by Yankee Todd
Giants defeat San Fran 20-17 in overtime
Advance to the much-anticipated Super Bowl rematch
Sports allow for us to share special moments with family and friends. Tonight, that special moment was shared with my brother Sean and my son Andrew. My parents were also there. Clapping and cheering on each play, the Giants defeated the San Francisco 49ers 20-17 in overtime to advance to Super Bowl 46. They will face the New England Patriots in two weeks. The party will be at my house as we watch Eli Manning and the road warrior Giants travel to the house that his brother Peyton built. I know downtown Indianapolis will be rocking. You will need t to get to Ike and Jonesys! early, the place is a jumping by 10PM if you do not have tickets to the game.
I have to admit, the 49ers were much better than I anticipated. Their defense continuously put pressure on Eli Manning and at times abused the G-Men offensive line. But Manning hung in there and made enough big plays to keep the magical run alive. Eli Manning continues week after week to earn the respect of everyone with his play. Where New York Jet QB Mark Sanchez failed to deliver for his team, Eli Manning continued to prove he is an elite quarterback. For the fifth time in team history, the Giants are going to the Super Bowl. Manning completed 32 of 58 for 316 yards and two touchdowns. He completed passes to eight different Giants.
In the first half, Victor Cruz proved to be un-guardable. Eli continued to find him open on the field like my son finds players open on Madden 2012. Cruz finished the game with 10 catches for 142 yards. Ahmad Bradshaw rushed for 74 yards for the Giants and caught 6 passes for 52 yards.
A drive right before halftime elevated Manning to championship status and gave the Giants a lead at the half 10-7. It is not easy to win in New York but Manning continues to show why he deserves MVP consideration.
The Giants defense played exceptional tonight, minus two big plays to Vernon Davis. They held the 49ers to 1 for 13 on third down. While they didn’t put the pressure on Alex Smith like they wanted, the defense played well enough to win.
But the 49ers made adjustments at the half and dialed up the pressure on Manning. Their defense reminded me of the classic Bill Parcell’s coached defenses of the 1980’s and 1990’s. But they never delivered the knock-out blow on Manning that they needed. Eli continued to get up off the ground time and time again.
In a very evenly matched game, it came down to special teams.
Going into the game, the experts had predicted that the 49ers would hold the advantage in this arena. How many times do you hear a coach say, “Special teams wins games!!” Well tonight, that was the case. Devin Thomas, a former second round draft pick, proved to be the key to the Giants survival.
Kyle Williams, the son of Chicago White Sox GM Kenny Williams, and excellent kick returner, gave the ball and game to the Giants. Williams’ miscues gave the Giants 10 points and a trip to the Super Bowl.
A punt that was rolling around on the soaking wet turf took an odd hoop and ricocheted off Williams’ knee. An alert Thomas scooped up the ball and advanced it into the end zone. Unable to advance a muff, the Giants were able to recover the ball and ultimately Manning was able to hook up with Mario Manningham for a touchdown.
In overtime, Thomas again played a key role. Williams, looking to redeem himself, was stripped of the ball and Devin Thomas recovered.
A few plays later, Lawrence Tynes kicked the Giants to the Super Bowl.
News, notes, and observations
The Giants need to address their kick/punt return game in the off-season. It does absolutely nothing for them.
Antrel Rolle said it best. He said that the only team that could beat the Giants was themselves. Rolle was beat bad on a long touchdown by Vernon Davis early.
Vernon Davis was flagged on two different occasions tonight. If I was an official, I would have flagged him for the terrible touchdown celebration after his second score. What was that?
Former Texas Longhorn Tarell Brown walked off under his own power but appeared to be suffering from a concussion or neck injury.
I love referee Ed Hochuli. He explains the ruling in layman’s terms. He takes awhile to explain his ruling, but at least he tells you why.
Sean Weatherford did an excellent job holding on the game winning kick mouthed. “We are going to the fu**in super bowl” as he attempted to remove his helmet running around after the kick.
The Patriots have currently won 10 games in a row. Their last loss was to the New York Giants on November 6, 2011. With :15 seconds left, Manning threw a game winning touchdown pass to Jake Ballard to defeat the Patriots 24-20.
If I were the 49ers, I would pursue Peyton Manning next year.
Las Vegas has the line set at the Patriots by 3.
Early pick for me . . . Giants 28 and Patriots 21.
Follow me on twitter @yankeetodd1