Plaxico Burress Says ‘Thank You’ to Patriots for Leaving Him in Single Coverage for Game-Winning Catch in Super Bowl XLII


Plaxico Burress Says 'Thank You' to Patriots for Leaving Him in Single Coverage for Game-Winning Catch in Super Bowl XLII FOXBORO, Mass. — Wide receiver Plaxico Burress still can’t believe the Patriots left him in single coverage during the decisive play of Super Bowl XLII.

Burress caught the game-winning touchdown pass from Eli Manning to help lift the Giants to a 17-14 victory, and the wide receiver reminisced about the play Wednesday. Burress lined up alone out wide on the left side of the offense, while the Giants had three players wide right. The Patriots sent seven rushers toward Manning, leaving single coverage on all four receivers.

Burress, who is now with the Jets, drew cornerback Ellis Hobbs on that play, and the wide receiver said he studied enough film on Hobbs to know exactly how to beat him in that circumstance, noting Hobbs plants his feet near the goal line once a receiver makes his initial move. Burress faked a slant to force Hobbs to commit at the 5-yard line and then released into a fade route, where he was left wide open for the 13-yard score.

“Eli just told me before we broke the huddle that if they gave me single coverage, we’re going to throw it,” Burress said Wednesday. “I’m just thinking to myself, I said, ‘No way they’re going to single cover me at that time in the game.’ They actually went Cover-0 with no safety help. Having watched so much film on Ellis Hobbs, inside from the 10-yard line to the goal line, noticing that he likes to stop his feet right around the goal line, and I just went up, just made a move, never broke stride and just kept running. I have watched so much film on him that if I had a chance to run that route, I knew exactly how I was going to run it, and it actually came down to film, running that exact route, as I had seen him do and he did exactly what he had shown on tape, and I knew when we lined up that I had a great shot to make the game-winning catch.”

It was mystifying that very day to see the Patriots leave Hobbs on an island against Burress, who is listed at 6-foot-5 and eight inches taller than the cornerback. And while reflecting on the play, Burress is still shocked that he was left alone — not even so much because of the mismatch, but due to the fact that the Patriots hardly ever left him in single coverage.

“Very surprised, they had single covered me maybe a handful of times that whole game,” Burress said. “Coming off the NFC Championship Game (when Burress had 11 receptions for 151 yards against the Packers), and the game that we had in Week [17] in Giants Stadium, they were really focusing on taking me out of the football game. For them to give me that coverage with that on the line, I didn’t think that they would, but thank you.” Burress obviously referred to the touchdown catch as the best moment of his career.

“It’s a part of who I am,” Burress said. “Playing in that Super Bowl, making that catch in the fashion that we did. Making that play on that stage, it’s a part of me. It’s a part of history. To me, it was the greatest Super Bowl ever played. It was a moment that every kid dreams of having. To be able to go out, and execute it, and do it in the fashion that we did against the team that we were playing against, it says a lot.”

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