Giants take down the Patriots
By ROB LONGLEY
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Nobody’s perfect, that much we now know.
The New England Patriots learned it the hard way as a bid for an unprecedented 19-0 season came to a stunning, smashing halt.
Doing the bashing was the underdog New York Giants who shocked the world with an upset 17-14 win at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Once beleaguered but now heroic quarterback Eli Manning found receiver Plaxico Burress alone in the end zone with 35 seconds remaining to finish it off.
Manning showed the poise his older brother Peyton displayed in leading the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl win a year ago.
The upset that seemed possible for so much of the night seemed all but dead when the Patriots went ahead on a six-yard Tom Brady to Randy Moss touchdown pass with 2:42 remaining.
But Manning, who outplayed his more famous counterpart, was up to the task.
He confidently marched the Giants downfield with a methodical series of plays, none of them more crucial than a conversion on third and 11 to Steve Smith that got the ball to the Patriots 19 with 39 seconds remaining.
While Manning was up to the task when it mattered most, the game in truth was won by a ferocious Giants defence, which punished Patriots superstar Brady into submission.
A classic it was not but in style and substance it was a fitting win for the Giants.
They came into the game as 12-point underdogs and left as Giant killers by reverting to the basic premise of football — hit hard then hit harder.
Brady, who set a single-season record by throwing 50 touchdown passes, had none. The Patriots offence, which set its own record of 589 points in its undefeated regular season, was held to two touchdowns.
The warts and pimples certainly popped up in the most unlikely places for a Patriots team that had previously done such a good job of masking its blemishes.
And the most unlikely of all was the miserable outing of Brady.
Harassed all night by the ferocious Giants defensive front, Brady was sacked four times and gave up a fumble.