Bill Belichick told his defense to let running back Ahmad Bradshaw score with just under a minute left. The Giants trailed 17-15 at the time, but had Bradshaw been tackled short of the end zone, New York would have been able to run the clock down before kicking a field goal. Belichick decided the Pats were better off with Brady’s offense on the field with 57 seconds and one timeout left. The Giants’ defense, however, stood tall.
Brady’s last-second hail mary attempt fell to the ground, just out of the reach of tight end Rob Gronkowski, and the Giants are Super Bowl XLVI champions.
Keep it here at NESN.com for all of the postgame reaction following this thrilling game.
Fourth quarter, 0:57, Giants 21-17: In one of the more bizarre plays you’ll ever see, Bill Belichick decided to let the Giants score, giving his offense a chance to win the game.
Bradshaw thought about going down at the 1-yard line, which would have put the Giants in a position to let the clock wind down and then kick a field goal. He then fell back into the end zone for the score, though.
Brady and the offense will take over with 57 seconds left and one timeout.
Fourth quarter, 2:00, Patriots 17-15: Eli’s doing it again, folks. In a drive that could have people talking Hall of Fame after the game, Manning is providing some Giant magic.
Manning’s delivered his last pass to Hakeem Nicks for 14 yards. That takes us to the two-minute warning, with the Giants already in field-goal range at the New England 18. Patriots fans everywhere are praying that Lawrence Tynes takes a page out of Billy Cundiff’s book — if it actually comes down to a field goal.
Fourth quarter, 3:39, Patriots 17-15: Eli Manning threw an excellent pass over Mario Manningham’s shoulder along the sideline, and the Giants wideout was able to haul it in. That play could be the David Tyree play of this Super Bowl.
Bill Belichick challenged the catch, but the play stands. The Giants’ drive continues around midfield.
Fourth quarter, 3:46, Patriots 17-15: If the Giants are able to pull this one off, we may look back on this game and consider Wes Welker’s drop on second down as the Asante Samuel drop of this Super Bowl.
After BenJarvus Green-Ellis was stuffed by Chris Canty on first down, Welker slipped up the seam and Brady delivered a pass that the NFL’s receptions leader was unable to haul in. After failing to convert on third down, Eli and the offense will take over.
Fourth quarter, 7:00, Patriots 17-15: The Giants put pressure on Brady, forcing the Pats into a third-down situation. However, he hit Danny Woodhead out of the backfield for a nice pickup and a first down. The drive continues.
Fourth quarter, 9:31, Patriots 17-15: Sterling Moore, one of the Patriots’ AFC Championship heroes, comes up with another huuuuge pass deflection. Tom Coughlin and the rest of the Giants were calling for a pass interference call to no avail.
Another solid punt by Steve Weatherford gives New England the ball at its own 6-yard line.
Fourth quarter, 10:00, Patriots 17-15: Tight end Jake Ballard, who caught the game-winning touchdown in Week 9, left with a knee injury that really didn’t look good. They’re now down to one tight end on the roster.
I’m turning the blog over to Ricky Doyle. I’ve got to head down toward the field to get ready for a live edition of NESN Daily, and I’ll have plenty of postgame coverage on NESN.com.
Fourth quarter, 14:17, Patriots 17-15: Tom Brady had three brilliant quarters, but he made an awful decision to start the fourth. Brady evaded pressure and decided to chuck up a jump ball to Rob Gronkowski. The ball was underthrown, though, and Chase Blackburn stole it away at the New York 8-yard line. I can see throwing a jump ball for Gronkowski, but maybe in the regular-season opener. Not the fourth quarter of a two-point game in the Super Bowl.
End of third quarter, Patriots 17-15: The Patriots have moved it to their own 38-yard line, and in a game of big-time momentum swings, the Patriots are trying to wrestle some of it back in their direction.
Third quarter, 0:35, Patriots 17-15: That’s a second straight drive that held up in the red zone. Rob Ninkovich sacked Eli Manning on third down to force the Giants to kick a 33-yard field goal. This is lining itself up for a wild, wild finish.
Brandon Spikes and Brandon Jacobs have gotten into it a couple times, which isn’t very surprising. They can both get pretty fiery.
Tom Brady hit the ground awkwardly on Justin Tuck’s last sack, but Brady is out on the field for this drive.
Third quarter, 5:36, Patriots 17-12: Another momentum swing, as Justin Tuck sacked Tom Brady on third down to force a three-and-out, and the Giants take over at their own 48.
The offensive line had strong protection on that sack, but Brady couldn’t find an open receiver and eventually went down. The Patriots’ line has played well for the most part.
Jason Pierre-Paul got his bell rung on the first play. I couldn’t see how it happened, but he stayed on the ground for a minute before jogging to the sideline, shaking his head around and stretching out his neck.
Third quarter, 6:43, Patriots 17-12: Can the Giants match touchdowns with field goals? They’ll find out quickly. Lawrence Tynes snuck one home from 38 yards away to chip into New England’s lead, but Tom Brady has been on fire for two straight possessions.
Poor route by Mario Manningham on third-and-10. Sterling Moore gave him a ton of space, and Manningham didn’t run the in-cut deep enough, allowing Moore to fly in and make a sound tackle.
Hakeem Nicks had to leave the field after getting lit up by Patrick Chung on the sidelines. That was one of the best hits of the season for this defense, and it forced an incompletion, too. Another case of Eli Manning putting too much air under the ball.
People in Super Bowl squares pools must be losing their minds with the weird scores that have been posted in this game due to the safety.
Third quarter, 11:20, Patriots 17-9: Tom Brady has set a Super Bowl record with 16 consecutive completions, and the most recent was good for a 12-yard touchdown to Aaron Hernandez, who shook Chase Blackburn over the middle on an in-cut and then broke Deon Grant’s tackle attempt to score.
Chad Ochocinco opened the drive with a 21-yard reception to draw a big cheer from the crowd, and that was actually Brady’s record-tying 12th straight completion. Joe Montana had the old record.
Great run blocking on that series, first by Dan Connolly and Sebastian Vollmer to free up BenJarvus Green-Ellis for 17 yards. And then by Nate Solder, Matt Light and Lousaka Polite to get Green-Ellis four yards on third-and-1.
Oh, and of course, Hernandez made it rain.
Third quarter, 14:54, Patriots 10-9: The Patriots start at their own 21 after Julian Edelman’s kickoff return. Huge moment in the game right off the bat in the third quarter.
Halftime, Patriots 10-9: One more note on the Patriots’ last drive: Tom Brady was 10-for-10 for 98 yards and a touchdown. If the Patriots win this game, mark that down as one of the great drives of Brady’s career.
Halftime, Patriots 10-9: The halftime crew is setting the stage for Madonna. It’s not my thing, but I know a lot of people are excited for this show. Should be an experience, if nothing else.
Halftime, Patriots 10-9: It wasn’t all that long ago when the Patriots looked like they were one punch shy of getting knocked out, and now they’re in the lead. Tom Brady completed all 10 of his passes on that drive, and he hit Danny Woodhead for a third-down score. Brady even had his options on that play, as Deion Branch ran his signature route — quick post before curling back along the baseline — to get wide open for a couple seconds, but Brady never saw him.
It’s pretty amazing how the two units have complemented one another to take their first lead with eight seconds remaining in the half. And now, the Patriots know they’re getting the second-half kick, and the Giants have to be the ones to respond. This is one of those times when you’ve got to be on high alert for an onside kick.
Second quarter, 2:00, Giants 9-3: The Patriots have moved it to their own 39 after running their first play from the 2 after Logan Mankins’ false start. Rob Gronkowski was backpedaling to catch his first pass of the game, a 20-yarder, that drew a loud cheer from the crowd.
Second quarter, 4:03, Giants 9-3: The Giants’ last two possessions have ended due to penalties, and this one came due to a hold that negated a third-and-1 conversion. Sterling Moore then made a play to break up a third-down pass that had too much air under it. Eli Manning has put too much air under at least three throws so far, and it’s given Patriots defensive backs a chance to make a play on the ball.
Punter Steve Weatherford is having a solid game, though, and he just sent one 51 yards out of bounds at the New England 4.
Second quarter, 8:24, Giants 9-3: What a wasted possession. The Patriots went three-and-out after Tom Brady had his second straight attempt batted down at the line, and a draw for Danny Woodhead went for just three yards. Brady’s third-down pass for Wes Welker got the Patriots within inches of a first down, but they had to punt, giving the Giants the ball at their own 23.
Brady was a little jumpy on third down. The Giants might be getting to him at this point.
Second quarter, 10:00, Giants 9-3: Your serve, Tom Brady. The Patriots’ defense held the Giants at the New England 41, and they’ll take over at their own 20 after the punt rolled in for a touchback. Wes Welker, by the way, was lucky the ball didn’t hit him while trying to make a block after letting the punt bounce.
I thought the Giants should have gone for it on fourth-and-4. They had the Patriots backed up against it in a big way and could have kept it going.
Giants fullback/tight end Travis Beckum tore his ACL on that series, according to the Giants’ announcement. That’s pretty much the quickest announcement ever. Anyway, Beckum is a solid role player for them. Rough loss.
Second quarter, 13:48, Giants 9-3: It looked like Jason Pierre-Paul had his right knee or leg getting worked on over with a trainer, but he’s since gotten up and looked OK.
The Giants start their third drive at their own 20 after the touchback.
Second quarter, 13:48, Giants 9-3: The Patriots are on the board, but they’re still very much in a hole. Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 29-yard field goal after Jason Pierre-Paul batted down Tom Brady’s third-down pass for Aaron Hernandez. Someone was quickly closing in on Hernandez, so I’m not sure the play would have gone for a first down anyway, but still, the Giants batted down passes well in the first matchup and it was key there.
If ever the Patriots’ defense needed to establish some more momentum, well, this is it. Let’s see if they go to more man coverage, which worked on the first possession. And some more Mark Anderson might help, too.
End of first quarter, Giants 9-0: The Patriots have moved it to the Giants’ 17, and they’ve made it look easy in the last few plays. They put themselves in a high-pressure situation right off the bat, though, getting right into a third-and-4, but Tom Brady hit a wide-open Deion Branch for 14 yards. Wes Welker then broke free for a 19-yard catch after a blown coverage, and he gained 10 yards on an end-around two plays later to run out the clock.
Rob Gronkowski came off the field during a one-tight set, and he’s been mostly up in a two-point stance to limit the contact and push-off he’d need at the line. They aren’t over-exerting him.
First quarter, 3:15, Giants 9-0: The Patriots start at their own 29 after the kickoff.
First quarter, 3:24, Giants 9-0: that was about as ugly as it gets for a defense, and the Giants have a 9-0 lead after Victor Cruz’s touchdown reception. Cruz beat former UMass teammate James Ihedigbo, and Jerod Mayo was late in trying to break up the slant pattern.
The Patriots’ tackling — in open field with Kyle Arrington, and in containment with Patrick Chung — was poor on that series after they started well. And their zone coverage, after opening in mostly man, looked off.
The most egregious error came on third-and-3 from the 11, when Antwaun Molden ran onto the field late and couldn’t figure out where to line up. The defense was completely confused, and I was surprised they didn’t call a timeout because they almost always do when there’s that much pre-snap confusion. During the play, Sterling Moore forced Cruz to fumble, which was recovered by Brandon Spikes, but it was negated because Molden was the 12th man on the field. That’s a big coaching mistake all the way around, from the substitution to not calling a timeout.
The Giants have had the ball for 12 and a half minutes, and the Patriots have run one play. Never would have seen that coming.
First quarter, 8:46, Giants 2-0: The Giants start their second drive at their own 22 after Zoltan Mesko’s kick.
First quarter, 8:52, Giants 2-0: Well, the Giants’ pressure was the story, and it showed up immediately. The Patriots called a pass on the first play, and Tom Brady held the ball forever before launching it to nowhere over the middle as Justin Tuck hit him. And since Brady was in the end zone, the grounding penalty turned into a safety.
First quarter, 9:00, 0-0: The Giants moved the ball to the New England 33, but the Patriots’ defense stepped up on three straight plays. Brandon Deaderick sacked Eli Manning before Tracy White and Kyle Arrington stopped Ahmad Bradshaw for a one-yard loss on the left edge, and Mark Anderson sacked Manning to push the Giants out of field-goal range. The Patriots made a good push at the line on three straight plays, and they’ve been perfect in their run assignments, too.
The big play came on a 19-yard pass to Hakeem Nicks, who took the ball away from an ambitious Antwaun Molden. The corner jumped the soft throw but couldn’t snag it.
Great punt from Steve Weatherford to pin the Patriots at the 6-yard line.
First quarter, 14:50, 0-0: The Giants start at their own 23 after the opening kickoff. Vince Wilfork, Kyle Love, Brandon Deaderick, Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Rob Ninkovich, Tracy White, Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington, Patrick Chung and James Ihedigbo start the Patriots off in a 3-4 base.
6:26 p.m.: The Giants called tails and lost the toss, and the Patriots elected to defer. The Giants will start with the ball, and the Patriots get it in the second half. Game on, folks.
6:20 p.m.: Kelly Clarkson just did a great job with the national anthem, and the two teams are now minutes away from kickoff. This place has long since filled up.
Cool moment, during the anthem, the video boards showed a live feed of troops watching the game overseas, and the building erupted in cheers.
6:11 p.m.: The Patriots and Giants have been introduced as teams, and the Pats ran out to “Crazy Train.” There were louder boos from Giants fans than there were cheers from Patriots fans as New England was introduced.
The video boards showed the NBC starting lineup intros, and there was a contrast from the two UMass alums. Victor Cruz announced himself from “Massachusettes,” and James Ihedigbo had his “ZooMass” intro.
5:54 p.m.: Indiana University’s marching band is on the field.
5:50 p.m.: The Patriots have departed to their locker room for their final meeting before kickoff. I can only imagine what this speech is like.
5:40 p.m.: I just had a good laugh watching Brandon Spikes. During the team stretch, he started jumping around and punched himself in the helmet/face. Again, during the team stretch. He’s excited, I think.
Here are more details on the inactive list.
5:36 p.m.: Check out this quick video of the pregame scene if you’re into that sort of thing.
5:35 p.m.: Both of Rob Gronkowski’s ankles are heavily taped. Not really one more than the other. He’s moving fine in warmups, for what it’s worth.
5:25 p.m.: Tom Brady took the field and ran to a pocket of Patriots fans to fire them up. Oddly enough, Jay-Z wasn’t on the PA. It was some rock song I couldn’t identify.
5:23 p.m.: Before the video boards cut away from the NFL Network feed, they asked the fans from each team to scream to see who could be louder for a second time. And this time, the Patriots’ fans smoked the Giants’ fans. It wasn’t even close.
5:15 p.m.: Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich, who said his ankle has been medically cleared for game action, is inactive for the Super Bowl.
5:06 p.m.: NFL Network’s broadcast is being played on the video boards in the stadium. A few minutes ago, they asked each team’s fan base to cheer to see who was louder. The place is still only about 30 percent full, so take it for what it’s worth, but the Giants had a very slight edge in the noise department.
I also walked around the building a little while ago, and there’s definitely a good presence of Patriots fans.
4:44 p.m.: Kevin Faulk highlights the list of the Patriots’ inactive players, while Chad Ochocinco, Stevan Ridley and Sebastian Vollmer all return.
Faulk, Ron Brace, Gary Guyton, Shane Vereen, Donald Thomas, Nick McDonald and Ryan Mallett will not play in Super Bowl XLVI. More details to follow.
3:55 p.m.: The consensus believes the crowd will be very pro-Giants for this game, but there was a nice roar when Wes Welker appeared on the video boards a few minutes ago. Granted, there might not be more than 2,000 people here right now, but it’s something.
3:30 p.m.: Aaron Hernandez, Nate Solder, Kyle Love and Ryan Mallett are on the field loosening up.
Bill Belichick also walked the sideline quickly.
The teams are both in the building.
3:15 p.m.: Kyle Love is the first player on either team to hit the field. He’s wearing jeans, a T-shirt and his headphones as he takes in the scene.
3:12 p.m.: The Patriots have loaded the buses and departed for Lucas Oil Stadium. Start the countdown to kickoff.
2:27 p.m.: The excitement level is continuing to increase. I just arrived at my seat at Lucas Oil Stadium, and you can view that photo here.
The streets are starting to fill up, although it’s been like Mardi Gras here since Thursday afternoon when the majority of the fans started to file into town due to most of the hotels demanding four-night reservations.
It’s a beautiful day here in Indy, too, not that it really matters for the game. But it adds to the atmosphere. It’s in the mid-40s, and it’s mostly sunny.
There are a few hundred fans in the stadium right now, and the concession stands and merchandise stores are all open for business.
8 a.m. ET: Finally, it’s Super Bowl Sunday.
It’s been a wild and crazy week here in Indianapolis as the Patriots and Giants have prepared for Super Bowl XLVI. So many times, players on each team said they wished they could just play the game that day, and now, their time has arrived.
There’s been so much happening in Indy — from the media access, to the celebrities sightings all across the city — but all of the focus will be on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday night. It won’t get much better than that.
NESN.com has been here all week, so check here to get a complete rundown of everything that’s gone down.
And stay with the NESN.com live blog throughout the day, as we’ll keep you completely up to speed on everything happening on site at Super Bowl XLVI.