The Patriots defensive game plan in Super Bowl XLVI was clear from the Giants first offensive series; they were not going to get beat by the big play.
Give Eli Manning a ton of credit for taking what the Patriots gave him, which was primarily short to mid level crossing routes to his wide receivers and dump offs to the backs and tight ends. He never forced the ball deep into double or triple coverage even if it meant a Giants drive needed to stall for a punt or field goal attempt. Manning’s 38-yard completion to Mario Manningham on the Giants game winning drive got all the headlines on Sunday night but it was the other 29 completions that showed how much Eli has grown and matured as a quarterback.
A popular topic in the media all of last week and after the game was how Manning stacked up to his older brother. Some were appalled at the mere notion that Eli is better than Peyton, which is preposterous considering that Eli has been to as many Super Bowls and won more championships than his brother in half the time. The truth of the matter is that Eli is not a better quarterback overall but he is more clutch and a better big game player. If you want to win 13 games in the regular season I’ll take Peyton but if I had to pick one to win the Super Bowl or direct a game winning drive I’m throwing my chips on Eli’s table.
I don’t care what the stats say when it comes to Ahmad Bradshaw’s reluctant decision to score a touchdown instead of sitting down at the one yard line on the Giants final drive.
When you have a chance to score points and take the lead you do it even if that wasn’t Bradshaw’s intent. If the Giants defense can’t prevent the Patriots from driving 80 yards for a touchdown with one timeout in 57 seconds than they don’t deserve to win the Super Bowl. Also, how do you expect Bradshaw to slow down his momentum on a 6-yard touchdown run when he realized he was going to score at like the 2-yard line?
He tried to stop but it was too late. Even if doesn’t score the Giants would have been boiling their entire season down to one play. That play would have been an 18 yard field goal, which seems like a gimmie, but nothing is a gimmie in the playoffs when it comes to field goals. We have learned that countless times with the most recent example coming last week when Billy Cundiff badly missed a 32 yard field goal that would have pushed the AFC Championship game into overtime.
Speaking of special teams, the Giants coverage units and Steve Weatherford were tremendous Sunday. The Patriots best field position all game was at their own 29 yard line and they started 3 drives inside their own 10. This overlooked unit made huge strides this year compared to the embarrassing special teams play the Giants have had in recent seasons and they were a big reason why the Patriots were only able to muster 17 points.
The Giants offense Sunday wasn’t great but they were effective in manufacturing long drives even if they didn’t conclude in points being scored. If you exclude their kneel down at the end of the first half, the Giants did not have one drive yesterday that lasted less than seven plays. These sustained drives likely played a part in a tired Patriots defense allowing the Giants to march 88 yards in less than three minutes to in the game.
The Giants win Sunday pushed my final playoff record to 9-2 picking against the spread. Now if I had only bet actual money on these games I would have really been on to something.
Thanks for reading Point After all season long. I’ll be back next week with a new weekly series covering the NBA. Title TBD be you can be assured that a play on words with some type of basketball terminology will be involved!
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- A Staff Writer for RotoExperts, Tamer Chamma is a two time top 50 Finalist in the WFAN Fantasy Phenom contest as well as a weekly guest on the SiriusXM "RotoExperts" morning show. Tamer is also a fill-in co-host for the show. You may contact Tamer @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @RotoExperts_TC