2012 Super Bowl XLVI ‐ New York Giants versus New England Patriots
New York Giants – 21
New England Patriots – 17
February 5, 2012
In a highly anticipated rematch from Super Bowl XLII, and a rare meeting between former Super Bowl MVPs Tom Brady and Eli Manning, the New York Giants again proved their prowess as they defeated the New England Patriots 21 – 17 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, in a tight defensive struggle.
The Patriots, looking to avenge their loss in Super XLII, in which the Giants ended the Pats mission to finish the entire season and playoffs undefeated and join the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the only undefeated teams in the Super Bowl era, came into the game as a heavy favorite with a record of 13 wins against only three losses.
The Giants, at 9-7, had struggled through the season, having to win their last two games in order to qualify for the playoffs. Yet they were able to dig deeply within themselves and find the right combination of heart and smarts to not only make the playoffs, but to drive through to the championship.
The game opened rather routinely, the Patriots winning the toss and deferring to the Giants. After returning the opening kick to the 23-yard line, the G-men stalled out at the Patriot 36 and punted, with Zak DeOssie downing the ball at the New England 6-yard line.
On their first play from scrimmage, Patriot’s quarterback Tom Brady was flagged for intentionally grounding the ball. Because the penalty occurred in the end zone, the Giants were awarded a safety, and a 2-0 lead.
After receiving the kick following the safety, the Giants proceeded to march 69 yards to the New England 11 in seven plays. On the eighth play of the drive, New England appeared to catch a break, forcing Victor Cruz to fumble after the catch and recovering the loose ball. However, the Pats were flagged for too many men on the field and the Giants retained possession, scoring two plays later to take a 9-0 lead.
New England opened the second quarter by driving 60 yards for a field goal to close the gap to 9-3. After a series of traded punts, New England got the ball back on their 4-yard line and drove the length of the field to take the lead on a 4-yard pass to Danny Woodhead. The extra point was good, and New England went into the halftime locker room leading 10-9.
The Patriots received the second half-kickoff and picked up where they left off in the first half, moving the ball 79 yards in a brisk eight plays to pad their lead to 17-9. During the drive, they faced only one third down.
Following this score, the New York club was able to sandwich two field goals around a New England punt to narrow the gap to 17-15 entering the final period.
For the bulk of the fourth quarter, the teams exchanged punts, until the Giants took over at the 3:46 mark on their 12-yard line. One the first play from scrimmage, Eli Manning found Mario Manningham deep along the sideline, dropping in a perfectly thrown ball. Manningham was able to get both feet down before being pushed out and the Giants were in business at the 50, and sealing Eli Manning’s second Super Bowl MVP award.
Mixing short passes, and one well-timed run, New York pushed the ball down to the New England 7 with just over a minute to play. With the Giants looking at a sure field goal, and the opportunity to run the clock down to only few seconds before kicking it, the Patriots chose what would become one of the most debated plays in Super Bowl history.
When the Giants handed off to running back Ahmad Bradshaw in an effort to simply center the ball for their kicker, New England chose not to tackle Bradshaw and allowed him to score the go-ahead touchdown unchallenged in order to get the ball back with enough time left to try and score. The Giants’ attempt at a two-point conversion failed, and New England took over at their 20 on the ensuing kick-off.
Unfortunately, the Patriot gamble did not pay-off as the Giants defense rose up, and the Patriots last-gasp attempt ended as a pass to tight-end Aaron Hernandez fell harmlessly to the ground as time expired.
Around the World on February 5th:
- Over 6,000 Americans apply to be astronauts, answering NASA’s call for new recruits for missions to staff the space station.
- Mitt Romney wins the Nevada Caucuses.
- Major snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures paralyze Great Britain.
Around the NFL in 2012:
- Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III drafted numbers 1 and 2, respectively, in the 2012 NFL draft.
- Ray Lewis announces that the 2012 football season will be his last.
- The NFL adopts automatic review of all turnovers.