown, while Brady was 27 for 41 for 276 yards with two TDs and one interception.

"It's been a wild game, a wild season," Manning said.

Manning led six comeback victories during the season and set an NFL record with 15 fourth-quarter touchdown passes. He showed that brilliance in the clutch on the winning drive, completing five passes, starting with a sensational 38-yard sideline catch by Mario Manningham.

On second down at the Patriots 6 and with only one timeout remaining, Belichick had his defense stand up as Bradshaw took the handoff. Bradshaw thought about stopping short of the end zone, then tumbled in untouched.

"I was yelling to him, 'Don't score, don't score,' " Manning said. "He tried to stop, but he fell into the end zone."

Brady couldn't answer in the final 57 seconds, although his heave into the end zone on the final play fell just beyond the grasp of lunging All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski. New England (15-4), winner of 10 straight since a loss to the Giants in November, was done.

Brady headed off with his head bowed, holding his helmet, still one short of the record four Super Bowl victories by Terry Bradshaw for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Montana for the San Francisco 49ers.

"Certainly it wasn't one play that was the reason we lost," Brady said. "Everybody feels they could do a little more. I'd rather come to this game and lose than not get here."

All around him was the wild celebration by the Giants, NFL champions for the eighth -- and perhaps most unlikely -- time.

"Great toughness, great faith and great plays by a number of guys today," Manning said, deflecting some of the attention. Still, he beat Brady. And he went one better than Peyton, the Indianapolis Colts quarterback who has one ring of his own but didn't play this season as he recovered from neck surgery.

"It just feels good to win a Super Bowl. It doesn't matter where you are," Manning said.

It was the fifth trip to a Super Bowl for Brady and Belichick, tying the record. And it looked like a successful one when they stormed back from a 9-0 deficit and led 17-9 in the third quarter. But the Giants, who reached New England territory on every possession except a kneeldown at the end of the first half, got field goals of 38 and 33 yards from Tynes. And it looked like Tynes, who kicked them into the Super Bowl four years ago at Green Bay and again this year at San Francisco, both in overtime, would get called on again.

Then Belichick, known to try just about anything in a game, took a risk that didn't pay off.

The Giants are the first Super Bowl winner that was outscored during the regular season. They were 6-2 after that 24-20 victory at New England, then lost four straight and five of six.

Coach Tom Coughlin insisted "the prize" was still within reach. Now the Giants are holding tight to that Vince Lombardi Trophy.

"What I was concerned with was these guys making their own history," Coughlin said. "This is such a wonderful thing, these guys carving their own history."

Coughlin got his own piece of the record book as the oldest coach, at 65, to win a Super Bowl.

It was the Giants' fourth Super Bowl championship, more than any franchise except Pittsburgh with six and San Francisco and Dallas with five, and they became the first team to finish the regular season 9-7 and win the title.

New England had the ball for all of one play in the first 11½ minutes, and that play was an utter failure, a rare poor decision by Brady. After Steve Weatherford's punt was downed at the New England 6, Brady dropped to pass in the end zone and had time. With everyone covered and Giants defensive end Justin Tuck finally coming free to provide pressure, Brady heaved the ball downfield while still in the pocket.

Only problem: No Patriots receivers were anywhere near the pass. The Giants were awarded a safety for Brady's grounding in the end zone.

Manning, meanwhile, couldn't have been more on target early, hitting six receivers in the first period. He also was aided by Bradshaw, who hardly looked like a running back with a bad foot. Bradshaw broke a 24-yard run, and New England made another critical mistake by having 12 men on the field on a third-and-3 on which the Giants fumbled.

Instead, New York got a first down at the 6, and two plays later Victor Cruz beat James Ihedigbo on a slant to make it 9-0, prompting Cruz to break into his signature salsa move.

Manning's first incompletion didn't come until 1:19 into the second quarter.

At that point, it was 9-3 after Stephen Gostkowski's 29-yard field goal. The Patriots got to the Giants' 11, but All-Pro DE Jason Pierre-Paul blocked a third-down pass.

Soon after, when the Patriots had a three-and-out and Pierre-Paul blocked another throw, Belichick and offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien had a quick discussion. Then O'Brien, soon to take over as Penn State coach, went over to the struggling Brady.

The talk must have helped. On the final series of the opening half, Brady was masterful. Starting at his 4, and ignoring the last time the Patriots began a series in the shadow of the end zone, he was vintage Brady.

With New York's vaunted pass rush disappearing, Brady went 10-for-10 for 98 yards, capping the drive that included two Patriots penalties with Woodhead's 4-yard TD reception with 8 seconds to go in the half. Hernandez and Woodhead each had four catches on the drive that, stunningly, put New England ahead despite being outplayed for so much of the first 30 minutes.

Brady kept firing -- and hitting -- in the third quarter, with five more completions. The Giants didn't come within shouting distance of the record-setting quarterback. He capped a 79-yard drive to open the second half with a 12-yard TD to Hernandez, but then the game turned. Again.

Consecutive field goals by Lawrence Tynes of 38 and 33 yards brought New York within 17-15. Brady then threw deep for his tight end after weaving away from two pass rushers. His throw was short, and Chase Blackburn picked it off early in the fourth quarter.

Although the Giants moved into New England territory again, as they did on every drive to that point, they bogged down and punted.

In the end, though, New York made the critical plays, just as it did in 2008. With Manning in the lead.

"Two hundred and twenty-eight countries just saw Eli," running back Brandon Jacobs said. "I don't have to say anything."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs2621
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays7162
Total Yards396349
Yards per play5.65.6
Total Drives99
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-32-3
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

nygSF9:00Penalty on Tom Brady, Intentional Grounding In Own End Zone
Drive info: 1 plays, -6 yds, 0:00
nygTD3:29Victor Cruz 2 Yard Pass From Eli Manning (Lawrence Tynes Kick is Good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 78 yds, 5:28
neFG13:52Stephen Gostkowski 29 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 10 plays, 60 yds, 4:36
neTD0:15Danny Woodhead 4 Yard Pass From Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 14 plays, 96 yds, 3:55
neTD11:25Aaron Hernandez 12 Yard Pass From Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 79 yds, 3:40
nygFG6:47Lawrence Tynes 38 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 10 plays, 45 yds, 4:37
nygFG0:40Lawrence Tynes 33 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 9 plays, 33 yds, 5:01
nygTD1:04Ahmad Bradshaw 6 Yard Run (D.J. Ware Run For Two-Point Conversion is No Good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 88 yds, 2:49

Research Notes

Tom Coughlin's career as Giants head coach is nearly identical to that of Bill Parcells. Both won over 70 regular season games in 8 seasons and made 5 playoff appearances. Coughlin and Parcells each won their 1st Super Bowl in their 4th year with the G-Men and their 2nd Super Bowl in year 8.
From Elias: The Giants are the 6th franchise among NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB teams to win a league championship in at least 4 consecutive decades. (FOR SPORTS WITH SEASONS OVERLAPPING CALENDAR YEARS, THE 1st YEAR IS INCLUDED, i.e. 1999-00 LAKERS WON A TITLE IN THE '90s.)
NEXT LEVEL: Tom Brady was sacked once when four defensive ends - Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Mathias Kiwanuka - were on the field, coming on the Patriots' final drive. The four played 9 of 62 (14.5 percent) snaps together Sunday.
NEXT LEVEL: Eli Manning relied on his wide receivers down the stretch, throwing his final 11 passes with at three wide receivers on the field coming after Jake Ballard's injury. Manning was much better with such personnel than he was against the Patriots in Week 9 when they were without Hakeem Nicks.
NEXT LEVEL: Hakeem Nicks was effective on throws less than 15 yards downfield, catching all 9 of his targets. It is the fourth time all season a receiver has been targeted at least 9 times on throws 14 yards or less and caught all of them.
Tom Brady and the Patriots ran 72 plays with a no-huddle offense in the first two games of the playoffs, accounting for over half of their plays from scrimmage. However, in Super Bowl XLVI the Patriots ran the no huddle for only 10 plays, using it on only three drives- two of which ended in touchdowns.
NEXT LEVEL: On Sunday, Tom Brady completed 16 of his 25 passes with at least two tight ends on the field for 158 yards, his lowest total in any game with both Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski active. Brady's 6.3 yards per attempt with at least two tight ends on the field was 2 full yards below his 8.3 season average.

ManningEli Manning engineered his second fourth-quarter comeback in as many Super Bowl appearances and it was eerily similar to his first one four years ago.

NEXT LEVEL: Eli Manning threw 80 percent of his passes fewer than 15 yards downfield, tied for his third-highest percentage in a game this season. Manning took what the Patriots defense gave him, tying a season-high by completing 87.5 percent of his passes on such throws.
Tom Brady was 0 for 5 when passing more than 20 air yards downfield in Super Bowl XLVI, including the intentional grounding that led to a safety and his lone interception of the game. The last time Tom Brady failed to complete a pass of that length in at least five attempts was Super Bowl XLII (0-8).
NEXT LEVEL: The Patriots began the game with their base 3-4 defense on the field for 8 of the Giants' first 11 plays, and used it 56 percent of the time in the first half. They then switched to their base 4-3 predominantly in the second half, and allowed twice as many yards per play in the process.
Wes Welker had a crucial drop on 2nd-and-11 with 4:06 remaining in the game on a pass thrown 23 air yards down the field that would have given New England possession in the red zone. Welker was credited with five drops in the first 18 games of the season, none on a throw more than 10 air yards downfield.
The Giants picked up 100 yards after contact on offense in Super Bowl XLVI, something they did in three of their four playoff wins. They were 5-0 overall this season when gaining more than 100 yards after contact. In the regular season, the Giants picked up 100 yards after contact just twice (Week 3 vs Eagles, Week 16 vs Jets).
NEXT LEVEL: The Patriots ran 56.5 percent of their plays with Aaron Hernandez lined up in the slot and gained 220 of their 349 yards (6.3 yards per play) from that formation. Hernandez caught 6 passes for 61 yards and a touchdown from the slot.

BradyTom Brady was under duress or sacked on 14 of 43 dropbacks Sunday, including half of his dropbacks in the fourth quarter, and five times on the final drive.

NEXT LEVEL: Rob Gronkowski was on the field for 45 of the Patriots' 62 plays (72.6 percent), his lowest percentage of plays on the season. The Patriots gained 255 yards with Gronkowski on the field (5.7 yards per play). However, he was only thrown to 3 times for 26 yards and was the intended target on Brady's interception.

ESPN Stats & Information