February 6, 2012

Notebook: Manning to Manningham: what a combo

By Mike Lowe mlowe@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

INDIANAPOLIS — David Tyree was on the New York sideline Sunday night.

click image to enlarge

The reflection in the Lombardi Trophy mirrored the game: Nothing but Giants at the end.

The Associated Press

Mario Manningham channeled his best David Tyree. Manningham, invisible for the first three quarters, emerged in the fourth to help lead the New York Giants to another stunning win over the Patriots.

This time it was 21-17 in the Super Bowl at Lucas Oil Stadium, New York's third consecutive last-minute win over the shaken Patriots.

And while Eli Manning was deservedly named the game's most valuable player -- he completed 30 of 40 passes for 296 yards and a touchdown -- he certainly shared a piece of it with Manningham.

He made the play that will be most remembered from this game, an exhilarating 38-yard catch on the left sideline that forced Patriots Coach Bill Belichick to throw the challenge flag.

He lost and the Giants went in for the winning score, a 6-yard run by Ahmad Bradshaw with 57 seconds left.

With 3:46 remaining, on first down from the New York 12, Manningham leapt for a Manning pass, snatched the ball out of midair and managed to drag both his feet inbounds to complete the catch.

It was a stunning play, reminiscent of Tyree's helmet catch that set up the Giants' winning touchdown against the Patriots in the 2008 Super Bowl.

Told that he would be linked with Tyree forever, Manningham shook his head and said, "I'm just glad I made the catch."

Dragging his feet inbounds is something he learned in high school.

"I knew as soon as the ball hit my hands I was going to have to freeze my feet," he said. "I kinda knew I was in, though."

He added, "You have to know where you are on the field. That goes back to high school, just knowing where you're at, that half-second looking where you're at and trying to stack your feet and just knowing as soon as the ball hits your hands you've got to have control of it."

Manningham made four of his five catches -- for 68 yards -- in the fourth quarter, playing a huge role in the comeback.

Asked about another Giants comeback against the Patriots, Manningham said, "It's part of what we do, having faith and believing."

KEVIN FAULK, the longest-tenured Patriot who pre-dates Bill Belichick, was among the inactives for the team.

That meant the veteran running back, in his 13th season, did not play in his fifth Super Bowl along with Tom Brady and Matt Light.

Faulk, who suffered a bad knee injury in the second game of the 2010 season, was active for the AFC championship game but didn't play.

It's possible that this would have been his final game, though Faulk hasn't announced his intention to retire.

Of course, Belichick has never been overly sentimental.

In the 2008 Super Bowl, he left wide receiver Troy Brown -- like Faulk one of his favorite all-time players -- inactive against the Giants.

Brown retired the following year and never played another game.

THINK THERE'S money at stake?

Each player on the winning team receives $88,000. Players on the losing team receive $44,000.

That's an increase of $5,000 for the winners and $2,000 for the losers from the last two Super Bowls.

In all, more than $6 million will be distributed to personnel on the two teams.

ELI MANNING set a Super Bowl record when he completed his first nine passes.

Not to be outdone, Tom Brady set a Super Bowl record for consecutive completions when he hit 16 straight.

A 5-yard pass to Wes Welker in the third quarter broke the record of 13 straight held by Brady's idol, Joe Montana of the 49ers. Overall he threw for 158 yards on those completions.

Montana set his record in the 1990 Super Bowl against Denver.

That also tied Brady's personal postseason record for consecutive completions, set first on Jan. 21, 2008, against Jacksonville.

KICKER LAWRENCE Tynes had this claim -- a shot at the Jets -- after the game: "We're the kings of New York. No doubt now."

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

mlowe@pressherald.com

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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