But 99 is really the number he’ll be remembered by.
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Cruz's 99-yard TD sparked a victory that propelled the Giants to SB XLVI...
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The Giants and Jets will return to the scene at MetLife Stadium, where Cruz’s famed 99-yard touchdown from Eli Manning not only sparked a victory over the local rivals on Christmas Eve 2011 but also defined their storied Super Bowl run.
“So Victor goes 99, and it’s a whole different ballgame,” head coach Tom Coughlin recalled in “America’s Game” by NFL Films. “And probably from that point on, if you wanted to define the defining moment in the season – when things really came together and took off – that was it right there. From that point on, we started to combine confidence with cohesiveness with intelligence with masterful play.”
The play – and the 29-14 victory as a whole -- symbolized the franchise’s odyssey into finding a fourth Super Bowl ring. There were periods of famine before the feast.
Before Cruz’s touchdown, the Giants were on the verge of their fourth three-and-out of the first half while trailing 7-3.
“If we don’t get a first down there, we’re going to have to punt, and they’re going to get the ball with good field position,” Manning said in the documentary. “That could be a 14-point or a 10-point swing right there.”
Coughlin remembered it the same.
“It’s an absolute struggle, you know,” he continued. “And we’re looking from the sideline and we’re backed up. We’ve got the ball on the one-yard line, and we’re coming out -- ‘This could be dangerous here.’”
However, the Giants prevailed, and five games and 43 days later, they were hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. If not for the game against the Jets, the Giants may have missed the postseason all together.