Eli Manning calls out a play in the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots.
words // Brandon Richard
Sunday marked the first meeting between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots since Super Bowl XLII, when the Giants pulled off the thrilling upset of the Patriots to put a stop to their 19-0 perfect season hopes. Some of the pieces have changed over the last three years, but the play-callers remain the same. Eli Manning and Tom Brady squared off once again in a game that, like the Super Bowl, came down to the final minutes.
The defenses reigned supreme in the first half, each holding the opposing team scoreless heading to halftime. New York struck first in the third quarter, using a Brandon Jacobs 10-yard touchdown run to take a 10-0 lead with 9:10 left to play in the frame. New England responded with a Stephen Gostkowski field goal and trailed 10-3 heading into the fourth quarter of play.
Out the gate, it looked like New England was destined to take control late. An Aaron Hernandez touchdown reception and second Gostkowski field goal gave the Pats a 13-10 lead with a little over seven minutes left. The Giants regained control with a 10-yard Mario Manningham touchdown catch with 3:03 left on the clock, setting the stage for another Tom Brady late-game comeback.
Like clockwork, Brady did just that. Completing pass after pass, he marched the Patriots down the field 64 yards, completing the drive with a touchdown pass to Ron Gronkowski to take a 20-17 lead with just 1:36 left to play. However, looking to prove that he indeed does belong in the “elite QB” conversation, Manning worked up some last-minute heroics of his own. Starting on his own 20-yard line, Eli guided the Giants through an 8-play, 80-yard drive, capping it off with a 1-yard pass to tight end Jake Ballard. New York took a 24-20 lead with 15 seconds left to play and held on for a big win.
In other late schedule again, Willis McGahee ran for two touchdowns to lift the Denver Broncos over the Oakland Raiders; Andy Dalton continued to pick up wins, leading the Bengals to a 24-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans; Patrick Peterson returned a punt for a touchdown in overtime to help the Arizona Cardinals pick up a 19-13 win over the St. Louis Rams; the Green Bay Packers remained unbeaten after emerging victorious in a 45-38 shootout against the San Diego Chargers; the Baltimore Ravens completed the season sweep of the Pittsburgh Steelers behind a late-game Joe Flacco touchdown pass to Torrey Smith; and the Philadelphia Eagles continued to disappoint, dropping the Monday nighter to the Chicago Bears 30-24.
Eli Manning drops back to pass in Reebok football cleats.
Jake Ballard makes an impressive catch in Air LT Superbad Nike football cleats.
Willis McGahee runs in the adidas Malice D.
Andy Dalton throws a pass in the Nike Air Zoom Super Bad 3.
Patrick Peterson returns a punt for the game-winning touchdown in the Nike Zoom Vapor Carbon Fly.
Jordy Nelson runs after making a catch in the Nike Super Speed.
Torrey Smith makes a grab in Under Armour football cleats.
Marion Barber runs hard in the Nike Alpha Speed.
images via ESPN