INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, February 6 – Ahmad Bradshaw ran six yards for the deciding touchdown with 57 seconds remaining to give the New York Giants a 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 46.
It was the fourth Super Bowl triumph for the Giants, who also defeated the Patriots in the 2008 NFL championship spectacle and captured the crown in 1987 and 1991.
Before a crowd of 68,658 spectators at the dome-enclosed stadium where his older brother Peyton stars for the Indianapolis Colts, New York’s Eli Manning guided the Giants on an 88-yard touchdown drive in the closing minutes capped by Bradshaw’s scoring run.
“It just feels good to win a Super Bowl no matter where you are or what stadium it is,” Manning said.
Manning was named the game’s Most Valuable Player after completing 30-of-40 passes for 296 yards and a touchdown.
New England took over needing a touchdown in the dying seconds but Tom Brady, who had already set records in the game for consecutive completions and completions in a row at the start of the game, could not pull off a miracle.
Brady made two late throws to the end zone from midfield, the last on the game’s final play, but New York defenders made certain they would not be denied a fairy-tale finish after starting the season 7-7 and winning six games in a row for the title when one defeat would have doomed their unlikely title dream.
Clinging to a 17-15 lead, the Patriots were shut down near midfield and forced to punt, the Giants taking the ball at their own 12-yard line with 3:46 to play.
Manning completed a 38-yard pass to Mario Manningham that was confirmed on a video replay challenge to put New York at midfield, hit Manningham again for another 16 yards and Hakeem Nicks for 14 more to reach New England’s 18-yard line with 2:00 remaining.
Three plays later, Bradshaw ran untouched into the end zone for a touchdown that gave the Giants a 21-17 lead.
A two-point conversion run failed, leaving 57 seconds for the Patriots to try and score a touchdown to win the game.
New England’s only chance was to surrender the touchdown because otherwise the Giants could have been able to run the clock almost to zero and have a chance at a short field goal to win the game.
The Patriots got their opportunity, but the Giants were not to be denied.
“At half-time I said we can play better than this. They agreed,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. “We came out energized in the second half and the rest is history.”
Brady threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Danny Woodhead with eight seconds to play in the second quarter to give the Patriots a 10-9 half-time lead, the score capping a 96-yard drive.
The Patriots began the second half with another touchdown march, this one of 79 yards and finished off by Brady’s 12-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Aaron Hernandez to put New England ahead 17-9 only 3:40 into the third quarter.
New York answered on field goals of 38 and 33 yards by Lawrence Tynes to pull within 17-15 entering the fourth quarter.
Brady was intercepted on the second play of the fourth quarter by New York’s Chase Blackburn, but New England’s defense forced the Giants to punt, setting the stage for the dramatic finish.
Two Patriots penalties in the shadow of their own end zone helped the Giants seize a nine-point lead after only 11:36 had elapsed.
New York opened the scoring 6:08 into the game when Brady was whistled for an intentional grounding penalty while standing in the end zone on New England’s first offensive play, the rare defensive score giving the Giants a 2-0 edge.
On the ensuing New York possessions, New England’s Sterling Moore forced a fumble from Giants receiver Victor Cruz and the Patriots recovered, but the play was wiped out by a penalty, New England having had too many men on the field.
Two plays later, Eli Manning flipped a two-yard touchdown pass to Cruz and the Giants led 9-0.
New England also had to settle for a 29-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal to pull within 9-3 just 72 seconds into the second quarter after Jason Pierre-Paul batted down a Brady pass to shut down a 60-yard drive.