Before Eli Manning and the Giants took the field for their eventual game-winning drive in Super Bowl XLVI, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was telling his defense to force New York to throw to wide receiver Mario Manningham.
The NFL Network show "Sound FX" featured a video of Belichick reminding his players, "This is still a (Victor) Cruz and (Hakeem) Nicks game," shedding light on the Patriots’ plan for defending the crucial final sequence.
"Make ’em throw to Manningham, make ’em throw to (tight end Bear) Pascoe. Let’s make sure we get Cruz and Nicks," the three-time Super Bowl-winning coach said.
On the Giants’ first play from their own 12-yard line, Manning connected with Manningham for 38 yards down the left sideline, a completion that was the turning point in the Giants’ 21-17 win.
The Patriots challenged the catch, but the replay confirmed Manningham tapped both of his feet down in bounds before falling out. One play later, Manningham struck again with a 16-yard reception, moving the Giants to the Patriots’ 34-yard line.
The winning touchdown came five plays later on a 6-yard run by Ahmad Bradshaw with 57 seconds remaining.