Sunday, February 3, 2008

A Giant Victory

I couldn't have been more wrong about my Super Bowl prediction, and I couldn't be more happy about it! The Giants, led by Little Eli, knocked off the supposedly unbeatable Patriots 17-14. It will probably go down as the biggest upset in Super Bowl history, or at least a close second to Joe Namath's victory in Super Bowl 3. There were so many surprises in the game, including the incredibly low score, the suddenly clutch Eli Manning, and the way the Giants made Tom Brady look almost human. The highlight of the game for me came on the game winning drive by the Giants, when Eli Manning evaded the rush, danced around the pocket and threw up a prayer to David Tyree, who subsequently caught the ball with one hand and his helmet. I knew from that point on that the Giants would find a way.

Looking back at my Super Bowl prediction, I listed 7 things that had to happen for the Giants to win. Let me re-visit those now:

1. Brady throws three picks Brady did not throw any, and in fact the Patriots only had one turnover the whole game, which didn't lead to any Giants points. Brady did not have a great game though, as the pressure from the Giants got to him and forced him to make a lot of bad throws.

2. Brady is sacked at least 5 times The Giants got to Brady exactly five times, and more importantly hit him on at least 6-8 other plays. The constant blitzing from all angles caused Brady to be out of rhythm and force a lot of poor passes. We can thank former Eagles assistant coach Steve Spagnuolo, the current Giants Defensive Coordinator, for his great game plan. It looked a lot like Jim Johnson's blitz packages that the Eagles employ.

3. Eli Manning throws zero interceptions Eli did throw one interception, but it was hardly his fault, as it went in and out of his receiver's hands. Manning played the game of his life, and this really was his first step towards greatness. This is one of those games we'll look back on in ten years and say it defined his career. Plus, now he and Peyton can race around Mississippi in their Super Bowl MVP Cadillac's.

4. The Giants rush for a combined 150 yards with Jacobs and Bradshaw I was way off on this one, as the Giants only ran for 91 total yards, with Eli getting 4 of them. The Giants only averaged 3.5 yards per carry. The point I was trying to make with this one was that the Giants needed to control the ball for much of the game. They ended up winning the time of possession battle, but only barely (30:27-29:33).

5. The Giants hold the Patriots to under 30 points Isn't it funny how Plaxico predicted the Patriots would only get 17 points, and then Tom Brady laughed at that idea, and the Patriots only end up with 14?!? Looking back at all the predictions that people made, Plaxico's might be the closest of all.

6. Randy Moss continues to sleep walk through the playoffs Moss played better, but still didn't have a big game, with only 5 catches for 62 yards and a score. He was invisible in the first half of the game, and never got any really big plays. The Giants did an excellent job of taking away any of the big plays that the Patriots love to make. Again, it was all of the pressure put on Brady.

7. Wes Welker breaks his leg Welker came up big, with 11 catches. That little guy was open on nearly every play, and has a knack for getting like 10 yards after the catch every time. The Giants couldn't stop him, but they stopped everyone else.

So of those 7 things, only 2 of them actually happened, although I was close on a few others. The Giants defense really won the game for them. This was a Patriots team that routinely put up 40 points back in October, and the Giants limited them to only two touchdowns. They really dominated the play, and although no one would say that the Giants were the best team this year, they certainly were the better team on Sunday, when it mattered. As an Eagles fan, I can't stand the Giants, but it was great to see them put an end to the Patriots perfect season. Now I hope Eli goes back to his normal self and the Eagles beat them twice next year.

No comments: