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Tag:Justin Tuck
Posted on: February 9, 2012 11:08 am
 

Brady told O'Brien he threw ball away on safety

Hard to blame Brady for throwing it away. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Much ado's been made about the safety on the first Patriots offensive play of the game in the Super Bowl last Sunday -- Tom Brady threw the ball to no one while standing in his own end zone. But was intentional grounding the right call? And did some receiver mess up a route that caused Brady to throw the ball where he did?

Turns out, no. Brady actually was throwing it away. On the Sound FX portion of NFL Replay, NFL Films caught Brady telling (former) offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien that he did in fact throw it away after first trying to find Rob Gronkowski, then Wes Welker and finally feeling heat from Justin Tuck.

"I looked to Gronk, I looked to Wes, he dropped and then I felt [Tuck]," Brady said. "I had no place to throw it away. I threw it over his head. I didn't want to throw an interception."

So it's a pretty clear case of intentional grounding, provided Brady was in the pocket (he was) and therefore a clear safety provided Brady was in the end zone (he was). That didn't stop Bill Belichick from arguing the call with referee John Parry through.

Sound FX picked up Belichick calling Parry over and saying "The intentional grounding call ..."

"What's the problem with it?" Parry replied.

"He had a guy coming in there -- he didn't throw it to him. But he had a guy that was coming in there," Belichick said. "I mean, damn."

There are four parts up on NFL.com (if you don't have NFL Network) and all are worth watching. As we noted earlier on Thursday, one clip shows Belichick telling his defense to stifle Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks and "make" the Giants find Mario Manningham on their final drive.

Unfortunately for Belichick, that worked out about as well as his attempt to argue that Brady didn't throw the ball away.

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Posted on: February 8, 2012 8:42 pm
 

Report: Tom Brady's injured shoulder not serious

Tuck's sack changed the complexion of the Super Bowl. (AP)
By Ryan Wilson

We wrote about this moments after the Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI: Tom Brady pre-Justin Tuck sack was a completely different player than the one after Tuck took him to the Lucas Oil Stadium Turf late in the third quarter.

Brady completed 20 of 24 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns (this includes breaking Joe Montana's Super Bowl record for consecutive completions) before Tuck got a hold of him. He was 7 of 17 for 75 yards with an interception afterwards.

At the time, we figured Brady had aggravated a left shoulder injury and that, in part, had something to do with the abrupt drop-off in production. That Brady slowly made his way to the bench and was surrounded by team doctors as they checked him out (not to mention the sight of Brian Hoyer getting loose) only confirmed the suspicions.

Well, on Wednesday, the Boston Herald's Ian Rapoport shared what he knows:
Brady landed hard on his left shoulder, aggravating the sprain from earlier in the season. The key word is “sprain.” This is the same injury that forced him to miss a practice during the AFC Championship week, an ailment he needed to manage. The aggravation didn’t lead to major injury, though, and Brady did not need to come out of the game for treatment. It also is not believed to be the kind of injury that will need to be dealt with much in the offseason.
Put differently: Tuck's hit hurt like hell but didn't cause lasting damage. Hoyer told Rapoport that “I don’t know if I’ll ever meet someone as tough as he is."

(Clearly, Hoyer hasn't met Gisele.)

After the game, one in which Brady sat dejected at his locker for a very long time, he finally spoke about the play that probably decided the outcome: the Brady-to-Welker throw-that-wasn't with four minutes left in the fourth quarter.

"Wes was running down the field and it looked like they messed the coverage up a little bit and I threw it to him," Brady said. "(Welker) went up to try and make it, as he always does, and we just couldn't connect. He's a hell of a player. I'll keep throwing the ball to him for as long as I possible can. He's a phenomenal player and teammate and I love that guy."

For his part, Welker didn't make excuses.

"The ball is right there," Welker said when asked if he was looking for it on the other shoulder. "I've just got to make the play. It's a play I've made a thousand times in practice and everything else. It comes to the biggest moment of my life and I don't come up with it. It's discouraging."

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Posted on: February 7, 2012 2:52 pm
 

Man who bet on SB safety to donate to charity

Justin Tuck's safety on Tom Brady won a man $50,000. (AP)
By Josh Katzowitz

In the immediate aftermath of the first-quarter safety in Super Bowl XVLI, when Justin Tuck forced Tom Brady into an intentional grounding penalty while throwing from the end zone, a few writers in the auxiliary press box started looking up the prop bet odds that surely would pay off in a huge way for at least one person.

Well, a guy named Jona Rechnitz had played a $1,000 wager that a safety would occur, and with those 50-1 odds, he suddenly was $50,000 richer. But not for long.

That’s because as TMZ reports (via Yahoo Sports), Rechnitz plans to donate all the post-tax money to various charities, including one of Brady’s choice. Rechnitz, a big Giants fan, also apparently wants to donate $5,000 to the charity of Tuck’s choice.

Even crazier, Rechnitz -- who owns a capital investment firm in Manhattan and who apparently does quite well for himself -- only makes one Super Bowl bet per year. Luckily for him and his future recipients, this year’s wager panned out rather nicely.

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Posted on: February 5, 2012 10:01 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2012 11:48 pm
 

Manning, again, beats the Pats when it counts

C. Blackburn's interception of Tom Brady helped change the game for New York (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)
By Josh Katzowitz

INDIANAPOLIS – Eli Manning did it again.

Four years ago, Manning proved he was one of the most clutch quarterbacks in the game, leading the Giants to the shell-shocking Super Bowl victory against the undefeated Patriots, and at Super Bowl XLVI, he cemented himself as one of the most-elite signal-callers in the game.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Manning is an all-timer, maybe a future Hall of Famer. Maybe not quite as good as brother Peyton. But Peyton only has one Super Bowl ring. Now, his younger brother has two.

Losing for most of the second half, Manning, with 3:46 to play, led the Giants on a nine-play, 88-yard drive to pull off the 21-17 upset of the Patriots.
Eli Manning was the Super Bowl MVP (AP)

Once again, Manning beat Tom Brady in the final game of the season. Once again, Giants coach Tom Coughlin knocked off New England’s Bill Belichick in the most-important contest of the year. Once again, Manning needed to be clutch in the final minutes with his team trailing the favored Patriots, and yes, once again, Manning delivered the victory.

Not surprisingly, he was the Super Bowl MVP and led a 9-7 team to the NFL title -- the first time that's ever happened.

While there were no David Tyree moments -- not one receiver caught the ball off his helmet -- Manning’s first throw of the final drive was a 38-yard pass to Mario Manningham that advanced the ball to midfield. From there, it was a 16-yard pass to Manningham, a two-yard throw to Manningham and a 14-yard throw to Hakeem Nicks.

After a seven-yard run by Ahmad Bradshaw, Manning completed a four-yard pass to Nicks to set up the Giants game-winning score.

But here was a potential problem: with 57 seconds remaining, the Patriots simply allowed New York to score a touchdown so they’d get the ball back, and though Bradshaw tried to stop himself, his momentum carried him into the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown.

"These guys never quit," Manning told NBC's Dan Patrick on the field afterward. "We had great faith in each other. ... It just feels good to win a Super Bowl, no matter where we are."

On fourth and 16 deep in his own territory, Brady kept the game alive by throwing a first-down ball to Deion Branch. After back-to-back incompletions, Brady took the final snap of the game with 5 seconds to play, and though his Hail Mary attempt was batted around in the end zone, it fell harmlessly to the turf to seal the Giants win.

For the first 26 minutes of the second half, the Patriots were in control of the game and seemed likely to get New England its first Super Bowl title since 2004.
Ahmad Bradshaw tried to stop himself from falling into the end zone but ultimately couldn't. (AP)

Many of the pregame storylines -- the Giants were going to pick on the Patriots secondary all night, New England’s offense would be much less dynamic without a completely-healthy Rob Gronkowski and the New York defense would spook Tom Brady once again -- hadn’t panned out.

Instead, after falling behind 9-0 in the first quarter, Brady was fantastic on the final drive of the first half, completing all 10 of his passes. Though Jason Pierre-Paul stuffed Danny Woodhead on second and goal from the 3 for a 1-yard loss, Brady, with all kinds of time provided by his offensive line, found Woodhead for the four-yard touchdown pass to give New England a 10-9 lead at halftime.

The 14-play, 96-yard drive tied a Super Bowl record for longest drive, and that momentum continued in to the third quarter. Though Madonna elongated halftime with her mostly-panned performance, the Patriots came out hot in the second half, as Brady went 6-for-6 on the first drive of the third quarter and threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to tight end Aaron Hernandez.

Except for his performance in the first half, New England's offense struggled behind Tom Brady. (AP)
On those two game-turning drives, Brady was 16 of 16 for 154 yards and two touchdowns, and he proved that many of those pregame prognostications were inaccurate.

Except the Patriots offense didn’t do much of anything else after that.

Gronkowski, like we thought, wasn’t much of a factor except as a decoy and a blocking tight end. Even with the best tight end in the game suffering from a high ankle sprain, New England’s offense, especially went it went to no-huddle, was dynamic enough in the middle of the game. Brady did try to go deep to Gronkowski early in the fourth quarter, but Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn intercepted him.

But after that strong output in the drives sandwiching intermission -- Brady completed a Super Bowl-record 16-straight passes -- New York’s defense stopped the Patriots.

The Giants couldn’t have had a better start defensively after the Patriots forced a punt and New York punter Steve Weatherford dropped a kick at the New England 6. On the first Patriots play from scrimmage, Giants defensive end Justin Tuck got good pressure, and Brady released the ball across the middle of the field before he took the hit.

But officials penalized him for intentional grounding, and since Brady was in the end zone when he threw the ball, it was ruled a safety to give New York a 2-0 lead -- the second time this postseason the Giants had opened a game with a safety.

Giants 21, Patriots 17
On the next drive, Manning, who started the game 9 of 9 for 77 yards and a touchdown, found Victor Cruz for the 2-yard score to give New York a nine-point advantage. At that point, New York had run 17 plays to the Patriots total of 1.

But toward the end of the second quarter, the Patriots started playing better.

Still, the Giants kept themselves in the game. Even though New York fumbled three times, they managed to recover two of them and the other was wiped out by a Patriots penalty. After falling behind 17-9, Lawrence Tynes kicked a 38-yard and a 33-yard field goal in the third quarter to cut the lead to 17-15.

After the game, Coughlin was asked by NBC to talk about how he matched the Super Bowl total of his mentor, Bill Parcells.

Said Coughlin: "I'm not about comparisions."

Fair enough, but we know enough to say this. Coughlin shouldn't ever have to worry about his job security in New York again, and Eli Manning never should have to worry about being overshadowed by his brother.

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Posted on: February 5, 2012 9:09 pm
 

Tom Brady hurts left shoulder, stays in game

Brady's shoulder was banged up when Tuck smushed him. (AP)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- It's only something to watch right now, but it's not good news for the Patriots that Brian Hoyer began warming up after Tom Brady took a nasty sack on third down with just under six minutes left in the third quarter.

Brady came to the sideline, and indicated that his head and shoulder -- the left one that's bothered him previously -- were banged up. He began talking to doctors, Hoyer threw about three passes and then the doctors left him alone.

The Giants brought a three-man rush on the play in question, got pressure on Brady and the Pats quarterback started to take off and run for the first down. When he realized that wasn't happening, he tried to drop back in the pocket but Justin Tuck took him down in a crumpled heap.

On the previous play, Brady threw his first interception in 16 attempts, leaving his Super Bowl record at 16-straight completed passes. (He'd previously broken Joe Montana's mark of 13.)

We don't want to presume too much, either, but on the next drive, Brady threw an interception when he badly underthrew Rob Gronkowski on what would've been a New England touchdown.

It's hard to imagine a totally healthy Brady missing that throw.

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 10:21 am
Edited on: February 1, 2012 4:06 pm
 

Giants defensive mindset comes from the top down

Pierre-Paul points the way for the New York defense. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Everyone wants you to believe that Super Bowl XVLI is similar to the Giants-Patriots matchup from 2007. It makes sense -- the ferocious pass rush Tom Coughlin's squad brings to the table is so similar to the dominant 2007 defense. That's not some hapless circumstance though: it's a result of a carefully-crafted personnel plan that starts from the top up and permeates the entire organization.

Ask anyone on the Giants roster or coaching staff about what kind of attitude defines that defense, a unit that hasn't given up more than 20 points since Week 15, and you can tell there's a universal feeling within that group about the way they play. Right now that feeling could be described as "confidence." Or something ... else.

“Right now we have a badass mentality," safety Antrel Rolle said Tuesday. "That’s the way we like to look at it, that’s the way we want to keep it, and we’re very confident in our approach. But most of all, I think we’re very smart in our approach, meaning that everyone is on the same page at the same time and we have a clear understanding of what every guy is doing, not only yourself. So, you know, we’re a very intellectual team, and we take pride in that.

"But, at the same time, when the bell goes off on Sunday, we’re in attack mode. That’s the way we look at it."

The Giants struggled badly throughout much of the year on the defensive side of the ball (the Seahawks hung 36 on them in New York and they lost to the Redskins twice; that's all you need to know). Rolle acknowledged as much. But they shut out the Falcons offense in the divisional round and put the brakes on the previously white-hot Packers before handling the 49ers, reminding everyone of the 2007 unit that generated so much pressure from their front four.

But since 2007, the organization's seen a few important changes Perry Fewell replaced Steve Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator. Jerry Reese moved into Ernie Accorsi's spot as general manager. The organization's managed to not change though, primarily in the way they seek out and identify defensive players with a similar mindset.

"I think Jerry Reese and Mark Ross in our scouting department do a great job of identifying Giant defensive-minded football players," Fewell said. "And that came long before I came here. They've always had a good talent for doing that. The one thing that I can really talk about is pride, and 'Giant Pride.' When you step into the Giant defensive meeting room -- they make you write an essay about what it's like to be a New York Giant. And why do you want to be a New York Giant defensive football player."

Really?

"Yeah, that was not something I was accustomed to doing," Fewell said. "When I heard that they make the rookies do that, I thought it was really unique and different. So there's a lot of pride that goes along with being a New York Giant and being a defensive football player and I think that's permeated throughout the years with the Strahans and the Lawrence Taylors. It goes back more years than I've been there."

Think about that: you get your first job as a professional in your chosen vocation and when you get to work, you have to write an essay about why you want the job you've been chosen to do. It's insanity. But it's also a testament to the way the Giants build their defense.

So is the work the Giants do in the later rounds. There's no Victor Cruz (a shocking breakout as an undrafted free agent) on the defense. But there are a slew of slam dunks from the last 10 years of Giants drafts, whose talent allows the Giants to get hot at the right time.

"Our scouts are really the unsung heroes of this whole process. They are the lifeline," Reese said. "They go out for 185-200 days a year on the road, scouting. They unearth these players and bring them to our attention. We have a chance to look at these guys too. It’s all about us. The winning is about us as an organization. Our scouts and our players do a tremendous job. Our coaches do a tremendous job. I’m just happy for the organization as a whole."

Reese should be. Since 2003, the Giants have used their first pick in the NFL Draft on defense every single year, save twice: in 2004 when they took Philip Rivers (and swapped him for Eli Manning) and 2008, when they took Hakeem Nicks. Both those moves worked out OK, but it's the defensive selections that really stand out.

Mathias Kiwanuka, Aaron Ross, Jason Pierre-Paul and Prince Amukamara are all first-rounders taken by the Giants who either start or see tons of playing time. Corey Webster, a second-round pick, was the Giants first selection in 2005. Osi Umenyiora was a second-round pick in 2003, and Justin Tuck was a third-round pick in 2005.

What is it, exactly, though that the Giants look for when pursuing these guys?

"Ability," Tom Coughlin said. "The way in which we define the positions and evaluate the players according to the positions that they play. I'm not going to go into detail on how they're evaluated, but we stick strictly to our philosophy, our grading system and being as objective as we possibly can."

Coughlin's answer might sound like coachspeak. (Technically, it is.) But his point about "ability" actually points more to the Giants heavy desire to draft pass-rushers on a frequent basis. Accorsi did it when he ran the team, and Reese does it as well. Having four guys on the line who can generate pressure and turn up the heat on opposiing quarterbacks without having to send additional blitzers is precisely what makes the Giants defense so terrifying.

And Coughlin, like everyone else with the Giants, had a look of pride on his face when asked what differentiates the Giants defense and its specific players from other teams.

Don't expect him to call the the unit "badass." But he clearly feels the same way as Rolle. And it's a sentiment that's shared from top to bottom in an organization, and the reason why this unit's capable of looking like an elite defense.

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Posted on: January 31, 2012 5:11 pm
 

Rolle speaks his mind, whether you like it or not

Rolle

By Josh Katzowitz

INDIANAPOLIS – A month ago, Giants safety Antrel Rolle ripped some of his teammates for not playing through injuries. Two weeks ago, Rolle declared that his team “couldn’t be beat” before New York faced San Francisco. Somewhere in between, his mother gave him some advice.

Now, just to be clear, Rolle and his mom, Armelia Rolle, talk multiple times a day. Sometimes, as much as three or four times in a 24-hour span, and nobody -- not his coaches, his teammates or his conscience -- is going to be as truthful with him as she. They talk about life, about religion and about football.

So, when she gave him the advice to tone down his rhetoric and think about what he was going to say before the words left his mouth, he listened carefully.

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“As a mother, your first concern is what you read,” Rolle said. “She reads a lot, and she’s all about football. It definitely concerned her when she read things like, ‘Antrel needs to shut up’ or ‘He’s a distraction to the team.’ She knows I’m not that kind of guy, so for her to hear that as a mother, naturally it’s going to draw some concerns. It did for me as well. But I can’t pay attention to that.”

But then, like a preacher reading the summit of his sermon, Rolle’s voice began to rise during his time at Tuesday’s Media Day.

“I can hear it and I can feel it and it does bother me. But my only concern is for the betterment of this team. You ask guys in our locker room, and they say, ‘Antrel doesn’t say much.’ Nothing I ever say is premeditated, but what I say is what I feel deep. Whether it should be displayed to the media or not, I can’t say that. But I don’t take any of it back. I don’t have any regrets.”

Nor should he. The Giants have won five of their last six, and their defense has improved throughout the season. Toward the end of the year, when the Giants fell to 7-7 after yet another loss to the Redskins, Rolle said the injured players needed to stop babying themselves and get back into the game. Considering he'd also questioned Justin Tuck last season, Rolle's mouth was setting a disturbing trend.

But Rolle also isn’t seen by his teammates as a loudmouth locker room force. He isn’t known as a cancer. He’s just a guy who’s ultra-confident. He’s a guy who, in his mind, speaks the truth when it needs to be spoken.

“That’s the sad part people don’t know,” safety Deon Grant said. “They judge that book by that cover. He’s the total opposite. He’s not the kind of guy off the field who’s a loudmouth and getting in trouble. He’s a very respectable guy, a very kind-hearted guy. He makes all the people  who come into contact with, he takes care of them in his presence.”

And for better or for worse, Rolle isn’t going to change.

“I don’t think I can change,” he said. “I don’t know if I even want to change. I can only be smarter about how I may come off. But never, ever I have spoken out of anger. I just say what I feel.”

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Posted on: January 30, 2012 8:33 pm
 

Giants think Brady's parade 'story' is ridiculous

The Giants players are sick of the pep rally storyline too. (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- At the Patriots pep rally in New England, Tom Brady said that "hopefully" the Pats will be able to have a bigger party in two weeks. Brady meant that he hopes the Pats win the Super Bowl. But the New York media, bless them all, took that line and absolutely ran with it, calling it "Tom's Taunt."

"It was a pep rally," Brady deadpanned Sunday night when asked about the comment.

But that didn't stop a swarm of media members from spending a good deal of time asking Giants players if Brady's comments made them angry. As it turns out, the Giants are more annoyed by people making a story out of Brady's comments than they are by Brady's actual comments.

"Man, it was a pep rally," Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said Tuesday. "What was he supposed to say? I don’t think it’s Tom doing anything but getting fans riled up."

Tuck was also asked several times about the pep rally and clearly didn't want to discuss it. Linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka literally laughed at the idea of Brady trying to run his mouth.

[CBSSports.com's Full Super Bowl Coverage]

"I read his exact words and the way he phrased it" Kiwanuka said. "You get to this level, you get to this game because you're confident in yourself and I wouldn't expect anything else. Now if someone wants to come out and throw some legitimate trash talk we can talk about that. But you guys just need something to do for the week I guess."

Even Antrel Rolle, who loudly proclaimed just how loudly he likes to proclaim things, wouldn't take the bait and felt like Brady's comments were being blown out of proportion.

"It doesn’t matter at all," Rolle said of Brady's comments. "The game [still] has to be played on Sunday. And the only thing that is going to determine the outcome of the game are the players in the game, who’s going to take the field and who’s going to be on either side. No talk, no media, no speculation, no parties, none of that stuff is really relevant at this point."

The only thing -- at this point -- that makes Brady's comments fascinating is the New York media's refusal to let them go. But having been on the ground in Indy for just over 24 hours, it's highly likely that'll stop being amusing pretty quickly.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com