Ahmad Bradshaw made a mistake that could have cost his team the game. That mistake? Scoring a touchdown with 57 seconds left, putting the New York Giants up by four points. Alas, the Giants defense came up big and stopped Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, preserving a 21-17 victory in Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday in Indianapolis.
New York has now defeated New England twice in the Super Bowl, doing so also in Super Bowl XLII.
Brady finished with 276 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception for New England. Aaron Hernandez racked up 67 receiving yards on eight catches for one score and Danny Woodhead had four catches for 42 yards and a score.
Eli Manning, who was named the 2012 Super Bowl MVP, threw for 296 yards and one touchdown, including a game-changing deep pass to Mario Manningham (five catches, 73 yards) down the left sideline, similar to the David Tyree catch from Super Bowl XLII, that set up the eventual game-winning touchdown run.
New England came out flat in the first quarter, surrendering nine straight points. Brady was flagged for intentional grounding in the endzone on the Patriots' first offensive play from scrimmage in his own endzone, resulting in a safety -- the first in a Super Bowl since Super Bowl XXV -- to give New York a 2-0 lead with 9:00 to play in the opening quarter.
Manning was on target in the early going, connecting on his first nine pass attempts. Manning found Cruz for a two-yard touchdown pass with 3:29 left in the first, giving the Giants a surprisingly 9-0 early lead at the end of the quarter.
The second quarter, though, was all New England. Brady led the offense down the field on a 10-play, 60-yard drive, but the Pats ran out of gas and had to be content with a 29-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski, cutting the lead to 9-3.
Then, Brady caught fire. New York pinned the Pats inside their own five yard line with nearly four minutes left in the first half, but Brady led his troops on a Super Bowl record-tying 96-yard drive, capped off by a four-yard touchdown pass to Danny Woodhead, who made his first catch of the entire season, with 15 seconds left to secure a 10-9 halftime lead.
Brady led a Pats resurgence to start the third quarter, leading them down the field once again on an eight-play, 79-yard drive spanning 3:40 and found Hernandez for a 12-yard score with 11:25 remaining in the third. Brady had a terrific stretch during the second and third quarters in which he was perfect, completing 16-of-16 passes -- another record. The old record of 13 consecutive completions was held by Brady's idol, Joe Montana.
Ever persistent, the Giants crawled their way back into the game. Lawrence Tynes, who hit the game-winning field goal in overtime of the NFC Championship Game that sent New York back to the Super Bowl, made two field goals -- a 28-yard shot and a 33-yard make -- to bring his team within two points, 17-15, after three quarters of play.