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Manning's escape, Tyree's catch haunt Patriots

It's the play that will define Super Bowl XLII. Players from both teams discuss QB Eli Manning's daring escape from the Patriots clutches and subsequent off-the-helmet completion to WR David Tyree.


Third-and-five from the Giants 44 yard line.

This is the game. This is the Super Bowl.

Giants QB Eli Manning takes the shotgun snap and is immediately met by the Patriots defensive line. He escapes the clutches of not one, not two, but three New England defenders.

He backpedals to set himself before lofting a pass some 40 yards downfield to a receiver who's swarmed by four Patriots. But somehow, WR David Tyree, with S Rodney Harrison nearly climbing on top of him, snares the ball out of the air with one hand and secures it with his helmet.

The Giants would go on to score to go-ahead-for-good touchdown with 35 seconds left. But no play would symbolize their effort more than that pass to Tyree.

"The ball just didn't bounce our way," Harrison lamented afterwards. "We had the guy for a sack and he slips us and he throws a Hail Mary up and the guy comes down with the ball and the ball is falling out of his hands. It was just incredible.

"I thought it was falling out. I thought it was an incomplete pass. It was a wacky and crazy play. I can't even explain it."

"The third and five," Manning explained, "It felt like I was being grabbed a little bit ... got out of it … saw Tyree in the middle of the field. I tried to get the ball to him and it just floated. He just made an unbelievable catch, jumping up, holding up to that ball, guys hanging all over him.

"He made an unbelievable catch and saved the game."

"That's really what it comes down to is making the play," Tyree observed. "Eli did an unbelievable job. I honestly don't know how he got out of it. And when the ball is in the air you have to go get it. That's the job."

Of all the players to do the job, Tyree seemed the most unlikely. He'd only caught four passes during the regular season, two of which came against New England in Week 17. And in three playoff games prior to the Super Bowl, Tyree only caught one pass.

He had three receptions in the Super Bowl, however, including a touchdown. But he'll forever be remembered for that miraculous catch late in the game.

Anyone who saw the play may have felt Tyree must have had a little help from a higher power. Perhaps he did.

"I honestly came out here and I expected to have a great day," he declared in his post-game interview. "It was all about God. This one is all about God and Jesus. And the rest of the glory goes to my mom, who died this year."

Ultimately, the Giants made the most of their opportunities and the Patriots didn't.

"They made some incredible plays on offense," CB Asante Samuel noted. "I don't know what it was and we weren't able to get it right when the game was on the line. They were just making incredible plays. Eli was sacked but he shook it off and made a good play. That's what it is."

Harrison agreed.

"I thought that play was representative of us not really getting the breaks that we were used to getting. Sometimes it is like that and you have to be able to overcome it if you want to win.

"You just have to give [the Giants] a lot of credit. We had our opportunities and didn't capitalize … it was extremely disappointing."

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