1. Archive


A relentless pass rush harries Brady into off night.
Published Feb. 4, 2008

Plaxico Burress was absolutely wrong, Tom Brady.

The Patriots quarterback couldn't get 17 points against the Giants defense, which sacked the NFL MVP five times and hit him nine more times while he was throwing.

Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora hounded and hit Brady from start to finish in limiting the NFL's all-time best offense to just two touchdowns Sunday.

The 14 points were a season low for a team that was looking for a place in history. Now it has one.

Burress created a stir by predicting the Giants would end the Patriots' run at perfection after 18 straight wins. His forecast was 23-17, and it got Brady's attention.

"We're only going to score 17 points?" Brady chuckled at the thought the Giants could shut down an offense that scored 589 points and got a record 50 TD passes from its star quarterback.

"Okay. Is Plax playing defense? I wish he had said 45-42 and gave us a little credit for scoring more points."

Credit goes to the Giants and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who refused to back down. They attacked Brady at every opportunity.

"I think our defense did a great job of setting the tone," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "They were in the attack mode all the time. They did their job. The defense certainly did an excellent job.

"We did some different things; created some different matchups."

The last big play came in the final minute when rookie tackle Jay Alford took over for a winded Fred Robbins and planted Brady on second and 10 from the New England 26 with 19 seconds to go.

Brady threw two more desperation passes. Then the Giants began to celebrate their third Super Bowl title.

Strahan, 36, a seven-time Pro Bowl player who opted to return this season after mulling retirement for the entire training camp, knelt and looked up at the roof at the University of Phoenix Stadium. After 15 years, he had his Super Bowl ring.

"We watched a lot of TV," Strahan said. "We had a lot of free time. I remember somebody saying the Giants have a false sense of confidence from the first time they played. We got confident. My guys are the best in the world."

The Giants held New England to 274 yards in total offense, including just 45 yards rushing.

Brady finished 29-for-48 for 266 yards and one touchdown, a 6-yarder to Randy Moss with 2:42 to play.

The defensive effort came a month after the Patriots ripped the Giants for 38 points in the final game of the regular season. Brady passed for 356 yards and four touchdowns that day.

Now the Giants had their revenge.