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Eisen's Mailbag: Super Bowl unsung heroes

Posted Feb 1, 2017

Today’s edition of The Mailbag on Giants.com.

What are the under-the-radar Super Bowl moments that helped the Giants put four trophies in the case?

You can point to at least one in each of the four Super Bowl victories. In Super Bowl XXI, Jeff Rutledge’s quarterback sneak on a fourth-and-one gave the Giants a first down on a third-quarter drive that led to the touchdown that gave the Giants the lead for good at 16-10.

Four years later, Jeff Hostetler somehow held onto the ball while being pulverized in the end zone by Bruce Smith. The Bills scored on a safety, but it likely would have been a touchdown had Hostetler fumbled – a huge difference in a game that ended 20-19.

In Super Bowl XLII, it was Steve Smith’s 12-yard catch-and-run on third-and-11, giving the Giants a first down on the New England 13-yard line. On the next play, Eli Manning threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress.

And in Super Bowl XLVI, Chase Blackburn’s interception of a Tom Brady pass on the second play of the fourth quarter prevented the Patriots from responding with their own score after Lawrence Tynes’ field goal lifted the Giants to within 1-15 moments earlier.

Which 2016 rookie will see the biggest improvement in his sophomore season?

I’m going with running back Paul Perkins. The fifth-round draft choice was at his best in the season’s final weeks. He had season-high rushing totals in each of the last five games, including a 102-yard outing in the regular-season finale in Washington in his first NFL start. Perkins also started the NFC Wild Card Game in Green Bay, where he rushed for 30 yards. Perkins has plenty of areas for potential improvement, but he could well be the Giants’ No.1 back in 2017.

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