When is scoring a touchdown a bad thing? When it’s the Super Bowl and you’re trying to eat up as much clock as possible to keep Tom Brady and the New England Patriots offense from retaking the field.
The New York Giants were faced with an interesting dilemma during their last offensive drive of the game.
Taking the ball with 88 yards of real estate to cover and only one time out, they needed a field goal to take the lead.
The clock showed 3:46 but it’s doubtful that the Giants were seriously worried, with Eli Manning having had such a spectacular season, which included several fourth quarter comebacks.
The G-men wasted no time with a beautiful 38-yard lob from Manning to Mario Manningham, who barely got his feet in for the reception.
Manningham was the receiver of choice for this drive as the next three attempts went his direction and he hauled in two more receptions for a total of 18-yards which took New York to the New England Patriot 32-yard line.
Fast forward a few plays and the Giants have the ball first and ten at the New England 7-yard line.
The field goal is basically a forgone conclusion – the assumption is that it will be good. But the strategy here is what makes football so fantastic.
New England takes it’s second time out, trying to preserve the clock as much as possible for another possession. During the time out they decide it’s most prudent to let the Giants score easily so they can get the ball back.
You play the game to win, and scoring is part of the game, but there was another wisdom that said with 1:04 left on the clock the Giants could have taken a knee or just fallen down on purpose to force the Patriots to use their last time out.
On second down with six yards to the end zone, Manning hands off to Ahmad Bradshaw who runs, untouched, to the goal line.
His brain engaged as he stopped at the one foot line and tried to hold off from going into the end zone, but his momentum caused him to fall in.
Had Bradshaw fallen at the one foot line, New England would have had to have used another time out.
It would have been third and goal from a foot.