INDIANAPOLIS His older brother built this house.
Sunday, Eli Manning raised the roof.
The sleepy-eyed New York Giants quarterback woke the past, beating the New England Patriots for the second time in the past five Super Bowls a 21-17 victory at Lucas Oil Stadium.
In the 2008 game, the signature play was Manning's against-all-odds completion to David Tyree, who pinned the ball to his helmet as he fell, a catch that set up the winning touchdown in the final minute.
This time, the rub-your-eyes reception was a 38-yarder to Mario Manningham on the first play of the drive to another last-minute winning touchdown. He beat two defenders and just got his feet in before tumbling out of bounds. The Patriots unsuccessfully challenged the play.
"I knew as soon as the ball hit my fingertips, I was going to have to freeze my feet," Manningham said. "I kind of knew I was in."
The decisive touchdown came on Ahmad Bradshaw's six-yard run up the middle with 57 seconds to play. The Patriots allowed him to score to get the ball back in Tom Brady's hands for one more chance.
Bradshaw tried to stop just short of the goal line so the Giants who trailed 17-15 and needed only a field goal to go ahead could use more of the clock, but his momentum carried him into the end zone.
Brady, seeking his fourth Super Bowl ring, took possession with 57 seconds left after a touchback on the kickoff and moved New England to midfield, but his Hail Mary heave on the final play fell incomplete.
"We fought to the end," Brady said. "I'm very proud of that. We just came up a little short. It always comes down to one or two plays in this game. If you make it, you're celebrating. If you don't, you don't sleep for a week."
Manning was named the game's MVP for the second time. He completed 30 of 40 passes for 296 yards and one touchdown on the same field where his older brother Peyton, a four-time NFL MVP, has orchestrated so many wins for the Colts.
"It just feels good to win a Super Bowl," said Eli, who now has two championship rings to Peyton's one. "It doesn't matter where you are, what stadium."
Not long ago, the Giants appeared worlds away from hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. They pulled out of a tailspin that had dropped their record to 7-7, beat Dallas in a do-or-die regular-season finale, then in the playoffs became just the second team in league history to reach the Super Bowl by beating three teams with better records.
"Quite frankly, I felt pretty good about our team the whole time," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "I know on the outside there was a lot of typical stuff going on. You lose a game in New York, you're fired, burned at the stake or whatever. But I didn't pay a lot of attention to that."
Now, his team is the first Super Bowl champion to have entered the playoffs with just nine wins since the league switched to a 16-game schedule in 1978, the first to have been outscored in the regular season and the first to win it all after a four-game losing streak.
"I thought four years ago was exciting," Giants co-owner Steve Tisch said. "That was a dress rehearsal."
Both quarterbacks put on a spectacular passing display in setting Super Bowl records, Manning for completing his first nine passes and Brady for later connecting on 16 in a row. Brady broke Joe Montana's record with that streak, but he could not match the four championship rings of the 49ers' Montana and Pittsburgh's Terry Bradshaw.
One of Brady's primary targets, tight end Rob Gronkowski, wasn't much of a factor, hobbled by a high left ankle sprain. He finished with two catches for 26 yards.
Still, New England overcame an early 9-0 deficit by scoring 17 unanswered points in the second and third quarters. But the Giants hung tough, as their defense shut out the Patriots for the final 26:20.
"We played smart," said Manning, who led the Giants to six fourth-quarter comeback wins in the regular season. "There at the end when we had an opportunity in the fourth quarter, we'd been in those situations, and we knew that we had no more time left. We had to go down and score, and guys stepped up and made great plays."