INDIANAPOLIS -- A gamble by the desperate New England Patriots led to New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw to go 6 yards untouched for a 21-17 lead with 57 seconds to play in Super Bowl XLVI. It turned out to be the game-winning touchdown.
Coach Bill Belichick's decision to trade a touchdown for time on the clock surprised Bradshaw, who didn't expect to have such an easy path to the end zone and heard quarterback Eli Manning yelling at him to stop short of the goal line.
The Giants would have rather run more time off the clock and let kicker Lawrence Tynes finish it off with a field goal to win by a single point. Tynes was warming up on the sideline when Bradshaw got the handoff.
"I thought I heard Eli yelling at me to fall down," Bradshaw said. "I tried, but I couldn't do it."
Bradshaw spun around at the 1-yard line and tried to stop, but wound up falling backward into the end zone. At that moment, Manning wished he'd anticipated the Patriots' decision in the huddle.
"I had the feeling they might do that," said Manning, voted the game's MVP. "I should have got to them and told them not to score. When I got the snap I saw their defensive line ease up. I was telling to Ahmad not to score, not to score."
It wasn't the first time a defense traded a touchdown for time in the Super Bowl. Green Bay allowed Denver's Terrell Davis to score from 1 yard out to give the Broncos a 31-24 lead with 1:45 left in the 1998 game. Brett Favre couldn't take advantage of the final chance.
Neither could Tom Brady, who got the Patriots only to midfield with 5 seconds to go for a desperation pass into the end zone. Brady said later that he agreed with Belichick's decision to ease up on defense to save some time.
"I liked it," Brady said. "It was better than not having a chance at all. He made a good decision. We left ourselves with a little bit of time."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press