Giants D punishes Brady

ROB LONGLEY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:52 AM ET

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- For one frustrating, bone-rattling night it was no fun to be Tom Brady.

Not only was the Mr. Everything New England Patriots quarterback denied his fourth Super Bowl title this decade, he was punished in the process.

Facing a steamrolling pass rush of the New York Giants, Brady was sacked a season-high five times and hurried most of the game.

"They are very good on defence, they have some great pressure schemes," said Brady, whose record-setting regular season now will be soiled by the inglorious ending.

"We just didn't get the ball in the end zone. We scored 14 points. That's our lowest total of the year and it got us beat.

"Our team is extremely disappointed and coach Belichick is extremely disappointed. This will be hard to swallow."

It was a particularly long night for the New England offensive line, which had done such a great job protecting Brady throughout his record-setting season.

If it wasn't Matt Light getting called for penalties it was Brantford native Nick Kaczur and the rest of the line getting run over by the likes of Giants defensive end Michael Strahan.

"It's one of those things where they have a great front seven," Patriots centre Dan Koppen said. "They have tremendous players up there and they just outplayed us."

Added Brady: "They mixed it up quite a bit, gave you a bunch of different looks. At times we handled it pretty well and at times we didn't. Our inconsistency really limited what we could produce."

Patriots receiver Randy Moss, who put New England in front with a touchdown catch late in the fourth quarter, said he was surprised at the ferocity of the Giants.

"I think their intensity from the beginning snap to the end of the game was really higher than ours," Moss said. "We just couldn't match that intensity."

Attacking Brady was clearly the focal point of the Giants game plan, and it came with a relentless rush that through the usually fine-tuned offence out of rhythm.

When Brady wasn't getting sacked, he was being hurried and too often was forced into making off-the-mark throws.

"Our D-line really got after it," Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce said. "All week it was how we couldn't get to the quarterback, how we couldn't do this and we couldn't do that.

"We were just a team that kept going after it. They are unbeatable no more. I think the '72 Dolphins can come and join us a little bit in our celebration."

Yes, those Dolphins can rest easy for another year, preserving their status as the only undefeated champions in league history.

"What I learned today was how tough it is to go undefeated," said Don Shula, the coach of that famed squad. "That's why I'm even more proud of our '72 team than I've ever been. It shows it's a tremendous accomplishment."


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