Monday, February 04, 2008

Wow. That was about the strangest thing I've ever seen in sports, and also one of the sweetest. This was a 7-3 game after three quarters, which was even more improbable than the Giants having won the Super Bowl. I certainly could have seen the Giants winning, though I didn't take them seriously in this game until they were 10 yards away from the endzone, but holding a team that scored almost 600 points in the regular season to just 7 for the first 57 minutes is unbelievable.

The Giants won this game by doing two very important things. First, they harassed, harangued, hurried and hit Tom Brady, each knockdown to the turf more delicious than the last. In all, they recorded five sacks, a monumental performance for a defensive line that was better than billed. A fumble ended one drive, while a boneheaded decision by Beelzebub, supposedly a genius coach, himself may well have lost the game for the Patriots. Facing fourth-and-13 at the Giants' 32, he arrogantly went for the score instead of attempting a field goal, eventually losing the game by 3.

Second, Eli Manning, after muddling his way through most of the game, engineering the most electric drive in football history since, well, The Drive. Let's recall this 12-play, 83-yard drive. Facing a third-and-10 from his own 28 at the 2-minute warning, it was fair to have discounted Manning. But he found Toomer for a 9-yard gain and then Brandon Jacobs ran for the first down on 4th-and-a-foot.

Then came arguably the most improbable play in a most improbable game: Manning dropped back, eluded a sack and fired a pass downfield, which a leaping David Tyree secured between his helmet and hand. On the next play, Manning was sacked, and the pass after was incomplete, bringing up the third 3rd-down of the drive. Manning then found Steve Smith, who made sure to get the first down. Then came the winning touchdown, which made me jump up and down, sprain a knee and hug complete strangers in ecstasy.

Plaxico Burress caught that touchdown, he of the 23-17 prediction, which made ladyboy pretty boy Tom Brady scoff: "we're only going to score 17 points?" It turned out Burress had been too generous to these paper tigers.

The Giants proved two maxims tonight. Three, actually: cheaters never win, winners never cheat, and all it takes for evil to be stopped is for good men to get pressure using just their front four. The humiliation of an 18-1 season like this couldn't have happened to a worse asshole than Bill Belichick, who might well have wore out his team by running up the score at every opportunity like a small child, and then tried to leave the field before the game ended.

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