17 - 14 Final
  for this game

Giants win Super Bowl XLII, spoil Patriots' bid for perfection

Feb 4, 2008 - 5:03 AM By Tom Torrisi PA SportsTicker Pro Football Editor

GLENDALE, Arizona (Ticker) -- Tom Brady once again produced with the game on the line. But this time, it was Eli Manning who authored a perfect ending.

Manning upstaged a clutch performance by Brady with a brilliant effort of his own, rallying the New York Giants to a stunning 17-14 victory over the previously undefeated New England Patriots on Sunday in Super Bowl XLII.

A double-digit underdog, the Giants (14-6) produced one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history when Manning hit Plaxico Burress for the game-clinching 13-yard touchdown pass with just 35 seconds to play.

"That's the position you want to be in," Manning, who was named the game's Most Valuable Player. "You want the ball in your hands - (three) minutes left, go down, you've got to score a touchdown.

"That's where you want to be - a chance to win the game."

Manning's heroics denied the Patriots' bid to become just the second team to complete a perfect season with a Super Bowl championship, matching the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

"This is the greatest feeling in professional sports," Burress said. "For us to come out here and win a world championship tonight - nobody gave us a shot."

"Congratulations to the Giants," New England coach Bill Belichick said. "They made some plays at the end and we didn't. It's disappointing."

The winning touchdown came just over two minutes after Brady had seemingly locked up a fourth title in seven years for New England when he tossed a 7-yard scoring pass to Randy Moss to give the Patriots a 14-10 lead with 2:42 left.

"The New England Patriots are a great team, they really are," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "It wasn't all pretty here tonight, now. We had to battle hard to get this thing. But as I told them last night, 'Other than family, the greatest feeling in the world is when all of a sudden you realize you're a world champion.'"

The much-maligned Manning had more than enough time to answer Brady's touchdown pass and produce the winning score, marching the Giants 83 yards in just 2:07 to win their third Super Bowl - and first in 17 years.

"I'll tell you what, it's the greatest victory in the history of this franchise, without question," Giants owner John Mara said.

Manning kept the winning drive alive by pulling off an imitation of Michael Vick, escaping the grasp of two defenders and lofting a 32-yard pass to David Tyree, who made a sensational leaping catch by pressing the ball against his helmet as he tumbled to the ground at the 24-yard line with 1:15 to play.

"It was just a great catch by David Tyree," Manning said. "I found a way to get loose and just really threw it up. He made an unbelievable catch and saved the game."

"That might be one of the great plays of all-time in the Super Bowl," Coughlin added.

Four plays later, Manning floated a pass to Burress in the left corner of the end zone for the winning score, capping a remarkable run by the resilient Giants.

"It was just a fade route and they came with an all-out blitz," Manning said. "He ran right by him and made a great catch to win the game."

"The offense put us in a great position and a chance to win a Super Bowl," Patriots defensive end Richard Seymour said. "Defensively we didn't get it done."

The dramatic finish also made it two consecutive titles for the Manning family. Peyton Manning led the Indianapolis Colts to a victory over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI last season.

"Watching Peyton win last year and then the Giants win this year, it's just unbelievable," Eli Manning said. "I'm so proud of the guys on this team. We never had doubt, had total faith in ourselves and we believed we would win and we earned it."

New York won three road playoff games en route to capturing the championship as a No. 5 seed, duplicating the feat of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2005.

Manning completed 19-of-34 passes for 255 yards, two touchdowns and an interception - his only one of the postseason - as New York avenged a 38-35 loss to New England (18-1) in the regular-season finale.

"What can you say, you saw the plays (Manning) made," Giants veteran wide receiver Amani Toomer said. "If he got the MVP, he deserved it."

Brady finished 29-of-48 for 266 yards and one TD but was sacked a season-high five times by the relentless New York defense, which limited the record-setting Patriots offense to a season-low point total.

"We had a great season, we just didn't win the game," Brady said. "Tonight doesn't take away anything we have done over the course of the season.

"They are a great team. They are very good on defense. You score 14 points, I think that was our lowest total of the year, and that got us beat."

Wes Welker was one of the few bright spots on offense for New England, tying a Super Bowl record with 11 receptions for 103 yards. He also had 11 catches in the regular-season matchup vs. the Giants.

"You have to give it to them. They played well out there," Welker said. "We've been able to close out games like that. Unfortunately this time we weren't able to. Obviously we came up short."

Giants defensive end Michael Strahan, who along with Toomer was one of two players left over from the team that was clubbed by the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl seven years ago, said this victory erased the memory of that bitter defeat.

"I couldn't imagine a better season with this confetti falling," Strahan said. "I'm glad I got one last shot at least. This team is something else."

With the Giants trailing, 7-3, entering the final quarter, Manning moved the Giants 80 yards in six plays, capping it with a 5-yard scoring pass over the middle to Tyree.

The big plays in the march were completions of 45 yards to rookie tight end Kevin Boss and 17 yards to rookie wide receiver Steve Smith.

It was the first touchdown of the season for Tyree and the first TD allowed by New England's defense in 11 quarters.

"It's a lovely feeling," Tyree said. "I honestly came out here and expected to have a great day."

The Giants turned away the Patriots' best scoring opportunity in the third quarter by coming up with another big sack - this time by Strahan - to force the Patriots into a 4th-and-13 at the 31-yard line.

It was the fourth sack endured by Brady, whose fourth-down pass sailed out of bounds in the end zone after Belichick eschewed a 49-yard field goal attempt.

"Can somebody give out defense some credit?" Burress said. "Them guys were out there playing phenomenal. We just hung in there and kept executing, never got down on ourselves."

The 10 combined points through three quarters were the second-fewest in the history of the game.

New England took a 7-3 into the intermission on Laurence Maroney's 1-yard run on the opening play of the second quarter. The Patriots held the slim lead despite the Giants controlling the ball for 19:27 in the half.

Both teams scored the first time they touched the ball, combining to set a Super Bowl record for fewest possessions in the first quarter with two.

After electing to receive, the Giants ate up 9:59 on their opening drive, culminating in a 32-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes for a 3-0 lead.

"I think their intensity from the beginning snap to the end of the game was really higher than ours," Moss said. "We just couldn't meet that intensity."

Manning was 5-of-7 for 38 yards as New York converted four consecutive third downs before the opening drive stalled at the 14-yard line.

The Patriots answered right back, sparked by a 43-yard kickoff return from Maroney.

The key play was a pass interference call on linebacker Antonio Pierce against New England tight end Benjamin Watson in the end zone.

On the first play of the second quarter, Maroney bulled in from the 1-yard line to put the Patriots in front, 7-3.

"We were in the red zone three times in the beginning," Toomer said. "We dominated the whole game. They were holding on and expecting us to crack. They beat us the first time because we cracked, and this time the Giants came through."