The Giants drove 88 yards for what would be the winning touchdown, a series highlighted by an incredible pass and catch from Eli Manning to Mario Manningham that covered 38 yards.
With one minute left in the game, the Patriots allowed the Giants to score. Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw ran up the middle untouched for six yards. Just before crossing the goal line, he tried to stop and go down at the one-yard line in order to ensure New York retained possession for a few seconds longer. But his momentum pushed him into the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown. The Giants’ two-point conversion attempt failed. New York led, 21-17.
On the Patriots’ ensuing possession, New York defensive end Justin Tuck sacked Brady on third and 10 at the 14-yard line. On fourth and 16, Brady completed a 19-yard pass to Deion Branch to keep the drive alive.
Brady took the game’s final snap at the New England 49-yard line. His pass attempt into the end zone fell was tipped in the air and fell just beyond the hands of diving Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, sealing the Giants’ Super Bowl victory.
After a slow start on offense – the Giants had the ball for nearly twice as long as the Patriots in the first half – New England tied for the second-longest touchdown drive in Super Bowl history to end the second quarter and then maintained that momentum to start the second half.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady topped off an eight play, 79-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown pass to tight end Aaron Hernandez on the opening drive of the third quarter. The score extended New England’s lead to 17-9.
The touchdown pass marked Brady’s 16th straight completion dating back to the first half. That drive also included a 21-yard completion to Chad Ochocinco, who was inactive for New England’s AFC title game win over the Baltimore Ravens two weeks earlier due to the death of his father.
The Giants continued to eat up the game clock with their ensuing drive, gaining yards in steady chunks rather than large gains. But New York’s movement stalled just outside the red zone, and the Giants had to settle for a 38-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes. The kick cut New York’s deficit to five.
New York defensive end Justin Tuck sacked Brady to force a New England three-and-out and give the Giants the ball just past midfield. The Giants received a scare when receiver Hakeem Nicks fumbled after hauling in a 17-yard completion, but New York fullback Henry Hynoski recovered the ball at the 33-yard line.
After Manning was sacked on third and eight from the nine-yard line, Tynes connected on a 33-yard field goal. New England led, 17-15, when the third quarter came to a close.
After a 10-play, 60-yard drive, Patriots placekicker Stephen Gostkowski hit a 29-yard field goal on the fourth play of the second quarter. The Giants led, 9-3.
After completing his first nine passes, Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw the ball away on first and 10 from New York’s 20-yard line on the next series. Manning later completed a 15-yard pass down the middle to Hakeem Nicks, but New York’s drive stalled. The Giants were penalized for illegal substitution following an incomplete pass and punted three plays later.
Another Giants drive stopped just past midfield after running back Ahmad Bradshaw carried the ball three times for 16 yards and caught a pass for eight yards. On third and one, New York running back Brandon Jacobs burst up the middle for first-down yardage, but the Giants were whistled for holding, a critical penalty that cost the Giants. Manning’s deep pass intended for Mario Manningham was incomplete on third and 11, forcing New York to punt. Giants punter Steve Weatherford pinned the Patriots down at their own four-yard line.
New England began its next drive with a false start, which pushed the Patriots back to their own two-yard line. But New England worked its way out of the hole, and Brady later completed a 20-yard pass to tight end Rob Gronkowski, whose status for the game was uncertain due to an injured ankle.
The Patriots crossed midfield on consecutive completions to tight end Aaron Hernandez, but New England’s progress was temporarily delayed by a holding penalty. Brady completed a 12-yard pass to Hernandez on third down to keep the drive alive. Consecutive completions to running back Danny Woodhead moved the Patriots to the three-yard line. Brady found Woodhead once again two plays later for a four-yard touchdown pass with eight seconds remaining in the half. The extra point put New England on top entering halftime, 10-9.
The Patriots’ 96-yard touchdown drive tied for the longest in Super Bowl history.
On their first possession, the Giants moved into New England territory on a second down completion from Eli Manning to Hakeem Nicks, but their momentum came to a halt there. Manning was sacked on two of the next three plays, and New York was forced to punt.
Giants punter Steve Weatherford pinned the Patriots down at their six-yard line. On first and 10, New York defensive end Justin Tuck pressured Patriots quarterback Tom Brady into an incomplete pass down the middle of the field. No New England receivers were near the throw, and Brady was penalized for intentional grounding. Since he threw the ball from the end zone, the play resulted in a safety for the Giants and a 2-0 lead.
New England punted on the ensuing series, and the Giants took over at their own 22-yard line. On second and three, Ahmad Bradshaw ran left, gave a stiff-arm and sprinted up the sideline for a 24-yard gain into Patriots territory.
New York continued to march forward, and on third and three from the Patriots 11-yard line, Manning completed a five-yard pass to Victor Cruz. The Patriots forced a fumble on the play and recovered, but the turnover was nullified because New England had 12 players on the field. Two plays later, Manning completed a two-yard touchdown pass to Cruz. The extra point gave the Giants a 9-0 lead.
New England was threatening as the first quarter ended.
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