Fantasy Football News

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Patriot Killer?: Eli Does it Again

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has done it again, beating the New England Patriots 21-17 in Super Bowl XLVI to capture his second Vince Lombardi trophy for his head coach Tom Coughlin. His performance (30/40, 296 yards, 1 TD; 88-yard GW scoring drive with a minute to play) earned him his second SB MVP award, which is one more than his older brother Peyton.

Even more impressive may be that he did so in his older brother's home stadium–Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.

The result brings up a couple of questions surrounding both Eli and his G-Men, and quarterback Tom Brady and his Pats squad. Is Eli elite? Yes. He is now 8-3 in the postseason (4-0 this postseason) as he threw 9 TDs and just one interceptions over a five week span in January/February. He also defeated future Hall of Famer Brady in two separate Super Bowls. So, yes, I do believe Eli should be considered among the elite and his performance clearly demonstrates that. He out Brady-ed Brady in the fourth quarter, and did that on a consistent basis all season long.

Eli should, and will, be considered a more successful postseason quarterback than his brother, and he joins an elite class of signal callers with multiple championships and multiple MVP awards.

As for Brady? He is now 3/5 in his record-tying five Super Bowl appearances, with both losses coming to the Coughlin/Manning tandem. He did, however, set a Super Bowl record with 16 consecutive completions during the second and third quarters tonight and looked exceptional for the majority of the game. Two Justin Tuck sacks and multiple hits on NY's part may have rattled Brady a bit, throwing off his rhythm. But in all, both quarterbacks played exceptionally well tonight, as expected.
Despite Eli's great overall performance, especially in the fourth quarter, it was New York's running back tandem of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw that essentially won the Giants the game. New York's front 7 put some pressure on Brady, and Eli's targets played well, but it was the 28 carries for 114 yards and a touchdown that allowed New York to control the clock.

They ran for seven first downs and kept Brady off the field for well over half the game, in fact they held the ball for nearly 40 minutes (37:05) and kept the Giants' defense well-rested. Pulling out ahead early allowed New York to focus a little more on the running attack, setting up Eli for some successful play action plays.

Head coach Bill Belichick's decision to allow Ahmad Bradshaw to run the ball in from six yards out with :57 to play will be questioned by fans and analysts for the next several months, I'm sure. But there's no doubt I would have done the exact same thing in that situation. If Bradshaw kneels the ball at the one, Eli could have run the clock all the way down to under :20 and sent Tynes in to kick the go-ahead chip-shot field goal.

Giving Brady the shot to drive New England down the field with a minute to play gave New England their best shot, and dropped passes by Deion Branch and Aaron Hernandez didn't help the cause too much. Although I loved the clutch 4th and 16 reception by Branch. Gronkowski came close to bringing in the hail mary on the final play, but New York was able to knock the ball down before he could get to it.

In all, I was thoroughly impressed by both quarterbacks, and if both have shown signs that they are not done. They both may find themselves in yet another Super Bowl in the coming years. If I was New England, I'd work on improving that defense though.

My pre-season prediction of New England winning the Super Bowl and Wes Welker being named the game's MVP didn't prove to be true, and I have fallen to 7-4 for the postseason (2-2 in WC, 4-0 in Divisional, 1-1 in conference and 0-1 in SB). But, I can't complain with the outcome of this season.

Great game, great season. One more note before I sign off for the evening: Mario Manningham's sideline catch in NY's game-winning drive will be replayed for years to come. Not quite as miraculous as David Tyree's "helmet catch" in Super Bowl XLII, but it was eye-popping nevertheless.

Another fun-filled season is in the books, now the countdown to the 2012 draft in April officially begins!

Photo credit
Mario Manningham: Win McNamee/Getty Images

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