First Quarter: Giants go a Marchin'
The Giants knew heading into Super Bowl XLII that a scoring drive to start the game would do wonders for their cause. Mission accomplished. With a time elapsed of 9:59, Eli Manning engineered the longest drive in Super Bowl history. While they settled for three, New York established it could move the ball. However, as the quarter ended, it did so with the Pats at the Giants 1-yard line.
Key play: The late-quarter third-and-10 pass interference call on Antonio Pierce that gave the Pats the ball at the Giants 1.
Second guess: Kevin Gilbride's decision to run Brandon Jacobs wide on second-and-10 from the Pats 17. He was dropped for a loss of one.
Second quarter: Turnover Time
After New England scored on the quarter's first play to take a 7-3 lead, a turnover frenzy ensued. First, Steve Smith couldn't handle Manning's pass at the New England 10 and Elli Hobbs picked it off. Then Manning fumbled trying to hand the ball to Ahmad Bradshaw, but the rookie back recovered it. Finally, Manning was sacked and fumbled again, but New York was able to retain the ball.
Key play: Obviously Smith's mishandling of an accurate Manning pass cost the Giants at least three points.
Second guess: New England's decision to try to make a play instead of playing it safe on a third-and-17 from its own 23-yard line resulted in a seven-yard Justin Tuck sack.
Third Quarter: Holdin' On
The Pats held the ball for more than eight minutes to start the quarter, but New York's defense refused to budge. Each club had one additional unsuccessful drive before the final period rolled around.
Key play: Chase Blackburn's inability to get off the field before a Pats punt ultimately didn't hurt the Giants, but it gave New England the ball back after the Giants defense had held.
Second guess: Bill Belichick's decision to try to convert a fourth-and-13 from New York's 31 still boggles the mind. He eschewed a chance to extend a 7-3 lead with a 48-yard field goal try in perfect conditions, instead attempting a very low percentage deep pass.
Fourth Quarter: Eli's Time
Eli Manning, as he has so often in his career, took over in the fourth quarter. Manning tossed two TDs in the final period and the Giants were headed home with the hardware. Of course, not to be totally outdone, Tom Brady led his own lengthy drive in between, giving New England a 14-10 lead.
Key play: Manning somehow shook off multiple tackle attempts on a third-and-five play near midfield and connected with David Tyree for a 32-yard gain.
Second guess: New York's only non-scoring drive never had a prayer after a Jacobs run up the middle was followed by a deep ball to Plaxico Burress, which left Manning in a third-and-nine situation.
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