Just like in Super Bowl XLII, a number 85 on the Giants came through when they needed to against New England.
While the stakes Sunday were not as high as that game in 2008, tight end Keith Ballard, channeling David Tyree, made two incredible catches on the final drive including a touchdown with 15 seconds remaining to lead New York (6-2) to a wild 24-20 victory over the favored Patriots in Foxboro. It was the first regular season loss for New England at home since 2008.
Eli Manning’s spotlight on him has been hot due to comments earlier in the season regarding being in the elite quarterback class, but he continued his success coming from behind in the fourth quarter. Manning (20/39, 250 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT) has now led the Giants to five wins when trailing in the final stanza.
It was a tale of two halves for both teams. The first half had tough defense on both sides, and was a scoreless game headed into the break. The Patriots missed a 29 yard field goal near the end of the second quarter to keep the game at zero.
New York drew first blood with a Lawrence Tynes field goal five minutes into the third after Deon Grant picked off Tom Brady. A fumble by Brady three plays later gave the Giants prime position to put some space in between. Brandon Jacobs, who the team was hoping to step up in the absence of Ahmad Bradshaw and Hakeem Nicks on the offensive side, ran untouched for his second score of the season to give the Giants 10-0.
After Aaron Ross fumbled on a punt return, New England got on the board with a Steven Gostowski field goal to bring the deficit to seven. New York had an opportunity to score, but Kyle Arrington intercepted a pass in the end zone. The Patriots would tie the game early in the fourth with Brady hitting Aaron Hernandez for a five yard touchdown. Gostowski hit a 45 yard field goal to help New England (5-3) get its first lead of the game.
With the benefit of a pass interference call, Manning would connect to Mario Manningham for a 17-13 lead. Brady (28/49, 342 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT) capped off a drive with a 14 yard touchdown to Ron Gronkowski with 1:36 remaining and the Patriots up 20-17.
Manning would convert on a third down to Ballard for 28 yards to bring the team into enemy territory. A incomplete pass to Victor Cruz down to the one yard line was flagged for pass interference. Ballard would catch Manning’s pass on a third down with 15 seconds to take the lead for good.
The Giants’ schedule does not get easier as they go to the west coast to take on the NFC West leading San Francisco 49ers, currently at 7-1.
About the Author
Written by Chris Ryan
Chris Ryan is a Staten Island, NY native who is a graduate of SUNY-Cortland, majoring in sport management. At Cortland, he was the sports editor of the student-run newspaper The Dragon Chronicle for both his junior and senior year. He interned for the sports producer and sports anchor Bruce Beck at WNBC-4 Sports in New York City for their 6:00 and 11:00 news programs. Also, he interned in the summer of 2010 for the New York Jets as a sports writer for their website during their training camp which was shown on HBO's Hard Knocks program. Assignments included writing feature stories that were included on both newyorkjets.com and the Jets Playbook given out to the fans at the game. Most recently, he was a broadcast assistant with the NBA for the 2010-2011 season. Chris is a Yankees, Giants, Knicks and Rangers fan.