The New England Patriots have experienced some of the best moments in the history of the Super Bowl, but in their three most recent losses, two to the New York Giants and Sunday night to the Philadelphia Eagles, they have also seen some tough plays go the way of their opponents.
From improbable catches to teams that just refused to wilt under the pressure of the big stage, the Patriots have been on the wrong end of some memorable moments.
Here is a look back at four of those game-changing plays.
Heading into Super Bowl XLII, quarterback Eli Manning and the Giants were heavy underdogs against the Patriots, who were 18-0 after completing a perfect regular season and winning both of their AFC Playoffs matchups, but the upset-minded Giants were not to be denied.
Facing a third-and-five from their own 43-yard line with just 1:15 left on the clock, Manning somehow avoided a heavy rush from the Patriots, scrambled to his right and lobbed a pass down the middle of the field.
Little-known wide receiver David Tyree, who had just four catches all season prior to the Super Bowl, outjumped two-time Pro Bowl/All-Pro safety Rodney Harrison and pinned the ball against his helmet with both hands in order to hold possession all the way through the end of the play.
With new life at New England’s 23-yard line after the Tyree catch, Manning finished off the scoring drive with a touchdown pass to wide receiver Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to complete what turned out to be a 17-14 come-from-behind victory at University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona.
MANNING TO MANNINGHAM
When the Giants and Patriots met again in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Manning again had to lead a come-from-behind victory late in the fourth quarter.
The Giants had a first-and-10 from their own 12-yard line after a punt from Twinsburg High School graduate Zoltan Mesko pinned New York deep in their territory, but Manning called on wide receiver Mario Manningham (Warren, Ohio/Harding High School) to flip field position.
On the first play of the drive, Manning dropped back deep and rifled a pass down the left sideline for Manningham, who despite tight coverage from the Patriots caught the ball and got both feet down in bounds before falling into New England’s bench area.
After securing the catch against his right shoulder, Manningham got his right foot, and then, his left, down and maintained possession of the ball all the way through the end of the play.
New England challenged the call, but the referee’s ruling was upheld by replay review, and seven plays later, running back Ahmad Bradshaw rushed for a six-yard touchdown, which turned into the game-winning score for the Giants in a 21-17 decision over the Patriots.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson is not afraid to take a gamble with his players, and that paid off with a fourth-down touchdown on a trick play with 34 seconds remaining in the second quarter of Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota Sunday night.
After being stopped short of the goal line three straight times, the Eagles ran a trick play as quarterback Nick Foles walked out of the backfield and lined up as a tight end on the right side while running back Corey Clement took the snap from Cleveland Heights native Jason Kelce.
While running left, Clement pitched the ball to tight end Trey Burton, who aired out a throw to Foles. After lining up as the tight end, Foles ran an unguarded out route toward the right sideline and hauled in the touchdown catch, which gave the Eagles a 22-12 advantage.
On one of the game’s deciding plays, the Eagles faced a third-and-seven from New England’s 11-yard line.
Foles took the shotgun snap and fired a pass to tight end Zach Ertz on the left side of the field. Ertz had separation from coverage and dove for the goal line with the ball. Although the ball came loose after hitting the ground, Ertz regained possession as he rolled from his side to his back.
A replay review upheld the touchdown call.
The Eagles went on to win Super Bowl LII, 41-33.