Was Super Bowl XLVI won, or was it lost?
Quarterback Eli Manning was named Super Bowl XLVI MVP. He threw for nearly 300 yards with a touchdown to lead the Giants over the Patriots 21-17. Manning became the eleventh quarterback to win two Super Bowls.
The NFL season came to a close Sunday, Feb. 6 when the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots, 21-17. With strong performances by both quarterbacks, game-changing plays and a Hail Mary at the end of the game, Super Bowl XLVI certainly lived up to the hype. Now the question at hand is, did the Giants win the game or did the Patriots lose the game?
I am going to first take the stance that the Giants won the game. Although both quarterbacks played well, there is no question that Eli Manning outplayed Tom Brady. Manning finished the game 30 of 40 with 296 yards and a touchdown. His quarterback rating was 103.8. Although Brady tossed one more touchdown than Manning, he also had a crucial interception late in the game. His rating was a 91.1. So looking at the game from a quarterback's perspective, the Giants earned the win.
The Giants also won the ground battle. As a team, they rushed for 114 yards. Ahmad Bradshaw racked up 72 of those yards on 17 carries and also scored a touchdown. The Pats rushed for 83 yards and scored no touchdowns. The Giants rushing attack also helped sustain longer drives. They controlled the ball for almost 15 minutes longer than the Patriots.
Winner of the defensive battle also goes to the G-men. They forced the only turnover of the game and obviously allowed fewer points than the Pats. Although New England recorded one more sack than New York, the Giants got more hits on Brady than the Pats did on Manning. Also, the Giants defense was credited with a safety, although Brady should be held responsible for the points, since it came off an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone.
Now let's flip the script and look at the other side. Nothing hurt the Patriots worse than their own miscues. The fact that the Patriots committed one more penalty than the Giants is not significant, but the penalties that they committed were.
The Giants first touchdown would have ceased to exist had New England not had too many men in the huddle. On the play that they were flagged, on wide receiver Victor Cruz fumbled the ball in the red zone and it was recovered by the Patriots. The penalty erased the fumble, giving Manning the opportunity to hit Cruz in the end zone a few plays later.
The other major penalty was Brady's intentional grounding penalty in his own end zone. Who would have bet that Brady's first pass attempt of the game would result in two points for the defense? It was completely inexcusable and uncharacteristic for a quarterback of his stature.
When people look back on this game, one play will be talked about more than any other. The dropped ball by the sure-handed wide receiver, Wes Welker. Don't get me wrong, it was not an easy catch, but Welker has caught harder passes in his career. The crucial drop came late in the fourth quarter. Had Welker hauled in the deep pass, the Patriots would have been in a great position to go up on the Giants with little time left in the game.
So what is the answer? Did the Giants win the game or did the Patriots lose it? I'm leaving it up to you to decide. The only definite answer following the game is the Giants are world champions. Let the off season begin.
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