This punt fake was called ARAPAHOE: A Run A Pass A Hit On the Enemy. Lee Rouson (22) and Maurice Carthon (44) lined up as gunners on the outside, while Jeff Rutledge (17) lined up as the blocking back. None were normally on the punt team. Rouson and Carthon shifted to their running back positions, and quarterback Rutledge moved behind center. Sean Landeta (5), the punter, went in motion to the right. Rutledge first tried to draw Denver offside, but then took the snap and made the first down on a quarterback sneak. left in the third quarter, the game was essentially over.
Just five weeks earlier, the 15-0 New England Patriots and the 10-5 Giants had met in a memorable regular season finale between two teams seemingly headed in opposite directions: the undefeated Patriots toward immortality and the inconsistent Giants toward a third straight quick playoff exit. Even after winning three playoff games on the road to advance to the Super Bowl, the Giants were still 12-point underdogs to the “invincible” Patriots in their quest for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. However, the battle-tested Giants were confident; wide receiver Plaxico Burress even predicted a 23-17 victory. In the other locker room, quarterback Tom Brady scoffed at the notion that New England would score just 17 points; by the end of the game, Brady would be hoping for that many.
As the game got underway, it was clear that the Giants had lost no momentum during the two-week break after the conference championship. New York took the opening kickoff and marched 63 yards in 16 plays to take a 3-0 lead on a Lawrence Tynes field goal. This masterful mix of runs and passes consumed the first 9:59 of the game and set a Super Bowl record for the lengthiest drive in history. Of most importance, it kept New England’s offense, the highest scoring in NFL history, off the field. The Patriots used up the rest of the first quarter with their own 56-yard touchdown drive, scoring on the first play of the second quarter to go up 7-3.
The furious pass rush the Giants generated from their front four and occasional blitzers roughed up Brady and kept him out of rhythm by knocking him down 23 times. The Patriots’ three second-quarter drives went three plays for seven yards, three plays for minus 14 yards with two sacks, and nine plays for 38 yards. The last drive took New England close to field goal position, but Giants lineman Justin Tuck stripped the ball from Tom Brady as he sacked him and the half ended.
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The Patriots started to get a little rhythm by shortening their pass routes to start the third quarter. They took 8:17 off the clock and drove to the Giants’ 25, but a Michael Strahan sack left New England facing a fourth-and-13
The greatest play in Giants history began with quarterback Eli Manning miraculously escaping the grasp of Patriots lineman Richard Seymour…
While David Tyree’s spectacular catch of Eli Manning’s scrambling lob pass was the play of the game, the Giants still needed to score a touchdown to take the lead. They turned to a familiar face for that. Plaxico Burress had been held to just one catch for 14 yards by the Patriots, who were continually rolling a safety to double-cover him. On first-and-10 from the Patriots13 with just 39 seconds left, Burress finally got single coverage and made New England pay. The Giants came out in a shotgun formation with three receivers to the right, Ahmad Bradshaw in the backfield, and Burress alone to the left. The Patriots came with an all-out seven-man blitz, leaving just four to defend the pass single coverage all around. Manning spotted this as he took the snap and looked immediately for Burress. Burress ran a slant-and-go, or “sluggo” route, in which he fakes the slant and heads straight up the field. Cornerback Ellis Hobbs bit on the inside fake as Manning launched a fade pass that forced Burress to turn around for the easy game-winning grab. at the 31. Inexplicably, coach Bill Belichick eschewed the 49-yard field goal attempt, and Brady threw incomplete on fourth down. The Patriots left a good chance at three points on the field and would later regret it.