Tuck, Giants pass rush harass Brady just enough

INDIANAPOLIS -- Justin Tuck called together his pals from the New York Giants' defensive line, gathering them in the end zone before the game for an impromptu pep talk and urging them to create some havoc for Tom Brady.

On the first play for the New England Patriots, Tuck took matters -- and the star quarterback -- into his own hands.

Tuck bounced off two blocks and pressured Brady into an ill-advised toss from the very same end zone that resulted in a safety, setting the tone in the Giants' 21-17 Super Bowl win Sunday night.

Tuck sacked Brady twice, overcame an injury and rallied the Giants, living up to his image as one of their defensive leaders.

"They had a great scheme there and they had something going there to stop our rush," Tuck said. "But we changed our coverage, and the secondary did a good job so we could eat up front."

On a night the Giants knew they had to put Brady on the ground, Tuck ruled.

He got the Giants (13-7) off to a fast start, getting the safety on the Pats' first offensive play with an intentional grounding call, and came up big again when the Giants needed him. The Patriots (15-4) felt the pressure.

After taking a 17-9 lead on the opening drive of the second half, New England thought it could put the game away with another long scoring march. Tuck and the defense didn't let it happen.

"We were feeling good and we knew we were going to go down and score there," receiver Deon Branch said, referring to the touchdown drive. "It was just a matter of what we were going to do the next time we had the ball and we went three-and-out and you can't do that. We had a chance to put them away and we didn't do it."

Instead, Tuck and the Gianta made the Patriots pay dearly for it.

And when Brady got the ball back with 57 seconds to go and needing a touchdown to win, Tuck called the Giants together one last time and gave them one more pep talk.

"I think a lot of guys had their eyes lit up," he said. "I said `This is what we've been working hard for all year, and we've got 57 seconds left to be world champs."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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