Giants Vs. Patriots: Top 5 Plays Of The Year
Now they have both reached the Super Bowl for the second time in five years, but via two very different paths. To recap both the Giants’ and the Patriots’ wild seasons, here are the top five plays of the year for both teams:
New York Giants
5. Hakeem Hails It In
Up 13-10 in the second quarter, Eli Manning’s 37-yard prayer found Nicks flying high over the Packers’ lazy secondary. The score gave the G-Men a commanding 20-10 lead going into the half, one that they would never relinquish.
4. JPP Blocks Cowboys’ Playoff Hopes
In the teams’ meeting of the season at Jerryworld, the Giants made a late comeback scoring 14 points in a two-and-a-half minute span, taking a three-point lead with 46 seconds left. But Dallas drove down the field quickly, leaving time for a last-second field goal attempt. After icing Dan Bailey’s first attempt – which was good – the Giants stunned the Dallas faithful when Bailey’s second attempt was blocked by rookie Jason Pierre-Paul, reversing New York’s recent bad fortune and setting them on the path to the Super Bowl.
Kyle Williams will now forever be crowned and beloved in the city of New York and simultaneously vilified and hated in the city of San Francisco. The Giants’ Jacquian Williams’s strip of San Francisco’s Williams on a punt return in overtime was the most momentous and game-changing play of the night. Lawrence Tynes sent the Giants to the Super Bowl just five plays later.
In this incredible athletic feat, Domenik Hixon successfully keeps his composure, juggling a TD pass with one hand as he falls to the ground. It would have been higher, but because it was an inconsequential score in an easy win over the Rams all the way in Week 2, it stays in the two spot. One more fascinating factoid about this play: Hixon tore his ACL on the catch, keeping him out for the entire year.
1. Cruz Control
You didn’t expect me to pick just one Victor Cruz play from the entire year now, did you? How could I choose between his tackle-shredding scamper against the Eagles, his juggling masterpiece against the Seahawks, his 99-yard burner against the Jets, and his division-clinching touchdown against the Cowboys in the last week of the season? Check them out and let me know what you think is the best of the year.
1a. Victor Cruz I
1c. Victor Cruz III
1d. Victor Cruz IV
New England Patriots
5. Moore, Please
It was all over. The Patriots were going to lose their second straight home playoff game to the Ravens. Lee Evans was going to catch Joe Flacco’s beautiful 14-yard rope and send Baltimore to the Super Bowl…until Sterling Moore made the most clutch play of the season. A little-known player who had spent most of the season on the practice squad, Moore stepped up big and knocked the potential game-winning TD catch out of the arms of Evans. Billy Cundiff shanked a potential game-tying FG two plays later.
4. Run, Fatboy, Run
There’s nothing more surprising or hilarious than when a defensive tackle grabs a pick and starts running, searching for the endzone, the sideline, or just some way to catch his breath. And in Week 2, football fans were treated to a fantastic sight: 325-pound Vince Wilfork recording his first career interception and interception return. Wilfork’s play contributed to New England’s 35-21 win over San Diego.
Julian Edelman has done it all all season. Primarily a wide receiver, No. 11 has returned and covered punts and kicks and recently played cornerback frequently for the thin Patriots secondary. But, without a doubt, his biggest play of the year came was his 72-yard punt return TD in a 34-3 blowout of the Chiefs.
2. The Great Gronk
Rob Gronkowski has been legend all season. Coming out of nowhere to set single season records in receiving yards and touchdowns for tight ends, he showed off his great hands against the Broncos in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. The Gronk held on to a well-placed pass to Tom Brady in the first quarter, leading the Pats to a 45-10 drubbing of Denver with 145 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
1. 99 Yards: East to Wes
Believe or not, the Patriots were having a rough time with the Dolphins in the first week of the season. Stuck on their own one-yard line with the aggressive Dolphins D threatening New England’s fragile 14-point lead, the Patriots needed a big play. They got one. Tom Brady’s soft lob over the entire Miami defense found the waiting arms of reliable Wes Welker; the quick and speedy Welker took the pass all the way to the end zone, cementing New England’s 38-24 win and setting the tone for the rest of the season.
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