The New York Giants beat the Green Bay Packers 23-20 at Lambeau Field to advance to the Super Bowl. This was the 10th consecutive road win for the Giants. The Giants had to win 3 straight road games in order to reach the Super Bowl.
The Giants will play the New England Patriots, a team that they lost to 38-35 in week 17, in Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Arizona on February 3rd.
Eli Manning had an efficient game, completing 21 of 40 pass attempts for 254 yards. He constantly put the Giants in good position to score throughout the game. Running backs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw combined carried the ball 37 times for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns. The receiving leader for the Giants was Plaxico Burress, who caught 11 passes for 154 yards.
Legendary quarterback Brett Favre completed 19 of 35 passes for 236 yards. He threw 2 touchdowns, but he also threw 2 costly interceptions. Green Bay was unable to get the running game going all game; they combined for 28 yards on 14 carries. Donald Driver had 5 receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown.
After 2 Lawrence Tynes field goals, Brett Favre hit Donald Driver for a medium range pass. Driver then won a footrace to the end zone for a 90 yard touchdown reception.
Mason Crosby later added a field goal near the end of the second quarter to put the Packers ahead 10-6. The Giants got the ball back, but were unable to score.
The Giants got the ball back for the second half. After a quick first down, the Giants were faced with a 3rd and 9 from their own 43. Eli Manning threw a pass intended for Plaxico Burress, but it was intercepted by Al Harris. Harris was called for an illegal contact penalty, which gave the Giants the ball back with an automatic first down. Later in the drive, the Giants had another 3rd down. The Packers made a stop, but Packers safety Nick Collins was called for roughing the passer, which gave the Giants 15 yards and another first down. The Giants then faced 3rd and 1 from the Packers 2 yard line. Brandon Jacobs received the hand-off from Manning, and he fumbled. Luckily, Kevin Boss, the backup tight end from Western Oregon who filled in for the injured Jeremy Shockey, recovered the fumble. After 2 offsides penalties to move the ball to the 1/4 yard line, Brandon Jacobs scored a TD to put the Giants ahead 13-10.
The Packers got the ball back in great field position after a great kick return by Tramon Williams. The Packers went down the field, and on a 3rd down stop, Sam Madison was called for an unnecessary roughness penalty to give Green Bay an automatic first down. The Packers scored a touchdown on the very next play.
The Giants marched right back down the field for a touchdown thanks to a 4 yard Ahmad Bradshaw run. That made it 20-17, Giants.
The Packers got the ball back, anxiously waiting to score. The Packers drove the ball into Giants territory, and Favre threw an interception. R.W. McQuarters, a long time 49ers and Bears cornerback/punt returner, fumbled the ball. The fumble was forced by former Giant Ryan Grant (I called that fumble by the way). This gave the Packers a new set of downs, and eventually set up a game-tying field goal by Mason Crosby.
The Giants got the ball back. They had the ball for about 5 minutes. They lined up for a Lawrence Tynes field goal attempt from 43 yards, but he missed it to the left.
After both teams punted again, the Giants stopped the Packers. R.W. McQuarters was back to field a punt from Jon Ryan. McQuarters muffed the punt, but a Giants player recovered. The first play from scrimmage after the punt was a draw play to Bradshaw out of the gun. Bradshaw took it to the house 49 yards, but the touchdown was nullified by a Chris Snee holding penalty. Eli did a good job of managing the clock, and led them to a 36 yard field goal attempt. Tynes missed from 43 yards earlier in the quarter, and he wanted to redeem himself. If he made this kick, the Giants would be heading to the Super Bowl. If he missed, they would go to overtime. Tynes missed way to the left, and the game went to overtime.
The Packers won the coin toss and elected to receive.After a modest return, the Packers started from their own 26. After a 2 yard Ryan Grant run on first down, Brett Favre threw a pass to the right intended for Donald Driver. Instead, the ball ended up in the hands of Giants cornerback Corey Webster. The Giants got the ball at the Packers 34. The Giants were only able to gain 5 yards, which set up another Tynes field goal attempt. This one was from 47 yards; he previously missed from 43 and 36. Tynes put the kick right down the middle. He had a few more yards on it, but that's all. The Giants won the NFC Championship Game, and were headed to Super Bowl XLII.
Keys to the Game:
I thought the keys to the game were costly penalties and turnovers. The McQuarters fumble after the interception allowed the Packers to tie the game at 20 with a field goal. If he had held on to the ball, who knows what would have happened. The penalties on the Brandon Jacobs TD drive killed the Packers. They had a total of 4 penalties for 21 yards, even though 2 of them were offsides penalties at the 1 yard line. The other 2 penalties on that drive were on 3rd down, and they both gave the Giants an automatic first down. The unnecessary roughness penalty on Sam Madison was... well, unnecessary. The Packers failed a 3rd down, but Madison shoved a Packers player to the ground, which gave Green Bay an auto-first. They scored on the very next play. Obviously, the most costly turnover of the game was the Favre INT in overtime.
Great game, and the Giants are headed to the Super Bowl!!!