Eli Manning threw for 296 passing yards and a touchdown to lead the New York Giants (13-7 overall record) to its second world championship in five years as New York edged Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, 21-17, on Feb. 5 in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. New York is now 2-0 all-time against the Patriots (15-4 overall record) in Super Bowls; the Giants upset New England, 17-14, in Super Bowl 2008.

The Giants clinched the championship victory with its defense on the field. Down, 21-17, Brady and the Patriots offense took the field with only 52 seconds left and a timeout, plenty of time for a quarterback like Brady who leads all active players with the most 4th-quarter comebacks. But after a few untimely dropped passes by New England’s receivers, Brady could only move the Patriots to mid field before he ran out of time.

Most Outstanding Player(s) of the Game:
Eli Manning won’t have to convince anyone else that he’s an “elite” quarterback. His performance Sunday was mistake free, as he completed 30-of-40 passes for a game-high 296 yards, a touchdown and a passer-rating of 103.8. He now has two Super Bowl rings, more than any other active quarterback in the league besides Brady (3) and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (2). Eli leaned on star receiver Hakeem Nicks, who hauled in 10 catches for 109 yards. Fellow Giants receiver Victor Cruz caught the only touchdown pass for New York early in the first quarter.

Unsung Heroes of the Game:
The Giants defense did a great job of containing Brady, limiting the big plays he was able to make throughout the game. Most of the attention of New York’s performance will go to their premiere pass-rushers, but it was the Giants linebacker unit that made more plays on Super Bowl Sunday. Giants linebacker Michael Boley helped stuff the Patriots rushing attack with 10 total tackles, while linebacker Chase Blackwell added six total tackles along with an outstanding interception. Blackwell outleaped the Pats tight end Rob Gronkowski for the pick late in the second half to shift momentum in the Giants’ favor.

More Game Notes:
Brady finished the loss completing 27-of-41 passes for 276 yards, two touchdowns, an interception and a 91.1 passer rating. He now has a 3-2 record after appearing in five career Super Bowls.

Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez led the team with eight catches for 67 yards and a touchdown, while veteran receiver Wes Welker followed with seven catches for 70 yards. Welker dropped what would have been a huge catch for New England late in the game.

New England legend Bill Belichik is now 3-2 overall as a head coach in Super Bowls, but he has appeared in seven Super Bowls games if you include his two Super Bowl rings earned as the defensive coordinator for the Giants during the late 1980s. One may hint that Belichik may be cursed by the Giants; he just can’t seem to beat the team that he shares such a rich football legacy with.

Meanwhile, New York’s Tom Coughlin joined the exclusive club of only 13 head coaches in NFL history to win multiple Super Bowls. He engineered a game-plan that kept New England’s explosive offense off the field by keeping the ball in the hands of his own offensive unit for as long as possible. The Giants ruled the time possession battle, holding the ball 38 minutes to the Patriots’ 22 minutes. New York was able to control the clock with its running game, as running back Ahmad Bradshaw rushed for 72 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, while reserve running back Brandon Jacobs added 37 yards on nine carries.

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor