Eli trumps the critics with an unforgettable Super Bowl ending as the Giants upset the Patriots 17-14 in Arizona - see more here. Much like Balboa in Rocky II, the Patriots and Giants traded TD's late in the game, but it was Brady and the Pats that couldn't get up before the ten count as the clock counted down to a stunning victory for NY.
The Patriots narrowly escaped the regular season matchup vs. the Giants in their 1st meeting, so it shouldn't have been a surprise that the game was so close. Yet with so many people feeling that they knew who the best team was and then they proceeded to discount the team that took the Pats the distance in Round One before the Giants fell to the Pats in the final regular season game.
The Giants felt they knew what they had to do to win. This Super Bowl wasn't about the return of Spygate, Tom Brady's ankle, or the most prolific scoring offense in NFL history, but the ability to stand tall vs. a tough opponent. Something should have told the Pats and NFL fans that the Giants match up well against the Patriots and in the NFL match ups count for something. Checking prior history during the '80s the Redskins had all kinds of difficulties with the Giants, but the Bears seemed to have all types of troubles with the Redskins when it mattered most in the post season.
The regular season meeting should have definitely alerted the Pats that this game would be anything but a cake walk. The Giants front four have carried the team to victory and lead the team in all respects. It was their ability to not only take a punch vs. the Pats in the first meeting but strike back. It was one of the few times a team was consistently able to move Brady and dictate where the Pats offense would be led.
Super Bowl XLII was slow at first but slowly and surely it became apparent that the Giants defensive line was dominating the Pats offensive line for which the Pats had only one late drive. This seemed poultry for such a high scoring offense. There were no big plays to be had by Moss or Stallworth or even Maroney. For all the high scoring games by the Pats in the early part of the regular season against teams without such a strong defensive unit, maybe a little more respect and much more smash mouth football against a team with pride who knows exactly what plays will be coming their way. What's more challenging - running up the score and going for it when you feel you'll make it or daring someone to stop you by running the ball? When they know you're running plays and what plays you run. This is smash mouth football.
Unfortunately for the Pats they didn't practice smash mouth football which helped lead them to three Super Bowl wins. They encountered the only team that constantly fought back and sent them flying back as Brady was constantly pressured, knocked down, and sacked. With such a strong pass rush from only four players it allowed the rest of the team to cover and follow their assignments.
No one believed that the Giants defense could hold up over the entire course of a game let alone the often erratic play and timing of Eli Manning would disappear. Although it's unfair to Elway for what he accomplished in his career, Eil led an Elway like performance as he marched down the field, eluded pressure on the key drive and found a way to hook up for a huge first down play that set up the game winning touchdown. It's a play just like this when a player escapes a sure sack and finds a receiver down field for a big play that you know this is part of something very huge.
Just like in the Rocky series, the two teams traded blows but it was the Patriots that just came up short with time expiring. The real questions is do the Pats want a re-match just like in the end of Rocky?
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