Now, I know some of you are going to look at the score from our Madden 12 Super Bowl sim and cry fowl. This is supposed to be a tough, close game, not one where either team wins by a wide margin. Well, to be fair, that’s pretty much what happened. The Patriots scored late in the game with a meaningless touch down, but other wise this was a closely fought, very tough game. It really came down to who made the biggest mistake, and in this case, it was the Giants. Personally, I think the Giants have a better defense, but the Patriots have a better offense, and so this game could have gone either way. In the end, the Giants made the one mistake they couldn’t make, and that was the difference in the game. Here’s how it broke down:
New England 30, New York 17:
The Giants opened the game with a three and out, and one of their problems was a slow start in this game. New England go the ball and they methodically made their way down the field, ending the drive with a 36 yard sprint into the end zone by Green Ellis.
Again the Giants ended up punting the ball, and as the second quarter opened, the Patriots capped off another time-consuming drive with a 1 yard jaunt for a TD by Green-Ellis. The Giants punted the ball again on their next series, but just as New England looked like they might put this game away, the Giants force a fumble and recovered it. They then went into hurry up mode and drove down the field to about the five yard line, but the Patriots defense held and New York had to settle for a 16-yard field goal just before the half.
The Patriots came out firing in the third quarter as Brady hit the almost invisible Ochocinco for a 62-yard TD pass.
Then, the Patriots pass rush started to do some really damage. Actually, the Giants got flagged for holding on the kick return, putting them at the nine yard line. Then they got called for a false start, which backed them up further. Then, the Patriots broke through and sacked Eli in the end zone for a safety. A disastrous series for the Giants. However, the Patriots had to punt on the ensuing possession. The Giants put together a great drive and looked like they were ready to score and keep the game within reach, when disaster struck. Eli got intercepted in the end zone.
The damage was contained as Brady threw an INT on his first pass on their possession, but it was still a costly mistake by the Giants. After getting the ball back on the INT, the Giants finally got the big play they needed with a 64 yard TD pass to Nicks for a TD.
Things were definitely looking up as Brady threw another INT on their next possession, and the Giants got the ball, drove the field and found Cruz in the end zone for an 8-yard TD. The game was now within reach. The Giants could win it with a touchdown, but with time running out, they needed the onsides kick. They didn’t get it, the Patriots ran out the rest of the clock and scored a TD on a 2-yard pass to Hernandez to seal the game.
Manning ended the day with 29 of 42 for 357 yards, 2 TDs and an INT. Brady didn’t have his best game, but as he’s often done, he did enough to get the job done with 16 of 24 for 276 yards for 2 TDs and 2 INTs. The ground game wasn’t really clicking for either team with Green-Ellis getting 48 yards and 2 TDs and Bradshaw only getting 46 yards. Gronkowski had 151 yards (I’m sure the Patriots would love it if he could be that productive on Sunday), and Nicks had 110 yards and a TD. The Patriots pass rush got to Manning three times, including once for a safety, while the Giants pass rush only sacked Brady once.
So, what can we gather from this? Well, if the Patriots defense holds, if their pass rush can get to Manning, and if they can avoid making too many mistakes, New England could get their fourth Super Bowl. However, the Giants played the better game over all, they just had a slow start and made bigger mistakes (safety, INT in the end zone). If they play a tighter game than that, we may see a repeat upset by them. Time will tell, and I can’t wait.