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Originally published February 5, 2012 at 9:49 PM | Page modified February 6, 2012 at 1:01 AM

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Giants defense rises to task | Super Bowl notebook

Justin Tuck called together his pals from the New York Giants' defensive line, gathering them in the end zone before the game for an impromptu...

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INDIANAPOLIS — Justin Tuck called together his pals from the New York Giants' defensive line, gathering them in the end zone before the game for an impromptu pep talk and urging them to create some havoc for Tom Brady.

On the first play for the New England Patriots, Tuck took matters — and the star quarterback — into his own hands.

Tuck bounced off two blocks and pressured Brady into an ill-advised toss from the very same end zone that resulted in a safety, setting the tone in the Giants' 21-17 Super Bowl victory Sunday night.

Tuck sacked Brady twice, overcame an injury and rallied the Giants, living up to his image as one of their defensive leaders.

"They had a great scheme there and they had something going there to stop our rush," Tuck said. "But we changed our coverage, and the secondary did a good job so we could eat up front."

On a night the Giants knew they had to put Brady on the ground, Tuck ruled.


own "Catch"

Move over David Tyree. Mario Manningham is the new star in the Giants' latest version of "The Catch."

It might not have been a helmet catch like Tyree's in the Super Bowl four years ago, but it was just as clutch and just as timely — and Tyree was there to see it.

Manningham made a magnificent over-the-shoulder catch and managed to stay inbounds on the opening play of a game-winning, 88-yard touchdown drive that carried New York to another come-from-behind win over the Patriots.

Manningham's 38-yard reception came with two defenders bearing down on him.

"We just tried to be patient," said Manningham, who finished with five catches for 73 yards. "Got to be patient with this game. We knew big plays was going to come, we just had to take advantage of them."

A blowout?

The four-point margin of victory was the most "lopsided" of the five Super Bowls involving Bill Belichick as coach of the Patriots. Each of the other four was decided by three points.

Against his instincts

It isn't often that one team allows another to score, but that was the case in the waning moments when the Patriots didn't try to tackle Ahmad Bradshaw on his touchdown run so Tom Brady would have enough time to lead one last desperation drive.

But allowing Bradshaw to cross the goal line — and he tried to stop himself — was not an easy task for Patriots defenders.

"It killed me," New England linebacker Brandon Spikes said. "When the call came in to let them score I was kind of like, 'What?' I'm here to do a job and it's my job to play the defense and not let them score. It was tough, though. It was definitely tough."

M.I.A. gestures to crowd

Madonna earned praise early on for her halftime performance at the Super Bowl on Sunday night, but it was her guest star M.I.A. who may have stolen the headlines by making an obscene gesture and stopping just short of singing a vulgar lyric.

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