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WR Manningham Clutch in SBXLVI


There was no legendary speech in the huddle. Just a play call.

Down by two with 3:46 to play in Super Bowl XLVI, Eli Manning and company found themselves in familiar territory. It had become old hat all season to be in these situations while coming out victorious. 

It was time for one more.

On the first play of what would be the go-ahead drive, Mario Manningham made a spectacular over-the-shoulder grab from Eli Manning, freezing his feet on the left sideline 38 yards downfield.

Patriots cornerback Sterling Moore and safety Patrick Chung couldn't get to the receiver making his first Super Bowl appearance.

"He didn't say anything but the play," Manningham said of his quarterback in the huddle on the first play of the drive. "We knew what it was going to come down to. Like we've been in this situation. If everyone has been watching us all year, we've been in that situation. It's the Super Bowl. You have to dig deep and go out there and make a play."

The play was close enough for Patriots coach Bill Belichick to challenge, but the ruling of a completed pass was upheld.

The catch moved the ball to midfield, and after an incomplete pass targeted at him, Manningham picked up another 16-yard chunk two plays later. That was followed by a two-yard catch on first down, and five plays later, Ahmad Bradshaw ran in for a six-yard touchdown to give the Giants a 21-17 lead with 57 seconds remaining in Indianapolis (the Giants failed the two-point conversion on a D.J. Ware draw).

"I was feeling we're about to win this," he said. "We came too far to come up short. We've got great character as teammates, as players, and as a coaching staff."

Manningham finished the game with five catches for 73 yards, extending his postseason total to 13 catches for 189 and three touchdowns.

Already drawing comparisons to David Tyree's catch in Super Bowl XLII four years ago, Manningham says his version of "The Catch" only applies to the clutch situation rather than its spontaneity.

"It was just a catch, it was just a catch. I didn't catch it like this or like this," said Manningham, contorting his body as if making a circus grab. "It was just a catch. We work on that all the time. The sideline catch and fade, we work on that all the time."

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