Second-quarter thoughts

Patriots fans should be very encouraged by the fact that their team scored right before the end of the first half of Super Bowl XLVI. Historically, in a close game, when a team scores right before the end of the first half they win a high percentage of the time.

The 96-yard drive by Tom Brady was a great one. It’s very difficult to engineer a drive that long without making any mistakes and the Pats did it. I’m a little surprised at the 10-9 score. I thought we’d have more points scored in the first half. I think the Giants’ game plan is to try and run the ball as much as possible. I think the game plan for New England is to throw short passes to the tight ends. Rob Gronkowski caught one pass on third down that was a really big play.

The first half was a game between two good offensive teams, but the defenses seemed to outshine both of the offenses.

The smallest player on the field also came up with some of the biggest plays, as New England RB Danny Woodhead had three receptions for 23 yards and the Patriots’ lone touchdown of the half.

The play of Woodhead shows what an undersized player from a non-division I school can do. Coaches wanted him to walk-on at Nebraska, but he wanted a scholarship and Chadron State gave him a shot. He was an undrafted rookie free agent who went to camp with the New York Jets. Here’s a little guy from a little school making a difference in the second quarter.

The Giants were really hurt by two very costly penalties during the quarter.

The Giants were penalized for having 12 men on the field early during the second quarter. On third-and-15, Ahmad Bradshaw caught a pass and gained 11 yards. Had it not been for the penalty, the Giants would have had a first down and continued their drive instead of punting to the Patriots.

There’s no excuse for having 12 men on the field. It never used to get called until the rule was put in about 15 years ago because teams tried to confuse you as to who was going to stay in and who was going to come out.

The other penalty was a holding call on Kevin Boothe.

In both cases, the Giants had to punt.

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