First halves don't come much worse than that, do they? Right from the start, the New England Patriots looked flat and confused, and it showed. Tom Brady's first pass attempt in the endzone to no target in particular down the middle of the field was called for intentional grounding. In the endzone, that's a safety. Just like that, the Giants lead 2-0. Ugly, ugly.
It didn't get much better for the Patriots, would couldn't get much of anything going on either side of the ball until the second quarter. Meanwhile, Eli Manning was razor sharp, completing his first nine passes before finding UMass product Victor Cruz for a two-yard touchdown pass with 3:29 left in the first quarter. Not surprisingly, it was a quarter to forget.
The second quarter, though, was much better on the Patriots' end. Brady and the Pats stalled out in the redzone, but Stephen Gostkowski made a 29-yard field goal with 13:52 to go before halftime, trimming the New York lead to six.
After several uneventful drives, Brady and the Patriots got the ball back at their own four yard line with around four minutes to play in the quarter. What ensued was vintage Brady, as he led his troops 96 yards down the field and capped the drive off with a four-yard touchdown pass to Danny Woodhead, his first catch of the year, with 15 seconds left.
Somehow, after that worse-then-horrendous start, the Pats found a way to take a 10-9 lead.
That certainly wasn't the start that Brady or Bill Belichick were probably looking for, and you can bet they're sorting things out in the locker room. Brady finished the quarter out strong, going 10-for-10 on the quarter closing scoring drive and finished the first half with 147 passing yards on 15-of-18 passing.
Meanwhile, Eli Manning and the Giants went the other direction in the half. After a strong start, the Giants petered out and succumbed to Brady's excellence. Manning had 130 passing yards on 13-of-17 passing in the opening half.
Not what anyone was looking for, but I'm sure both teams will take such a close score.
The safety on the Patriots' first offensive play from scrimmage was the first in a Super Bowl since Super Bowl XXV...New England has not scored in the first quarter in the last five Super Bowls it has appeared in, and the Pats have won three...Brady's half-ending drive of 96 yards tied a Super Bowl record for the longest drive in the game's history.