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End of third quarter: Who knew? It’s turned into a defensive, back and forth, smashmouth game. This has to be good for an underdog trying to hold off the best quick-strike offense in NFL history.
And then it happens. Just as Mr. Football and Mr. Media had predicted, obscure Giants players start busting into the spotlight. A buzz-cut rookie named Kevin Boss makes a big catch-and-run. David Tyree scores his first touchdown all season. Rookie Jay (who’s that?) Alford sacks Brady. (Defensive back Webster, it’s noted, takes a step back toward obscurity, waving at Patriots star Randy Moss as he scores the go-ahead touchdown.)
And then, with two minutes to go, young Eli leads the Giants on an 83-yard, 12-play, opponent-deflating drive to seal the biggest upset in pro football’s long, melodramatic, Steve Sabol-narrated story. At 9:46 eastern, Eli double-pumps a parabolic pass to the 6’5” Plaxico Burress. Yes! The Giants win and Eli secures for himself the MVP award, just a year after his older brother Peyton had become the “real Manning” by winning it with the Indianapolis Colts. No mama’s boy, Eli. It’s Giants, 17-14, and a victory for red-faced, old-school, just-one-more-lap coach Tom Coughlin. And that, my friends, is why you watch the game.