Belichick wanted Giants to throw toward Manningham

The Patriots got exactly what they wanted when the Giants threw

to Mario Manningham on New York’s last Super Bowl drive.

Then the receiver New England deemed less dangerous than Victor

Cruz or Hakeem Nicks made a catch that will be replayed over and

over for years to come.

”This is still a Cruz and Nicks game,” Patriots coach Bill

Belichick tells his defenders in audio captured for ”Sound FX,”

which first aired Wednesday night on NFL Network. ”I know we’re

right on them; it’s tight. But those are still the guys. Make them

go to Manningham; make them go to (tight end Bear) Pascoe. Let’s

make sure we get Cruz and Nicks.”

Manningham’s 38-yard reception – over-the-shoulder, between two

defenders and along the sideline – was the key play on the Giants’

winning drive. New England challenged the catch, but as the video

review is going on, a dejected Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is

heard muttering, ”He caught it.”

Cruz had 82 catches for 1,536 yards this season, while Nicks had

76 receptions for 1,192 yards. Manningham caught 39 passes for 523

yards and was slowed by injuries.

With New York in position to run down the clock and kick the

winning field goal later in the drive, New England linebacker Jerod

Mayo tells his fellow defenders in the huddle, ”We’ve got to let

’em score.” Tackle Vince Wilfork then assures a teammate as the

players are lining up, ”Yeah, yeah, let ’em score.”

But on the sideline, Brady laments, ”They’re not going to

score.”

He was wrong. Ahmad Bradshaw fell into the end zone after trying

to stop himself, putting the Giants up 21-17 with 57 seconds left.

With one timeout and needing a touchdown, Brady couldn’t lead the

Patriots on a winning drive.

”Sound FX” replays will air on NFL Network on Saturday, Monday

and Tuesday.