Donte' Stallworth

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Posted by pompos 04/03/2009 @ 13:11

Tags : donte' stallworth, football players, football, sports

News headlines
Donte Stallworth Pleads Not Guilty To Manslaughter Charges - Deadspin
Donte Stallworth's lawyer was in court today to plead not guilty to DUI manslaughter charges and will likely try to use the quirks of Florida law to reduce the charge and keep his client out of jail. As you may have learned from the Jim Leyritz story,...
Stallworth may escape manslaughter charge - Yahoo! Sports
Sports May 21, 8:10 am EDT Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte' Stallworth(notes) could avoid a DUI manslaughter conviction from the March 14 accident that killed a Miami man even if he is found to have been impaired while driving, according to two...
Louisiana Sports: Calvin Borel, Tonight Show, Donte Stallworth ... - Bayou Buzz
SOME HITHER, OTHERS YON: The arraignment of former Saints receiver Donte Stallworth is scheduled for Thursday on Miami . The Browns wideout will formally be charged with DUI manslaughter for the death of a pedestrian, who was killed with Stallworth's...
Browns' jobs up for grabs - Akron Beacon Journal
2 Donte' Stallworth, facing charges of DUI manslaughter, will participate in camp. Offensive line: Mangini has rotated everyone everywhere to see where the strengths lie, and the only spot locked up seems to be two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas....
NFLPA settles - Boston Herald
Offensive guard Tyson Clabo, who started 16 games for the Falcons last season, signed a restricted free agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons after starting all 16 games last year. . . . Cleveland Browns receiver Donte' Stallworth is pleading not...
Hey, Tony: Tony Grossi answers your Cleveland Browns questions - The Plain Dealer - cleveland.com
by Tony Grossi/Plain Dealer Reporter Tracy Boulian/The Plain DealerBetween his legal problems and his absence through the spring minicamps, there's little reason to believe Donte Stallworth will be a part of the Browns when the season rolls along,...
Arms race in the SEC - Daily Comet
Since 2000, the SEC has produced nine first round picks at receivers in Travis Taylor and Percy Harvin (Florida), Dwayne Bowe, Craig “Buster” Davis and Michael Clayton (LSU), Robert Meachem and Donte Stallworth from Tennessee, Troy Williamson (South...
Brett Favre and Chad Ochocinco: Bad As Mike Vick? - Bleacher Report
Florio lumps together former Packer/Jets quarterback Brett Favre, Chad Ochocinco (formerly Chad Johnson) the Bengals receiver, and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler with the likes of recently released prisoner Michael Vick, and Donte Stallworth who has...
Players group reviewing bus trip, long days of Cleveland Browns ... - The Plain Dealer - cleveland.com
Stallworth plea: Browns receiver Donte Stallworth pleaded not guilty to a charge of DUI manslaughter Thursday morning in Miami-Dade Circuit court in connection with the death of pedestrian Mario Reyes. He did not have to appear at the brief hearing....
Starting over: Mangini back to his roots for rebuilding Browns - USA Today
Wide receiver: Even if Braylon Edwards is no longer a Brown at the start of the season or Donte Stallworth is still dealing with legal issues stemming from DUI-manslaughter charges, Cleveland has amassed a lot of manpower after drafting Brian Robiskie...

Charles Grant (American football)

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Charles Gabriel Grant (born September 3, 1978) is an American football player who currently plays defensive end for the New Orleans Saints of the NFL. He has played in 94 of 96 games - with 82 starts - since joining the Saints as a 1st round pick in 2002. He has 38.5 sacks, more than any other Saints defender since 1968. No player in Saints' history has posted more sacks in their first three seasons than the 27.5 Grant had from 2002-04.

Played both offense and defense at Hargrave Military Academy in 1998. Was a Parade Magazine 1997 All-American. He tied runningback Chuck Rumbley's state single-season touchdown record with 45 in 1997 and added 3,472 all-purpose yards. Totaled 101 touchdowns in his three-year career at Miller County (Ga.) HS.

Three-year letterman and two-year starter at the University of Georgia. Ended career with 136 tackles, 27 tackles-for-loss and 15 sacks. Sack total ranks sixth on the school's all-time list. Totaled 63 tackles and six sacks as a junior in 2001. As a freshman, recorded 33 tackles and seven sacks, while also seeing duty in offensive backfield, rushing for 79 yards and three touchdowns at fullback. Majored in arts and sciences.

Grant's seven sacks in 2002 were the fourth-highest total for a Saints rookie, and he recorded 20.5 sacks from 2003-04. He was the second of two first-round picks (25th overall) for New Orleans in 2002, following wide receiver Donte' Stallworth (13th overall). He finished second with seven sacks for minus-40 yards, 36 tackles (32 solo), two passes defensed, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Appeared in 16 games and started six at LDE. Finished tied for 20th in the NFC with seven sack total.

He got a six-year extension with the Saints on July 27, 2002. After showing glimpses of his vast potential as a rookie, Grant came through with a big season and started all 16 games. Led the team with 10 sacks and three forced fumbles, led the defensive line with 53 tackles (39 solo).

Started all 16 contests for the second-straight season and paced the defensive line with 113 tackles (69 solo) while posting a career-high 10.5 sacks. He also posted his first career interception.

Appeared in all 16 contests and started 14 games at RDE, recording 62 tackles (44 solo), 2.5 sacks, two passes defensed and a fumble recovery.

Bounced back from a subpar season with 6 sacks and 64 tackles (49 solo) in 16 games. he also collected 3 forced fumbles with 2 recoveries and 6 passes defensed.

Had his worst season as a pro statistically, appearing in 14 of 16 games and compiling only 2.5 sacks to go along with 48 tackes (39 solo). He also chipped in with 2 passes defensed. Grant underwent surgery on a torn ligament in his left ankle the 2008 offseason.

Grant apparently injured his ankle on October 28, 2007 but was able to return after missing two games. The severity of the injury was known by the Saints, but never discussed with the media, and Grant admitted that he wasn't as sharp after the injury.

On December 2, 2008, he received a four-game suspension for use of a diuretic, which can be used a masking agent for steroid use. It is believed that the diuretic was found in a weight-loss supplement that he had been taking. Grant will not be allowed to return to the active roster until December 29, 2008.

He was indicted on a charge of involuntary manslaughter stemming from a February 2008 altercation at a nightclub in which a pregnant woman was shot to death outside a Blakely, Georgia nightclub. Korynda Reed, 23, and her unborn fetus died after being taken to the Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan after the fight early in the morning of February 3, 2008. Grant has said that he was neither an instigator nor a participant in the fight. "We are aware and have no comment," Saints spokesman Greg Bensel said. Grant was arraigned on August 15, 2008; there is no trial date set at this time.

He lives just outside of New Orleans in the city of Kenner, Louisiana. He is the brother the late Reneldo Kenyale "Nana" Beard (January 18,1982 — December 11,1986). He is the cousin of NFL defensive ends Kavika Pittman and Phillip Daniels.

He is a fixture in the Saints’ community relations efforts in New Orleans and also holds a free football clinic at his hometown of Colquitt, Ga. He is the founder of Charles Grant SACK Success Foundation and the co-founder and co-owner of From the Ground Up Records along with former NFL player Jonathan Wells and Carlos Diaz.

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2007 New England Patriots season

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The 2007 New England Patriots season was the 38th season for the team in the National Football League and 48th season overall. The Patriots finished the regular season 16-0, improving on their 12–4 record of 2006, when the team finished in first place in the AFC East but lost to the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship. The Patriots clinched the AFC East before their eleventh game (in Week 12), the fourth time since the NFL introduced the 16-game schedule in 1978 that a team had clinched a division title by its eleventh game. The team then went on to finish with the first 16-0 regular season record in NFL history, and the first undefeated regular season in the NFL since the 1972 Miami Dolphins finished 14-0. Their two playoff wins to reach Super Bowl XLII, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, made them the first professional team since 1884 in any of the four major American sports (football, basketball, baseball, hockey) to win the first 18 games of their season.

In Week 2 of the season, head coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots were penalized by the NFL for their involvement in the videotaping of opponents' defensive signals from an unauthorized location in their Week 1 game against the New York Jets, referred to in the press as Spygate.

The Patriots lost to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, leaving the 1972 Dolphins as the only undefeated champions in NFL history. The Patriots ended the season at 18-1, becoming only one of three teams to go 18-1 along with the 1984 San Francisco 49ers and the 1985 Chicago Bears, both of whom won their respective Super Bowls.

On the evening of May 27, 2007, 24-year old defensive end Marquise Hill and his friend, Ashley Blazio, fell off a jet ski in Lake Pontchartrain, north of New Orleans. Neither of them wore personal flotation or tracking devices. According to Hill's agent, who spoke with Blazio, Hill "ended up saving her life, keeping her calm until she could grab onto a buoy." Blazio was rescued and sent to Tulane Medical Center. Coast Guard units searched the area. Hill's body was found by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries around 2:15 PM CDT on May 28.

Hill's funeral, paid for by the team, was attended by many members of the Patriots team and staff, as well as by Hill's former coach Nick Saban.

For the 2007 season, all members of the Patriots wore a black #91 decal on the backs of their helmets. A friend of Hill's since high school, fellow Patriots defensive lineman Jarvis Green supported Hill's fiancée Inell Benn and son Ma’Shy financially following Hill's death. Green also wore Hill's old shoulder pads for the Patriots' October 14 game against the Cowboys, which Benn attended.

Unlike previous offseasons, head coach Bill Belichick's 2007 coaching staff remained generally unchanged. Wide receivers coach Brian Daboll left to become the quarterbacks coach for the New York Jets and was replaced by Director of Pro Personnel Nick Caserio. Former Duke University offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Bill O'Brien was also hired as an offensive assistant. A former special teams contributor for the Patriots, linebacker Don Davis retired and joined the coaching staff as an assistant strength and conditioning coach. Offensive coaching assistant Mike Judge also joined Harvard University as a wide receivers coach.

Free agency saw the departure of two 2006 starters for the Patriots: tight end Daniel Graham signed with the Denver Broncos, and linebacker Tully Banta-Cain signed with the San Francisco 49ers, while running back Corey Dillon, the Patriots' leading rusher in 2006, asked to be released; the Patriots released him on March 2. Safety Tebucky Jones was also released early in the offseason. Another departure came when punter Todd Sauerbrun signed with the Denver Broncos. When Sauerbrun was signed by the Patriots in December 2006, he agreed to a right of first refusal, meaning that the Patriots could match any offer by any other team made in the subsequent offseason. When the unrestricted free agent signing period came, the Broncos tendered Sauerbrun, and the Patriots exercised their right and matched the offer. However, the Broncos argued that the Patriots had not filed the proper documents required for that right, and ordered a hearing before an NFL special master. The Broncos won this hearing and Sauerbrun was allowed to sign with the Broncos. After spending all of training camp with the team, veteran punter Josh Miller was released on August 16.

In the first week of free agency, the Patriots traded their second- and seventh-round picks in the 2007 NFL Draft to the Miami Dolphins for wide receiver Wes Welker. A restricted free agent, Welker signed a five-year contract with the Patriots to complete the trade.

During the second day of the draft, the Patriots added yet another wide receiver, this time trading a fourth-round draft pick (which the Patriots acquired the day before from the San Francisco 49ers with the 49ers' 2008 first-round pick in exchange for the Patriots' original 2007 first-round pick) to the Oakland Raiders for Randy Moss, who agreed to take a pay cut of over $6 million.

The offseason also brought the arrival of seven unrestricted free agents to the Patriots. On offense, the Patriots added running back Sammy Morris, tight end Kyle Brady, as well as wide receivers Donté Stallworth and Kelley Washington. On defense, they added linebacker Pro Bowl linebacker Adalius Thomas and cornerbacks Tory James and Eddie Jackson.

Free agents or potential free agents Heath Evans, Billy Yates, Larry Izzo, Rashad Baker, Gene Mruczkowski, Junior Seau, Randall Gay, Troy Brown, and Vinny Testaverde were all re-signed. Defensive end Ty Warren also received a long-term contract extension.

The Patriots used their non-exclusive franchise tag on cornerback Asante Samuel; Samuel signed it on August 28, with the stipulation that the team would not use it again on him when he became a free agent again after the season, after the two sides failed to reach a long-term contract agreement with the team by the July 16 deadline.

During the preseason, on August 7, the Patriots traded an undisclosed pick in the 2008 NFL Draft to the Chicago Bears for cornerback Dante Wesley, but since Wesley was cut, the Bears did not receive that pick.

The Patriots traded their original fifth-round pick to the Oakland Raiders during the 2006 season for Doug Gabriel. They also traded Patrick Cobbs to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Ross Tucker to the Cleveland Browns prior to the 2006 season for late-round conditional draft picks, but neither players made their respective rosters, so the Patriots received no compensation.

As of the Patriots' first training camp practice at Gillette Stadium on July 27, they had the NFL maximum of 80 players signed to their roster. First-round pick Brandon Meriweather, who was not signed until after training camp began, did not count against that limit until his signing. Asante Samuel also did not count against the limit, as he had not signed yet signed his franchise tag tender and was not in training camp. Finally, the Patriots received five total roster exemptions for the NFL Europa allocations of Brian Barthelmes, Danny Baugher, and Tom Malone (one for each player, plus two bonus exemptions because of the time Baugher and Malone spent on practice squads in 2007).

In the Patriots' fourth matchup with the Jets in 20 games, head coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots traveled to Giants Stadium to face his former defensive coordinator in Jets head coach Eric Mangini to open the season. The Jets reached Patriots territory on their opening possession, but were forced to punt. The Patriots then began a 12-play, 91-yard drive that ended in a 11-yard Wes Welker touchdown reception to give the Patriots a 7-0 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Kelley Washington forced a fumble on Jets returner Justin Miller after a 26-yard return, but tight end Chris Baker recovered the ball at the Jets' 33-yard line to retain possession. The Jets went three-and-out, but the Patriots punted back to the Jets despite a 19-yard Donté Stallworth catch to begin their next series. Three plays later, Jets quarterback Chad Pennington was sacked by linebacker Mike Vrabel and defensive lineman Ty Warren, forcing a Jets punt on the final play of the first quarter.

Starting from their own 42-yard line after the punt, the Patriots reached the Jets' 25-yard line, where kicker Stephen Gostkowski lined up for a 42-yard field goal attempt. However, the snap was fumbled by holder Matt Cassel, and recovered by Cassel to turn the ball over on downs. The Jets responded with a 10-play, 66-yard drive, tying the game at 7-7 on a 7-yard pass from Pennington to wide receiver Laveranues Coles. Several plays into the Patriots' ensuing drive, before and after the two minute warning, wide receiver Randy Moss caught passes of 33- and 22-yards from quarterback Tom Brady to put the Patriots in the Jets' red zone. Brady then connected with tight end Benjamin Watson on a 5-yard touchdown pass that was reviewed by the booth but upheld, giving the Patriots a 14-7 lead going into halftime.

Patriots cornerback Ellis Hobbs returned the opening kickoff of the second half 108 yards for a touchdown and a new NFL record for the longest kickoff return in the league's history; at the time, it also tied the existing record for longest play in NFL history (a record broken a few weeks later by Antonio Cromartie). Nine plays into the Jets' next drive, Pennington was sacked by defensive lineman Jarvis Green and was injured; Kellen Clemens entered the game but the Jets were forced to punt two plays later. Four plays later, Brady hit Moss for a 51-yard touchdown reception that extended the Patriots' lead to 28-7. However, the Jets came back with a 9-play, 70-yard drive that was capped off with Coles' second touchdown grab of the day, this one from one yard out, to cut the Patriots' lead to 28-14. The Patriots received the ensuing kickoff with just over two minutes remaining in the third quarter and would not surrender the ball until there was just under seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, ending the 17-play drive with a 22-yard Gostkowski field goal that extended the Patriots' lead to 31-14. The Jets then went three-and-out, and punter Ben Graham's 36-yard punt gave the Patriots the ball at their own 47-yard line. On a 1st-and-goal from the Jets' 1-yard line, fullback Heath Evans could not score; the Patriots challenged that the ball did in fact break the plane of the goal line but the play was upheld. On the next play, following the two-minute warning, Evans did in fact score on a 1-yard run, increasing the Patriots' lead to 38-14. The Jets' next drive stalled on a Vrabel strip-sack of Clemens that the Jets recovered, but ended on a failed fourth down conversion from the Jets' 38-yard line. The Patriots then kneeled down once to end the game and give them their first victory of the season.

On September 10, Bill Belichick was accused by the Jets of authorizing his staff to film the Jets' defensive signals from an on-field location, a violation of league rules. The Jets confiscated the video camera used by video assistant Matt Estrella to film the signals during the game and filed a complaint to the league office, detailing the accusations.

On September 13, Belichick was officially fined $500,000, while the Patriots were also fined $250,000, and forfeited their first round draft pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. If the Patriots had missed the playoffs, they would have instead forfeited their second and third round selections in the 2008 draft. Goodell said that he fined the Patriots as a team because Belichick is effectively the team's general manager as well as head coach, and exercises so much control over the Patriots' on-field operations that "his actions and decisions are properly attributed to the club." Goodell considered suspending Belichick, but decided that taking away draft picks would be more severe in the long run.

Belichick later issued a statement in which he apologized for what he called a "mistake" in his interpretation of the rules. However, he denied ever using videotape to gain an advantage while a game was underway.

The Patriots' home opener was a rematch from the 2006 divisional playoffs, against the Chargers on Sunday Night Football. For the second consecutive week, the game began with a touchdown on the Patriots' first series: this time, Brady hit Watson for a 7-yard touchdown pass to give the Patriots a 7-0 lead. On the first play of the ensuing Chargers possession, their first, linebacker Rosevelt Colvin intercepted a Philip Rivers pass, but it did not translate into points for the Patriots as Gostkowski then missed a 41-yard field goal attempt on the Patriots' resulting series. After a Chargers three-and-out, the Patriots capped off a 10-play, 75-yard drive with a 23-yard Moss touchdown reception, putting the Patriots ahead 14-0. Colvin then added a sack and forced fumble to his game statistics, as he strip-sacked Rivers after the Chargers reached the Patriots' 34-yard line and defensive lineman Vince Wilfork recovered the fumble for the Patriots' second forced turnover of the game.

On the Patriots' next drive, which spanned into the second quarter, Brady was strip-sacked by linebacker Shawne Merriman at the Chargers' 29-yard line, but Brady recovered his own fumble to retain possession for the Patriots. Six plays later, a 24-yard Gostkowski field goal extended the Patriots' lead to 17-0. After a Chargers three-and-out, the Patriots were pushed back to their 10-yard line after another Merriman sack of Brady. The Patriots would punt back to the Chargers, but on a 3rd-and-1 from the Patriots' 37-yard line, Rivers was intercepted by linebacker Adalius Thomas, who returned it 65 yards for a touchdown, giving the Patriots a 24-0 lead. The Chargers were unable to get past midfield on their next drive and punted, giving the Patriots the ball at their own 20-yard line with just under three minutes to play in the first half. A 25-yard defensive pass interference penalty on Chargers safety Marlon McCree would help the Patriots reach the Chargers' 26-yard line, but Brady was intercepted by safety Clinton Hart at the Chargers' 10-yard line. The Chargers then ran one play to end the half.

Receiving the kickoff to begin the second half, the Chargers embarked on a 16-play, 72-yard drive, reaching Patriots territory on a 22-yard third down reception by tight end Antonio Gates. Ten plays later, fullback Lorenzo Neal caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to put the Chargers on the scoreboard at 24-7. The Patriots responded by going 75 yards on seven plays, taking a 31-7 lead on a 24-yard Moss touchdown reception, his second of the night. Three plays later, Rivers was intercepted by Patriots safety James Sanders at the Patriots' 38-yard line, but the play was nullified by a 37-yard defensive pass interference penalty on Hobbs. Rivers completions of 19 yards to wide receiver Malcom Floyd and 12 yards to running back Michael Turner helped put the Chargers in the Patriots' red zone, where Rivers completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Gates on the second play of the fourth quarter to cut the Patriots' lead to 31-14..

On the ensuing kickoff, Chargers wide receiver Kassim Osgood forced a fumble of Hobbs after a 31-yard return that was recovered by Chargers cornerback Quentin Jammer at the Patriots' 31-yard line. However, Rivers was sacked twice for losses of 10 yards each on the next two plays, the second of which was a strip-sack by Colvin that was recovered by offensive lineman Kris Dielman; the Chargers punted on 4th-and-30. Starting from their own 9-yard line with more than 13 minutes remaining in the game, the Patriots did not surrender the ball back to the Chargers until there was less than four minutes left in the fourth quarter. This 15-play, 91-yard drive culminated in a 3-yard touchdown run by running back Sammy Morris, extending the Patriots' lead to 38-14. The Chargers could not convert a first down on their next possession, giving the ball back to the Patriots to end the game.

The 0-2 Bills, who had not beaten the Patriots since Week 1 of the 2003 season, faced off against the Patriots in Foxboro. On the opening drive of the game, Wilfork was penalized for roughing the passer for a late hit on Bills quarterback J. P. Losman. Two plays later, Hobbs sacked Losman, causing a fumble that set-up a 24-yard Gostkowski field goal. Trent Edwards replaced Losman at quarterback for the Bills on their next possession. Losman was later diagnosed with a sprained MCL. The Bills took the lead on a 12-play drive finished off with an 8-yard Marshawn Lynch touchdown run, but these points proved to be the only of the game for the Bills. In the second quarter, the Patriots drove to the Bills' 3-yard line, but a Brady fumble on a rushing attempt kept the Patriots from scoring. Entering halftime, the Patriots held a 17-7 lead after touchdown receptions by Moss and Watson. A 4-yard touchdown pass to Jabar Gaffney and a 4-yard touchdown run by Morris increased the Patriots' lead to 31-7 by the fourth quarter. A 45-yard touchdown catch by Moss finished the scoring, giving the Patriots their third 38-point offensive performance of the season as they improved their record to 3-0.

Coming off a divisional home win over the Bills, the Patriots traveled to Paul Brown Stadium for a matchup with the Bengals. In the first quarter, the Patriots began the game's scoring with a 31-yard Gostkowski field goal after driving to the Bengals' 16-yard line on the opening drive. Later in the quarter, a 49-yard Morris run set up a 1-yard touchdown pass to Vrabel. In the second quarter, a Brady interception to Leon Hall at the Patriots' 37-yard line led to a 1-yard T. J. Houshmandzadeh touchdown catch from Carson Palmer, cutting the Patriots' lead to 10-7. The Patriots extended that lead to 17-7 on the next drive, going 62 yards over more than six minutes and ending in a Moss touchdown catch from 7 yards out. The Bengals then drove to the Patriots' red zone, but with less than 2 minutes remaining in the half, Asante Samuel intercepted Palmer at the Patriots' 2-yard line to prevent the Bengals from scoring.

The Patriots' first drive of the second half, an 81-yard drive, was capped by a 7-yard touchdown run by Morris. On the Bengals' ensuing drive, three Houshmandzadeh receptions helped bring the Bengals to the Patriots' 22-yard line before a 40-yard Shayne Graham field goal cut the Patriots' lead to 24-10. The fourth quarter began with 36-yard Gostkowski and 48-yard Graham field goals to keep the Patriots' lead at 14 points. On the Patriots' penultimate possession of the game, an 85-yard drive ended in a 14-yard Moss touchdown reception. After a 17-yard Houshmandzadeh catch on the next play, an interception by Randall Gay, his first since 2004, gave the Patriots the ball to end the game for their fourth win of the season.

Returning the Foxboro, the Patriots faced off against the Browns, coached by their former defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel. The Patriots opened the game with a 14-play, 78-yard drive culminating in a Gostkowski 20-yard field goal. After a 65-yard drive brought them to the Patriots' 1-yard line, the Browns failed to score on two downs before quarterback Derek Anderson threw an interception to linebacker Junior Seau on third down. A Samuel interception on the Browns' next drive set up a 34-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Stallworth. In the second quarter, another Seau interception set up a 7-yard touchdown reception by Watson.

In the second half, the Browns got onto the scoreboard with a 42-yard field goal by Phil Dawson, the only points from either team in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, the Browns capped off a 55-yard drive with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Anderson to wide receiver Tim Carter. The ensuing 71-yard Patriots drive ended with another touchdown catch by Watson, this one from 25 yards out. After an exchange of punts gave the Browns the ball at the Patriots' 35-yard line, Anderson hit tight end Kellen Winslow II for a 14-yard touchdown, cutting the Patriots' lead to 10. On the next and final Patriots series, an 11-play, 64-yard drive ended with an incomplete pass to Kyle Brady from the Browns' 4-yard line. The final points of the game were scored on the next play when Gay stripped Winslow and returned it for a touchdown, giving the Patriots a 34-17 win. With three touchdown passes on the day, Brady tied Steve Young's 1998 record of five consecutive three-touchdown games to start the season.

In what was, at the time, the most-watched NFL regular season game since 1996, the Patriots faced the Cowboys, the NFC's only remaining unbeaten team. The Patriots' first drive of the game spanned 74 yards and ended in a 6-yard touchdown catch by Moss from Brady. Their lead increased to 14-0 after another Brady touchdown pass, this one from 35 yards out to Welker. However, in the second quarter, after a 38-yard field goal by Cowboys kicker Nick Folk, defensive end Jason Hatcher forced a Brady fumble on a strip-sack; he recovered the ball and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown, cutting the Patriots' lead to 14-10. The first half scoring ended with a pair of 12-yard touchdown receptions, the first for the Patriots by Welker, the second for the Cowboys by Terrell Owens, to keep the Patriots ahead 21-17.

In the third quarter, an 8-yard touchdown catch from Tony Romo to Patrick Crayton put the Patriots behind 24-21. A 1-yard touchdown reception by Kyle Brady re-gained the lead for the Patriots; the Patriots also added a 45-yard Gostkowski field goal in the third quarter. The lead increased further on a 69-yard touchdown reception by Stallworth, Brady's fifth touchdown pass of the game, a career best for Brady. After an exchange of field goals, the Patriots closed out the scoring with a 1-yard Kyle Eckel touchdown run, giving the team a 48-27 win and a season record of 6-0.

A week after facing the undefeated Cowboys, the Patriots squared off against the winless Dolphins. The Patriots took the opening drive of the game 80 yards and capped it off with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Stallworth. After Dolphins quarterback Cleo Lemon fumbled to give the Patriots the ball on the Dolphins' 28-yard line, the Patriots took a 14-0 lead with a 2-yard touchdown reception by Kyle Brady. The Dolphins cut the lead in half with a 4-yard Lemon touchdown run to end a 79-yard drive, but Willie Andrews returned the ensuing kickoff 74 yards to give the Patriots another 14-point lead with 14:45 remaining in the second quarter. By halftime, the Patriots had scored 21 more unanswered points on 35-yard and 50-yard touchdown catches by Moss (the second following a Joey Porter sack of Brady) and a 14-yard touchdown reception by Welker, to give the Patriots a franchise record 42 points in a half.

In the second half, the Dolphins drove to the Patriots' 19 yard line but a Gay interception retained the Patriots' 42-7 lead, one that remained for the duration of the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, the Dolphins cut their deficit to 28 with a 1-yard Patrick Cobbs touchdown run. The Patriots replaced Brady with backup Cassel on the next drive, but after Cassel threw an interception to defensive end Jason Taylor which Taylor returned for a touchdown, Brady returned for the Patriots' next possession. That drive spanned 59 yards and ended with a 16-yard Welker touchdown catch, Brady's sixth touchdown pass of the game, a Patriots record. On their penultimate drive of the game, the Dolphins drove 75 yards and ended the game's scoring with a 7-yard Jesse Chatman touchdown run. With their 49-28 win, the Patriots began a season 7-0 for the first time in team history.

At home for the first time in three weeks, the Patriots, looking to remain unbeaten, faced off against the 4-2 Redskins. After spending the first seven weeks of the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, defensive end Richard Seymour was activated for the game, but did not start. In their first possession of the game, the Patriots drove 90 yards over more than 7 minutes, finishing the drive with a 3-yard Brady rushing touchdown, continuing a season-long opening drive scoring streak. In the second quarter, a 67-yard Patriots drive was capped off with a 2-yard touchdown reception by Vrabel, his second for the season and the tenth of his career (including playoffs). On the Redskins' ensuing possession, Warren recovered a Vrabel strip-sack of Jason Campbell, setting up a 36-yard Gostkowski field goal. The Redskins turned the ball over again on their next possession on a Samuel interception, only to regain it on the next play after Brady was strip-sacked by Phillip Daniels. The string of turnovers continued as the Redskins drove 20 yards before another Vrabel strip-sack of Campbell was again recovered by Warren. With less than 2 minutes remaining in the first half, the Patriots drove 73 yards, and on a fake spike play from the Redskins' 6-yard line, increased their lead to 24-0 on a touchdown catch by Moss from Brady. That touchdown pass was Brady's 29th of the season, eclipsing his career high set in 2004 and 2002.

On the opening drive of the second half, an 85-yard Patriots drive ended in another Brady touchdown run, this one from 2 yards out. The Redskins committed their fourth turnover of the game on their next possession, as Vrabel strip-sacked Campbell for the third time in the game; this time Colvin recovered the fumble and returned it 11 yards for a touchdown to increase the Patriots' lead to 38-0. In the fourth quarter, a 88-yard Patriots drive finished in a 2-yard touchdown reception by Welker. On their next series, with Cassel in for Brady, a 21-yard pass from Cassel to Gaffney gave the Patriots their 33rd first down of the game, a new single-game franchise record. Two plays later, Cassel ran it in for a touchdown from 15 yards out, and the first rushing touchdown of his career, increasing the Patriots' lead to 52-0; the touchdown was the longest rushing touchdown by a Patriots quarterback in more than 20 years. The Redskins then drove 63 yards and scored their first and only points of the game on a 15-yard Chris Cooley touchdown reception. The Patriots' 52-7 win gave them a 8-0 record heading into a Week 9 matchup against the 7-0 Colts.

For the second time in four weeks, a Patriots game set TV rating records: their game against the 7-0 Colts was the most-watched Sunday afternoon NFL regular season game since 1987, when network records began. After playing four of their last six games in Foxboro, the Patriots traveled to Indianapolis to face the Colts in a re-match of the 2006-07 AFC Championship game in a game some members of the media dubbed "Super Bowl XLI 1/2." On the game's opening series, the Colts drove 52 yards on 14 plays but left the field without scoring after former Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri missed a 50-yard field goal, his first-ever miss in the RCA Dome. On the ensuing drive, the Patriots failed to make a first down, the first opening drive of the season in which they failed to score. With the ball on their own 9-yard line, the Colts moved to the Patriots' 3-yard line after two Joseph Addai rushes for 33 yards and a 37-yard defensive pass interference penalty on Asante Samuel. After two plays gaining no yards, the Colts were again forced to kick a field goal, this one good from 21 yards out, for the only points of the first quarter for either team.

After nine plays from scrimmage in the first quarter, the Patriots took a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter on a 4-yard touchdown catch by Moss. After a Gostkowski touchback on the next kickoff, the Colts again drove inside the Patriots' 10-yard line on 34 receiving yards by Addai on three catches as well as a 40-yard defensive pass interference call against Hobbs. The Patriots' red-zone defense, that had entered the game ranked last in the NFL, held the Colts to 1 yard on three plays and a 25-yard Vinatieri field goal to make the game 7-6. On the next series, the Patriots drove to the Colts' 23-yard line before a 15-yard personal foul penalty on Matt Light preceded a Brady interception (the third of the season), this one caught by Antoine Bethea at the Colts' 2-yard line. With 1:46 remaining in the first half, the Colts moved the ball to their 27-yard line, and with 28 seconds remaining, Peyton Manning threw a screen pass to Addai, who proceeded to run 73 yards for the touchdown, giving the Colts a 13-7 lead at halftime.

For their first two drives of the third quarter, the Patriots were unable to gain a first down and were forced to punt. The Colts fared similarly, with Manning throwing an interception to Rodney Harrison on his first play of the half. On their third possession of the quarter, facing a 3rd and 7 from the Colts' 41-yard line, Brady scrambled 19 yards for the first down. After catches of 12 and 9 yards from Moss and Kevin Faulk, respectively, the Patriots reached the Colts' 14-yard line but settled for a 34-yard Gostkowski field goal after Laurence Maroney ran for a 2-yard loss on 3rd and 1. A field goal was, once again, the only points of a quarter for either team; the third quarter ended with the Colts leading 13-10.

After a Colts punt and a Moss 14-yard catch on the first play of the 4th quarter, the Patriots had possession at the Colts' 42-yard line. On the next play, Brady was intercepted again by linebacker Gary Brackett, who returned it for 28 yards; after another 15-yard penalty from Light, the Colts took possession at the Patriots 32-yard line. Despite Vrabel sacking Manning on the first play of the Colts' drive, a 17-yard Dallas Clark reception helped set up a 1-yard Manning touchdown run to increase the Colts' lead to 20-10 with 9:42 remaining in the game. Starting from their own 27-yard line, Brady attempted passes to Moss on the first six plays of the drive. The second attempt was completed for 15 yards, while the fourth attempt went for 55 yards and put the Patriots on the Colts' 3-yard line. On the fifth attempt, Moss was penalized 10 yards for offensive pass interference in the end zone. After an incompletion to Moss, Brady hit Welker for 10 yards and then again for 3 yards and a touchdown to cut the Colts' lead to 20-17 with 7:59 remaining. This touchdown also set the Patriots' record for touchdown passes in a single season, breaking Babe Parilli's record of 31. After two offensive line penalties by the Colts pushed them back 15 yards, Colvin strip-sacked Manning at the Colts' 22-yard line, though Colts offensive tackle Charlie Johnson recovered the fumble. After Wes Welker returned the subsequent Colts punt 23 yards to the Patriots' 49-yard line, a 5-yard pass to Moss and a 33-yard pass to Stallworth set up a 13-yard touchdown pass by Faulk to put the Colts behind 24-20 with 3:15 remaining. That pass made this Brady's ninth consecutive game with at least three touchdown passes, breaking Peyton Manning's record of eight. After a Reggie Wayne 24-yard reception brought the Colts to their own 48-yard line, Green strip-sacked Manning three plays later; Colvin's recovery of that fumble gave the Patriots the ball, and set up a situation where a first down would allow them to win the game. Unlike a similar situation in the 2006 AFC Championship, where the Patriots were forced to punt, the Patriots converted on 3rd and 6 with a 10-yard pass to Welker. Brady took three knees to end the game, leaving the 9-0 Patriots the only remaining undefeated team as they headed into their bye week.

Following their bye week, the Patriots traveled to Buffalo to play the Bills, who had won 5 of 7 since their 38-7 Week 3 loss to the Patriots. On the first drive of the game, Gay intercepted Losman to give the Patriots the ball at the Bills' 21-yard line. Two plays later, Maroney ran it in from 6 yards out for a Patriots touchdown. After a Bills punt, the Patriots increased their lead to 14-0 after a 43-yard touchdown reception by Moss from Brady. The touchdown, Moss' 13th on the season, broke Stanley Morgan's franchise record of 12 touchdown passes in a single season. On the ensuing drive, a Green strip-sack of Losman was recovered by the Bills, and two plays later, Roscoe Parrish caught a 47-yard touchdown pass for the only Bills touchdown of the game. The Patriots' next drive went for 72 yards and ended in a 16-yard Moss touchdown reception on the first play of the second quarter. A Bills punt on their next possession gave the Patriots the ball at their own 16-yard line. Aided by catches of 25, 15, 11, and 10 yards by Watson, Welker, Stallworth, and Faulk respectively, the Patriots drove 84 yards in under 7 minutes, capping off the drive with a 6-yard touchdown reception to Moss. That touchdown gave Brady the most career touchdown passes in Patriots franchise history, breaking Steve Grogan's record of 182. Another Bills punt led to the Patriots' fifth possession and fifth touchdown of the half, this time a 17-yard Moss touchdown catch ended another 72-yard drive. Moss' fourth touchdown of the half tied an NFL record for touchdowns for a single player before halftime, and set the Patriots' franchise record for touchdowns by a player in a game. Adalius Thomas also had 2.5 sacks in the half, setting a single-game career high.

The Patriots began the second half where they left off in the first, driving 73 yards in more than 6 minutes for another touchdown, this one a 3-yard reception by Watson. The Bills responded with a 29-yard Terrence McGee kickoff return that led to a 52-yard Rian Lindell field goal to cut the Patriots lead to 42-10. The Patriots' next series, their seventh of the game, also ended in their seventh touchdown of the game, setting a Patriots franchise single-season touchdown record (1961 and 1980, 52). A Welker screen pass went 24 yards to put the Patriots in the Bills' red zone, and a 1-yard Eckel touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter gave the Patriots a 49-10 lead. On the second play of the Bills' next drive, Sanders forced a fumble by running back Dwayne Wright after a 5-yard reception, which Hobbs recovered and returned 35 yards for the Patriots' eighth and final touchdown of the game. The Patriots' 56 points tied a franchise record, and were the most points scored by a road team in the NFL since 1973. Their 46-point scoring margin was also the second-largest in team history. The Patriots' 56-10 win brought their record to 10-0, the tenth time since 1970 a team started a season 10-0.

Due to Buffalo's loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier in the day, the Patriots entered the game against the 5-5 Eagles as AFC East champions for the fifth consecutive season. Their clinch in the 11th game of the season was tied for the earliest in NFL history.

On the first possession of the game, Eagles quarterback A. J. Feeley, starting in place of an injured Donovan McNabb, threw an interception to Samuel, who returned it for a touchdown. On the ensuing drive, the Eagles responded with a 14-play drive capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by Brian Westbrook; thus, before the Patriots offense had its first possession, the game was tied 7-7. On that possession, Brady threw seven passes, was sacked once, and scrambled for 12 yards, before Evans had a 1-yard touchdown run (the first called run of the game for the Patriots). The Eagles tied the game again on their next possession when wide receiver Greg Lewis caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Feeley. After a successful onside kick attempt by the Eagles led to a three-and-out drive, the Patriots started at their own 20-yard line and moved the ball all the way to the Eagles' 11-yard line before the drive stalled and Gostkowski converted a 23-yard field goal. The Eagles responded with another touchdown pass from Feeley to Lewis, this one from 18 yards out, to end a 68-yard drive. With less than 3 minutes to go in the first half the Patriots were trailing the Eagles, 21-17. The Patriots then converted three third downs on their last possession of the half, and Gaffney caught a 19-yard touchdown pass to give the Patriots a halftime lead, 24-21.

After an exchange of punts to begin the second half, Maroney saw his first carries of the game on a drive that appeared to end in a 4-yard Moss touchdown pass before the catch was nullified by an offensive pass interference penalty. The next three plays were incomplete passes by Brady, and on fourth down, Gostkowski missed a 32-yard field goal to keep the score at 24-21 in favor of the Patriots. The Eagles responded with a 10-play, 78-yard drive, retaking the lead on an 8-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Brown. After an unsuccessful fourth down conversion attempt from the Eagles' 33-yard line, the Patriots defense held the Eagles to a three-and-out, forcing a punt. On a third down in the middle of the Patriots' next drive, Welker, who finished with 13 catches on the night, caught a 16-yard pass that moved the ball into the Eagles' red zone. With 7:24 left in the game, Maroney put the Patriots ahead 31-28 with a 4-yard touchdown run. The Eagles moved the ball to the Patriots' 29-yard line on their next drive, but on 2nd and 4, Feeley was intercepted by Samuel in the end zone with 2:49 remaining in the game. The Patriots, unable to run out the clock, punted, giving the Eagles the ball back with 18 seconds remaining. Feeley's last pass attempt was intercepted by Sanders to seal the Patriots' eleventh win of the season.

For their third night game in as many weeks, the Patriots flew to M&T Bank Stadium to face the 4-7 Ravens. On the first drive of the game, a 42-yard Stallworth reception and three Ravens penalties helped set up a 1st and goal from the Ravens' 3-yard line. The Patriots next four plays gained a net of zero yards, and Gostkowksi kicked a 21-yard field goal to give the Patriots a 3-0 lead. After an exchange of punts, the Ravens took the lead with Kyle Boller completing a 4-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Mason after a 70-yard drive. In the second quarter, Baltimore increased its lead when kicker Matt Stover converted a 29-yard field goal to cap a 12-play, 55-yard drive. On the ensuing drive, the Patriots responded with a 9-play, 60-yard drive that included two more Stallworth receptions and two more Ravens penalties and ended in a 1-yard Evans touchdown run. Two possessions later, with 56 seconds remaining the first half, Brady threw his fifth interception of the season, this one to safety Ed Reed, who proceeded to fumble on the return. Watson recovered the fumble and the Patriots went into halftime in a 10-10 tie.

On the opening drive of the second half, the Ravens drove 73 yards and regained the lead on a 17-yard run by Willis McGahee, his sixth rush of the 8-play drive. The Patriots answered on their next possession with an 11-play, 72-yard drive that included a dump-off pass to Maroney for 36 yards. A 3-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Moss tied the game again at 17-17. In the first minute of the fourth quarter, Baltimore got the lead again, 24-17, as Boller completed a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Daniel Wilcox after an 8-play, 56-yard drive. The Patriots went 3-and-out on their next drive, and a 33-yard Yamon Figurs punt return coupled with a 5-yard Pierre Woods penalty gave the Ravens the ball at the Patriots' 26-yard line with less than 13 minutes remaining in the game. After two McGahee runs for 1 yard and a false start penalty gave the Ravens a 3rd and 14 situation, Boller was intercepted at the Patriots' 1-yard line by Sanders to hold the Ravens scoreless on the drive. Sanders' 42-yard return gave the Patriots the ball at their own 43-yard line, and another Maroney dump-off pass for 43 yards brought the Patriots to the Ravens' 24-yard line. The Patriots then failed to make the first down, and Gostkowski kicked another field goal, this one from 38 yards out, to cut the Ravens' lead to 24-20. The Patriots defense, which gave up almost 60 first half rushing yards to McGahee, held McGahee to 1 yard on the Ravens' next drive and forced a 3-and-out. The Patriots' ensuing drive brought them to the Ravens' 31-yard line before a 10-yard Dan Koppen penalty and incompletion forced another punt. With less than 6 minutes remaining, the Patriots defense again prevented the Ravens offense from completing a first down and got the ball back with 3:30 left in the game.

Starting from their own 27-yard line, the Patriots got to midfield on the second play of their drive with a 23-yard Watson reception. An incompletion and 9-yard Faulk catch brought 3rd and 1, where Brady rushed for 2 yards and the first down. After the two minute warning, another 9-yard Faulk catch on 3rd and 10 gave the Patriots a 4th and 1 from the Ravens' 30-yard line with 1:48 remaining. Brady attempted another sneak and was stopped short of the first, but the play was nullified by a timeout called by Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan just before the snap. A false start penalty by Russ Hochstein on the Patriots' next attempt set up a 4th and 6. Brady scrambled for the first down and Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle was penalized 5 yards for illegal contact to give the Patriots a fresh set of downs from the Ravens' 18-yard line with 1:38 left on the clock. A 5-yard Faulk rush and two incompletions gave the Patriots another fourth down situation. Brady's throw to Watson in the end zone fell incomplete, but the Patriots again received a fresh set of downs after Ravens defensive back Jamaine Winborne was called for defensive holding. On 1st and goal from the Ravens' 8-yard line with 55 seconds remaining, the Patriots took their first lead since the first quarter on a Gaffney touchdown reception that was upheld by official review. After the play, Ravens linebacker Bart Scott received two 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalties after throwing an official's flag into the stands, and Reed was flagged for being offsides on the extra point, setting up a Patriots kickoff from the Ravens' 35-yard line. After a Gostkowski touchback on the kickoff, the Ravens completed two passes, bringing them to their own 45-yard line with 8 seconds remaining. Boller threw a Hail Mary pass that was caught by wide receiver Mark Clayton at the Patriots' 3-yard line, but he was tackled shy of the end zone as time expired.

The Patriots became the sixth team in NFL history to begin a season 12-0, in a game that was the most-watched program in the history of cable television.

Beginning a stretch of three straight home games, the Patriots faced off against the 9-3 Steelers in their first afternoon game in five weeks. After going three-and-out on their first drive, the Patriots fell behind 3-0 early on a 23-yard Jeff Reed field goal to cap an 8-minute, 15-play Steelers possession. A 39-yard Chad Jackson kickoff return gave the Patriots the ball at their own 48-yard line to begin a 9-play drive that ended in a 4-yard Moss touchdown catch to give the Patriots the lead. Moss' touchdown catch was his 18th of the season, surpassing Curtis Martin for the Patriots' record for touchdowns by a single player in a season. After a Steelers three-and-out the Patriots, on their first offensive play of the second quarter, increased their lead to 14-3 on a 63-yard play action pass from Brady to Moss. A 30-yard Willie Parker run on the Steelers' ensuing series set up a 32-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Najeh Davenport. After a Patriots drive in which a muffed punt recovery by Pittsburgh led to a missed 48-yard field goal attempt by Gostkowski, the Steelers mounted a 12-play drive that lasted almost 6 minutes before a 44-yard Reed field goal cut the Patriots' lead to 14-13. With 2:29 left in the half, a 32-yard Gaffney reception helped the Patriots drive to the Steelers' 24-yard line; after two Brady incompletions Gostkowski kicked a 42-yard Gostkowski field goal, giving the Patriots a 17-13 lead at halftime.

On the Patriots' first drive of the second half, on 1st and 10 from their own 44-yard line, after a Brady lateral pass to Moss fell short, Moss picked it up and threw it back to Brady, who then found Gaffney deep for a 56-yard touchdown. After another Steelers three-and-out, the Patriots' second possession of the half also went for a touchdown, as a 2-yard Welker reception capped a 10-play drive that included one run, a 4-yard Brady scramble. In the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, the Steelers moved the ball to the Patriots' 1-yard line, but failed to score on 3rd and goal and 4th and goal. The Patriots took the ball at their own 1-yard line and then began a 6-minute, 12 play drive, passing on every down. Using a no-huddle offense, Welker caught five straight passes to bring the Patriots to the Steelers' 36-yard line. Brady completed four more passes to set up first-and-goal from the Steelers' 10-yard line, but his next three passes were all incomplete, leading to a 28-yard Gostkowski field goal. The Steelers' next possession, a 13-play drive, ended in another failed fourth down conversion. After a Patriots punt, the Steelers ran the ball three times to give the Patriots their 13th win of the season; with the win, the Patriots also clinched a first-round playoff bye.

Coming off their win over the Steelers, the Patriots stayed at home for an AFC East rematch with the 3-10 Jets. The Patriots punted on their first drive of the game, giving the Jets the ball at their own 3-yard line. After a 1-yard Thomas Jones run, Jets quarterback Clemens threw an interception to Eugene Wilson, who returned it for a touchdown. Clemens was hit by Seymour and suffered an ankle injury on the play and did not return to the game. Wilson also became the Patriots' 21st player to score a touchdown on the season, tying an NFL record set by the Denver Broncos in 2000 and Los Angeles Rams in 1987. On their ensuing possession, the Jets gained 49 yards on an option play to running back Leon Washington, but then failed a fourth down conversion from the Patriots' 17-yard line. With 6:36 remaining in the first quarter, the Patriots began a drive that ended 17 plays later, in the 2nd quarter, on a 26-yard Gostkowski field goal. After a Jets punt, the Patriots moved the ball to their own 40-yard line when a Chris Hanson punt attempt was blocked by David Bowens and returned for a touchdown to cut the Patriots' lead to 10-7. On the Jets' next possession, Washington blocked a Graham punt attempt to give the Patriots the ball at the Jets' 3-yard line. A 1-yard Maroney touchdown run a play later gave the Patriots a 17-7 lead going into halftime. Gostkowski's extra point, his 67th of the season, broke Uwe von Schamann's single-season record of 66 with the Miami Dolphins in 1984.

A Jets punt gave the Patriots the ball at their own 9-yard line early in the third quarter. After two Maroney rushes for a total of 5 yards, a Brady pass on third down intended to Moss was intercepted by Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. The Jets moved into the red zone, but were driven back on a Thomas Jones run for a 1-yard loss and a delay of game penalty. On third down, Pennington completed a 10-yard pass to Baker, who then fumbled. Wilson recovered it for the Patriots, but a subsequent exchange of punts kept the third quarter scoreless. Another Hanson punt began the fourth quarter, giving the Jets the ball from their own 15-yard line. The Jets then embarked upon a 17-play drive where Pennington completed 10 passes on 12 attempts, none for more than 14 yards. The drive ended at the Patriots' 15-yard line, where the Jets cut the Patriots' lead to 17-10 on a 33-yard Mike Nugent field goal. The Patriots' ensuing drive began with two incompletions intended for Moss. On third down, Brady completed a 16-yard pass to Moss, and then a 46-yard pass to Moss to give the Patriots the ball at the Jets' 14-yard line. A 4-yard Maroney run, incompletion, and sack for a loss of 6 yards set up a 33-yard Gostkowski field goal. The Jets' next possession ended in a 35-yard missed Nugent field goal, and the Jets failed to score on their final drive to give the Patriots a 20-10 win. It gave the Patriots a 14–0 record, tying them with the 1972 Miami Dolphins for the best record to start a season. The win also clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs for the Patriots.

Playing their third consecutive home game, the Patriots tried to improve their record to 15-0 against the 1-13 Dolphins. For the first time of the season, 15-year wide receiver Troy Brown was active; he saw action early in the game, returning a Dolphins punt on their first drive 10 yards. The Patriots' second first down of their first possession was their 349th of the season, breaking their 1994 franchise record. Six plays later, Brady connected with Moss for an 11-yard touchdown and a 7-0 Patriots lead. After three punts, the Patriots' third drive of the game began on the final play of the first quarter, a 51-yard Maroney rush to give the Patriots the ball at the Dolphins' 28-yard line. After a successful third-down conversion, Brady threw his second touchdown pass of the game to Moss from a yard out to give the Patriots a 14-0 lead. The Dolphins' punted again on their next drive, and the Patriots opened up a 21-point lead with a 59-yard Maroney touchdown run while also setting the franchise record for net yards on a season, breaking the record of 5,965 set in 1978. After the Dolphins' fourth three-and-out of the game, a 38-yard Brandon Fields punt was muffed by Troy Brown and recovered by the Dolphins, who punted again three plays later. After moving the ball from their own 20-yard line to the Dolphins' 48-yard line, Brady completed a 48-yard touchdown pass to Gaffney on the Patriots' 71st touchdown of the season, breaking the NFL record of 70 set by the 1984 Dolphins. The Dolphins drove the Patriots' 4-yard line with 21 seconds remaining in the half, but Tedy Bruschi batted down a Lemon pass on fourth down intended for Justin Peelle to preserve the Patriots' 28-0 lead heading into halftime.

On the opening drive of the second half, Welker caught his 101st pass of the season, tying the Patriots individual franchise record Brown set in 2001. On the next play, Brady was intercepted by Jason Allen the end zone on a pass intended for Moss. After a 22-yard Chatman rush began the Dolphins' ensuing drive, the Dolphins punted for the seventh time three plays later. On third down from their own 28-yard line, Brady threw his second interception of the game, this time picked off by linebacker Derrick Pope on a pass also intended for Moss. The Dolphins moved the ball on their next drive from their own 46-yard line to the Patriots' 1-yard line, where Lemon scrambled out of bounds short of the end zone on 4th and goal. The Dolphins challenged the ruling, which was upheld after review. The play gave the Patriots the ball from their own 1-yard line, where a three-and-out set-up a 64-yard Hanson punt from the end zone, his longest of the season. A 22-yard Lorenzo Booker rush on the Dolphins' next possession helped bring the Dolphins' to the Patriots 21-yard line, where Lemon connected with Greg Camarillo to cut the Patriots lead to 28-7. The Patriots committed their fourth turnover of the game when Brady was strip-sacked by Joey Porter to give the Dolphins the ball at their own 28-yard line. Four punts and a scoreless fourth quarter later, the Patriots picked up their 15th win of the season.

The Patriots' 15th win matched the win totals of the 2004 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1998 Minnesota Vikings, 1985 Chicago Bears, and 1984 San Francisco 49ers, while their 15-0 regular season start was a first in NFL history. The Patriots' 6-0 record against division opponents was a franchise first. The win also marked the Patriots' 18th straight regular season victory since their December 2006 loss to the Dolphins, tying the Patriots' 2003-2004 NFL record.

In their final regular season game, the 15-0 Patriots traveled to Giants Stadium, trying to win a record 16th game of the season. With the game scheduled to air on NFL Network, not available on some cable providers, the NFL arranged a three-way simulcast of the game with CBS and NBC, the first time an NFL game was broadcast on three networks, and the first national simulcast of any NFL game since Super Bowl I. The New York and Boston television markets both had a fourth channel, a local TV station in each respective market covering the game. In the week leading up to the game, the NFL Network aired a record 65.5 hours of game-specific coverage, including a six-hour pregame special which matched the longest NFL pregame show, including for a Super Bowl, on a single network.

On the second play of the game, the 10-5 Giants moved into the Patriots' red zone on a 52-yard completion from Eli Manning to Plaxico Burress. Three plays later, The Giants took the lead on a 7-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Jacobs. The Patriots responded with a pair of 14-yard completions to Moss and Welker; Welker's catch, his 102nd of the season, set a Patriots franchise record. The Patriots then converted a fourth down, and on their next fourth down, they made a 37-yard Gostkowski field goal. The Patriots would regain the ball at midfield following a Giants three-and-out. Completions to Stallworth and Welker put the Patriots in the Giants' red zone, where Brady completed a 4-yard touchdown pass to Moss, taking a 10-7 lead on the first play of the second quarter. On the play, three records were affected: the Patriots 560th point surpassed the 1998 Minnesota Vikings’s record of 556 points in a season; the touchdown pass was Brady’s 49th, tying Peyton Manning’s 2004 record; and Moss recorded his 22nd touchdown catch of the season, tying Jerry Rice's 1987 record.

As a result of a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct after the touchdown, the Patriots’ kicked off from the 15-yard line. Giants wide receiver Domenik Hixon received it from the Giants' 26-yard line and proceeded to run for a 74-yard touchdown return, retaking the lead for the Giants. Starting from their own 33-yard line, the Patriots moved into Giants territory on a 13-yard Maroney rush and 8-yard Faulk reception. Brady's 8 passing yards on the play gave him 4,557 for the season, breaking Drew Bledsoe's 1994 franchise record of 4,555 yards. After the drive stalled, Gostkowski’s recorded his second field goal for the game, making the score 14-13 in favor of the Giants. Following a Giants punt, the Patriots mounted a drive that resulted in Gostkowski’s third field goal of the night, from 37 yards, after a 3rd down end zone pass to Moss ricocheted off of linebacker Gerris Wilkinson’s helmet. With 1:54 remaining the half and the Giants trailing 16-14, Manning completed five of his first seven passes to move from the Giants' 15-yard line to the Patriots' 3-yard line. On second down with 18 seconds remaining, Manning threw his second touchdown pass of the game, this time to Boss, to take a 21-16 lead at the half.

After the Patriots began the second half with a three-and-out, the Giants increased their lead to 12 points on a 19-yard touchdown catch by Burress from Manning. Facing their largest deficit of the season, the Patriots drove to the Giants' 16-yard line with several Brady completions. A pass interference call against the Giants’ Wilkinson gave the Patriots the ball at the Giants' 1-yard line. After an illegal formation penalty moved the Patriots back 5 yards, a 6-yard Maroney touchdown run cut the Giants' lead to 28-23. Three consecutive drives resulted in punts, and the Patriots gained possession of the ball with less than 12 minutes remaining in the game.

On the second play of the drive, Brady attempted a deep pass to Moss, which was underthrown and dropped. On the next play, Brady attempted another deep pass to Moss, who caught this one for 65 yards, setting two more NFL records: Moss set the record for most touchdown receptions in a season (23) and Brady set one for touchdown passes (50). The touchdown, Brady’s last of the game, also brought Brady’s touchdown-to-interception margin to +42; Peyton Manning held the previous record, +39 during the 2003-2004 season. The Patriots converted the subsequent two-point attempt on a Maroney rush to take a 31-28 lead with 11:15 remaining. On the Giants' ensuing drive, Hobbs intercepted a Manning pass intended for Burress at the Patriots' 48-yard line. After driving to the red zone, a 5-yard catch by Moss marked his 1,493rd reception yard for the season, breaking Stanley Morgan’s 1986 franchise record of 1,491 yards. On the subsequent play, Maroney scored his second touchdown of the game on a 5-yard run to give the Patriots a 38-28 lead. With 4:36 left in the game, the Giants drove the ball to the Patriots' 4-yard line, and two plays later, Manning completed a 3-yard touchdown pass to Burress, Manning’s fourth for the game. After the Patriots’ Vrabel recovered the Giants' onside kickoff, the Patriots kneeled three times to end the game.

The Patriots' joined the 14-0 1972 Miami Dolphins, 11-0 1942 Chicago Bears, and 13-0 1934 Chicago Bears as the fourth team to record an undefeated regular season, also setting a record for most regular season wins in a single season. The victory was the Patriots’ 19th consecutive regular season victory, breaking their own record set during the 2003-2004 season. Finally, the Patriots finished the season with a +315 point differential, breaking the 1942 Bears' record of +292.

The NFL Network had exclusive rights to broadcast the Patriots-Giants game, and in the weeks before the game, the network increasingly promoted the game via television commercials on other stations. It was clear the game was one of the most anticipated of the season, and could therefore serve as an important promotion for the NFL Network, which had tried unsuccessfully over the previous year to expand its viewership by becoming included as an "extended basic service" on the major American cable TV providers such as Comcast and Time Warner.

In the end, 15.7 million viewers watched the game on CBS, 13.2 million on NBC, 4.5 million on the NFL Network, and 1.2 million on New York, Boston and Manchester, New Hampshire television stations. The game was the most watched program on television since the 2007 Academy Awards and the most watched regular season NFL game in more than 12 years.

Playing in his first playoff game as a Patriot, Randy Moss, who led the NFL in receiving yards, had one reception. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady set the NFL record for completion percentage in a single game (92.9%) with 26 of 28 completions for 263 yards and 3 touchdowns, while running back Laurence Maroney added 162 total yards (122 on the ground). Overall, New England gained 401 yards and didn't punt the ball until 31 seconds remained in the fourth quarter.

Jacksonville took the opening kickoff and went 80 yards in 9 plays, featuring two receptions by Marcedes Lewis for 57 yards, on the way to David Garrard's 9-yard touchdown pass to Matt Jones. The Patriots then went on a 74-yard drive and scored with Tom Brady's 3-yard touchdown pass to Benjamin Watson. On Jacksonville's next possession, New England lineman Ty Warren forced a fumble while sacking Garrard, and linebacker Mike Vrabel recovered it at the Jaguars 29-yard line. Several plays later, Maroney scored a 1-yard touchdown run to give New England a 14-7 lead.

Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew muffed the ensuing kickoff and was downed at his own 5-yard line. The Jaguars then moved the ball 95 yards in 11 plays without even facing a third down and scoring with Garrard's 6-yard touchdown pass to Ernest Wilford. For the third time in a row, New England drove deep into Jacksonville territory. But this time the drive stalled at the 17-yard line and ended with no points when Stephen Gostkowski missed a 35-yard field goal with 53 seconds left in the first half.

On the opening drive of the second half, Brady completed 7 of 8 passes for 54 yards on an 82-yard drive. On the last play, he took a snap in shotgun formation with Kevin Faulk to his right, Brady jumped in the air with his arms raised to make it look like a play used by the Patriots before where Faulk took the direct snap. The Jaguars defense followed Faulk, leaving Wes Welker open in the end zone, and Brady threw him the ball for a touchdown to give the Patriots a 21-14 lead. Jacksonville responded with a drive to the New England 21-yard line, but receiver Dennis Northcutt dropped a pass on third down, forcing them to settle for a Josh Scobee 39-yard field goal, cutting the score to 21-17. On New England's next drive, Jacksonville's Derek Landri was assessed a roughing-the-passer penalty, turning Welker's 6-yard catch into a 21-yard gain. Maroney gained 40 yards with his next two carries, and following two more Welker receptions, Brady threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Watson giving New England a 28-17 lead.

An unnecessary roughness penalty and a 25-yard reception by Reggie Williams on the Jacksonville's next drive set up a 25-yard field goal by Scobee, which cut the Jaguars deficit to one touchdown, 28-20. On the second play after the kickoff, Brady completed a 52-yard strike to Donté Stallworth, setting up Gostkowski's second field goal attempt to put New England back up by two scores, 31-20.

Then, with 3:46 left in the game, Pats safety Rodney Harrison, intercepted a pass from Garrard at the Patriots' 31-yard line, ending any hope of a Jacksonville comeback. Harrison's interception was his 7th career postseason pick, a Patriots record. This was also his fourth consecutive postseason game with an interception, tying an NFL record held by Aeneas Williams.

With this win, the Patriots advanced to the AFC title game for the second year in a row and extended their perfect record to 17-0, matching the final record of the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

Despite 3 interceptions from Tom Brady, the Patriots still managed to defeat San Diego, holding them to four field goals while Laurence Maroney rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown for the second game in a row. With this win, the Patriots became the first NFL team to start with a 18-0 record and advanced to their fourth Super Bowl appearance in seven years.

With just over 5 minutes left in the first quarter, Chargers defensive back Quentin Jammer intercepted a pass from Brady on the Patriots 40-yard line, setting up a 26-yard field goal by Nate Kaeding. New England responded by driving 65 yards and scoring with a 1-yard Maroney touchdown run to take a 7-3 lead.

Kaeding kicked a 23-yard field goal in the second quarter to cut the score to 7-6, but after a punt, Patriots defensive back Asante Samuel intercepted a pass from Philip Rivers and returned it 10 yards to the Chargers 24-yard line. One play later, Brady's 12-yard touchdown pass to Jabar Gaffney increased their lead to 14-6. Later on, a 26-yard run by Darren Sproles moved the ball to the New England 34-yard line. But once again, the Patriots defense kept San Diego out of the end zone, stopping them on 3rd and 1 and forcing them to settle for another Kaeding field goal, making the score 14-9 at halftime.

On the opening drive of the second half, Brady threw his second interception of the game, this one to Drayton Florence at the New England 49-yard line. San Diego then moved the ball to the 4-yard line, but on 3rd and 1, linebacker Junior Seau tackled Michael Turner for a 2-yard loss and the Chargers had to settle for Kaeding's fourth field goal. New England responded with a drive to the San Diego 2-yard line, with Maroney gaining 39 yards on four running plays, but Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie ended the drive by intercepting Brady in the end zone.

On their first drive of the fourth quarter, New England moved the ball 67 yards and scored with Brady's 6-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker, making the score 21-12. Following a Chargers punt, the Patriots ended the game with a 15-play drive that took the final 9:13 off the game clock.

After scoring a combined 73 points in their regular season meeting, the teams scored a mere 10 points by the end of the third quarter, with the Patriots leading 7 to 3. The Patriots' record-setting offense gave up five sacks and one lost fumble, while the Giants' offense managed only five first downs in the second and third quarters. Yet in the fourth quarter, quarterback Eli Manning threw two touchdown passes, including the winning drive that culminated with a 17-yard touchdown to Plaxico Burress with 39 seconds remaining. The game marked the first time that a previously undefeated team had lost in a National Football League championship game since the 1942 Chicago Bears as the Patriots fell to 18-1 on the season.

After calling tails to win the coin toss, the Giants started the game with the longest opening drive in Super Bowl history, a 16-play, 77-yard march that consumed 9 minutes, 59 seconds and featured four third-down conversions, the most ever on a Super Bowl opening drive. But New England halted the drive at their own 14-yard line, forcing the Giants to settle for a 32-yard field goal from Lawrence Tynes that gave New York a 3–0 lead.

New England then responded with its own scoring drive as Laurence Maroney returned the kickoff 43 yards to the Patriots' 44-yard line, after which he rushed twice for 15 yards. Quarterback Tom Brady then completed three passes for 23 yards, but after two incomplete passes, New England was faced with 3rd-and-10 on the Giants' 17. However, on that play, New York linebacker Antonio Pierce committed pass interference by striking the helmet of tight end Benjamin Watson in the end zone, giving New England 1st-and-goal at the 1. This set up a Maroney 1-yard touchdown run two plays later, the first play of the second quarter, for a 7–3 lead. The two teams each only had one drive in the entire opening quarter, a Super Bowl record. On the Giants first drive of the second quarter, on 3rd-and-7, receiver Amani Toomer caught in a deep pass from Manning along the left sideline while dragging his feet in-bounds for a 38-yard gain, moving the ball to the Patriots' 19. But three plays later, Manning threw a pass that bounced out of the arms of rookie receiver Steve Smith and into the hands of cornerback Ellis Hobbs for an interception.

The Patriots' ensuing drive resulted in a three-and-out as on 3rd-and-1 James Butler and Michael Strahan tackled Maroney for a two-yard loss and New England was forced to punt.

Then on the Giants' next drive, rookie running back Ahmad Bradshaw fumbled a Manning hand-off and it looked as though Patriots' linebacker Pierre Woods had recovered the ball at the Giants' 30. But after the officials picked through the pile, it was determined that Bradshaw had made the recovery. The Giants maintained possession and wound up punting. New England's next drive ended with consecutive Giants' sacks, the first by linebacker Kawika Mitchell, the second by tackle Justin Tuck.

On the Giants' following drive, New York moved the ball to the New England 25, but linebacker Adalius Thomas sacked Manning and forced a fumble. Smith recovered the ball, however Bradshaw was penalized for illegally batting the ball forward before the recovery. The penalty pushed the Giants out of field goal range, and following an incompletion, they were forced to punt.

After the punt, two 18-yard receptions by Moss and Donté Stallworth moved the ball to the Giants' 44. But with 22 seconds left before halftime, Brady fumbled while being sacked by Tuck and defensive end Osi Umenyiora recovered the ball. The game then went to halftime with the Patriots leading 7-3.

On the first drive of the second half, New England had a 4th-and-2 and chose to punt. However, after the play had been run, Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick challenged that New York had too many players on the field and replay confirmed that was the case as Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn was unable to get to the sidelines as the ball was being snapped. Therefore, referee Mike Carey reversed the play, and the Giants were penalized 5 yards for having too many players on the field, giving the Patriots a first down. The Patriots then drove to the Giants' 25, but Strahan sacked Brady for a 6-yard loss on third down. Then on 4th-and-13, with the ball on the Giants' 31, Belichick decided against a long field goal attempt by Stephen Gostkowski and tried to pick up a first down instead. Brady's pass to Jabar Gaffney was incomplete as it went out of the back of the end zone and the Giants took over on downs.

On the Giants' first drive of the fourth quarter, Manning completed a 45-yard pass to rookie tight end Kevin Boss. Following three runs by Bradshaw and a 17-yard reception by Smith on third down, Manning finished the 7-play, 80-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass to David Tyree, giving New York a 10-7 lead with 11:10 left in the game.

After consecutive three-and-outs by the Patriots and Giants, New England got the ball at its own 20 with 7:54 to play. Brady then completed a 5-yard pass to Wes Welker and a 10-yard pass to Moss, followed by a 9-yard run by Maroney to give the Patriots a first down at their own 44. Brady followed with a 13-yard pass to Welker, a four-yard completion to Kevin Faulk, and then a 10-yard pass to Welker for a first down at the Giants' 29. After that, Brady found Moss for an 11-yard completion and Faulk for a 12-yard completion and New England now had 1st-and-goal from the Giants' 6. Following two incomplete passes, New York cornerback Corey Webster slipped while backing into coverage, leaving Moss wide open in the end zone where Brady found him for a touchdown to give New England a 14-10 lead with 2:42 left in the game.

On the ensuing kickoff, Raymond Ventrone tackled Domenik Hixon after a 14-yard return, giving New York the ball on their own 17 with 2:39 left and three timeouts remaining. Following two receptions by Toomer for 20 yards, Brandon Jacobs kept the drive going with a 2-yard run on 4th-and-1. On the next series of downs, Patriots' cornerback Asante Samuel nearly caught a possibly game-ending interception on a ball intended for Tyree, but the ball slipped through his fingertips. On the next play, the Giants faced 3rd-and-5 from their own 44 with 1:15 remaining. Manning spun out of the grasp of lineman Jarvis Green, righted himself, and threw a 32-yard completion to Tyree, who made a leaping catch while covered by Rodney Harrison and maintained possession by pinning the ball against his helmet with one hand as he fell to the ground. Two plays later, on 3rd-and-11, Manning found a wide-open Smith for a 12-yard gain to the New England 13. On the next play, the Giants sent four receivers into the pattern while the Patriots sent six pass rushers after Manning and flipped four pass defenders to the right side of the field - resulting in Patriots' cornerback Ellis Hobbs being isolated on the left side to cover Giants' wide receiver Plaxico Burress one-on-one. Hobbs bit on a fake slant inside (a "slant-and-go" or "SluGo" route) and Manning lofted a pass to the end zone where Burress caught the ball for a touchdown to complete the 12-play, 83-yard drive and give Giants a 17–14 lead with 35 seconds left.

New England began its next possession on its own 26 with 29 seconds remaining and three timeouts, but the Giants' defense didn't allow a single yard—forcing an incompletion on first down, a 10-yard sack by rookie lineman Jay Alford on second down, and then two deep incomplete attempts to Moss, the first that was broken up by Webster, and the second of which, on 4th-and-20, was broken up by Giants' safety Gibril Wilson and caused a turnover on downs with one second remaining. After the incompletion, the game clock briefly read zero (one second was re-added), and coaches, players, reporters, and fans crowded the field as if the game had ended. Belichick hugged Giants' Coach Tom Coughlin at midfield, then an official explained to both coaches that the final second had to be run. The Patriots' defense took the field, and Belichick left for the locker room, not staying for the final play. This early departure was later criticized by some sportswriters.

The officials cleared the field, and restarted the clock. Manning took a knee, allowing the clock to expire, and consequently sealed the historic Super Bowl XLII championship for the Giants, while also ending the Patriots' prospects of a 19–0 season.

Eight Patriots were elected to the 2008 Pro Bowl, the most since 1985. Quarterback Tom Brady, offensive tackle Matt Light, guard Logan Mankins, wide receiver Randy Moss, cornerback Asante Samuel, linebacker Mike Vrabel, and defensive tackle Vince Wilfork were all named as starters, while center Dan Koppen was named as a reserve.

Of those eight, five—Brady, Light, Moss, Samuel, and Vrabel—were selected to the NFL's All-Pro first team with Moss being a unanimous selection, and Brady receiving all but one-half vote (the other half was given to Brett Favre). Wilfork, Mankins, Koppen, and wide receiver Wes Welker were named to the second team.

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2006 Philadelphia Eagles season

The 2006 Philadelphia Eagles season ended in the Eagles finishing 10-6, reclaiming the NFC East, and winning a playoff game at home. The season ended in a Divisional Round playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints, but was seen as a success in the face of the adversity of losing starting quarterback Donovan McNabb to injury in Week 11.

The Eagles had been to the playoffs from 2000 to 2004, but in 2005, the team was torn apart by injuries and the Terrell Owens saga and finished 6-10 a year after appearing in the Super Bowl. Retooled and refocused in 2006, the Eagles won four of their first five games, but they underwent a mid-season downturn that left them 5-6 and without McNabb. Backup quarterback Jeff Garcia stepped in and running back Brian Westbrook stepped up as the season turned around for Philadelphia. The team came back from the dead in late-November to win their last five regular season games, surprisingly winning the NFC East division title after an unprecedented three-game December road sweep of all of its division rivals. They beat the New York Giants 23-20 in a home playoff game before finally losing to the Saints.

McNabb started the season with MVP-caliber numbers before his November injury, while Garcia was efficient, running the "West Coast offense" perfectly and completing eleven touchdown passes with only two interceptions. Westbrook became the focal point of the team's offense after the loss of McNabb, and responded by rushing for 1,217 yards and racking up 699 receiving yards. Trade acquisition Donte Stallworth combined with second-year wideout Reggie Brown to catch 15 touchdown passes and amass 1,541 receiving yards. Meanwhile, the offensive line was a quiet strength of the team, featuring emerging star Shawn Andrews and a group that started all 16 games together. The offense managed to morph from a quick-strike team under McNabb to a methodical balanced attack under Garcia while finishing No. 2 in yards in the league.

The defense was much improved from the previous season. The early season pass rush was savage, and the team appeared to be on the way to a sacks record, but a season-ending injury to Jevon Kearse and attrition weakened the defensive line. During the team's mid-season slump, the run defense was porous, but an elevation in play, spearheaded by defensive leader and All-Pro Brian Dawkins, helped the team turnaround. Trent Cole had eight of the team's 40 sacks and Lito Sheppard and his six interceptions made the Pro Bowl. The defense snagged 19 picks, and returned four of them for touchdowns.

In the 2006 NFL Draft, the Eagles used their first pick on Florida State defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley. Then they used their next pick (acquired from the Tennessee Titans) on Southern California offensive tackle Winston Justice. The rest of their picks included California Polytechnic State defensive end Chris Gocong, Georgia guard Max Jean-Gilles, Michigan wide receiver Jason Avant, Colorado wide receiver Jeremy Bloom, Tennessee linebacker Omar Gaither, and Southern California defensive tackle LaJuan Ramsey.

When the team met for training camp in the summer, they looked to erase the bad taste left by the disastrous 2005 season. Quarterback Donovan McNabb, returning from his sports hernia injury of the previous season, declared that he believed the team to be capable of reaching the Super Bowl. However, most of the national sports media picked the Eagles to finish last in a highly-competitive NFC East.

Correll Buckhalter returned after two years on injured reserve and the team added depth to the offensive and defensive lines. At the end of training camp, the Eagles cut two long-standing players from the team. They let maligned wide receiver Todd Pinkston go, due to his lingering Achilles tendon injury from the previous season. The team also released backup quarterback Koy Detmer, with former Pro Bowler Jeff Garcia and former Eagle A.J. Feeley becoming the team's new backups.

There was criticism based around the Eagles' failure to adequately replace departed wide receiver Terrell Owens. However, with about a week left until the regular season began, the Eagles made a trade to get Donté Stallworth from the New Orleans Saints for linebacker Mark Simoneau and a conditional fourth-round draft pick in 2007.

The Eagles opened the regular season on the road against the Houston Texans on September 10. The Eagles trailed early, as Texans QB David Carr completed a 25-yard TD pass to WR Eric Moulds. The Eagles would respond in the second quarter as QB Donovan McNabb completed a 42-yard TD pass to WR Donte' Stallworth. Even though Texans kicker Kris Brown would make a 34-yard field goal, the Eagles would take the lead for good as McNabb completed a 5-yard pass to WR Reggie Brown. In the second half, Philadelphia would wrap up the win with a 31-yard TD pass to RB Brian Westbrook in the third quarter and Kicker David Akers making a 42-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

The Eagles Week 2 home opener began similar to the game against the Houston Texans, the Giants marched downfield on their first drive with a touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Amani Toomer. Similar to the Houston game, the Eagles would proceed to destroy the Giants offense with 8 sacks and amass over 400 yards on the Giants defense going a 24-point scoring run. However in the 4th quarter, the Eagles completely collapsed on offense with a Brian Westbrook fumble, dropped passes and the inability to convert key 3rd downs to run out the clock. The defense failed to capitalize on a Plaxico Burress fumble in the redzone which turned into a touchdown for the Giants. The Eagles also began giving Eli Manning time to connect with his receivers downfield. Towards the end of regulation, Eagles defensive end Trent Cole was flagged for a personal foul which allowed Giants kicker Jay Feely to tie the game with a field goal.

The game proceeded to overtime with the Eagles offensive woes continuing and the defense allowing the Giants to score a miraculous touchdown on 3rd a long from Manning to Burress. To add to the loss, the Eagles lost Jevon Kearse for the remainder of the season with a knee injury.

Hoping to take out their frustration from the previous week's performance, where they gave up a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter and lost to the Giants, the Eagles flew to the West Coast to take on the San Francisco 49ers. The Eagles started off well with RB Brian Westbrook catching a 4-yard TD pass from QB Donovan McNabb, along with TE L.J. Smith catching a 1-yard TD pass. In the second quarter, the 49ers would get on the board with kicker Joe Nedney kicking a 48-yard field goal, but the Eagles made sure to stay as far away as possible, with Brian Westbrook making a spectacular 71-yard TD run, along with kicker David Akers booting a 21-yard field goal. In the third quarter, Philadelphia took advantage of a Niners miscue, as DT Mike Patterson returned a fumble 98 yards for a touchdown. San Francisco would get a touchdown, ona a 1-yard run by rookie RB Noah Robinson. In the fourth quarter,Noah Robinson would get another 1-yard TD run, but the Eagles managed to put the game away with Will Westbrook getting an 8-yard TD run. The 49ers would get one more TD, as QB Alex Smith completed a 15-yard pass to TE Eric Johnson, but fortunately, the Eagles would avenge last week's collapse with a win to give them the lead in the NFC East at 2-1.

Following their dominating road win over the 49ers, the Eagles returned home for a Monday Night match-up with the Green Bay Packers. Early in the game, the Eagles offense struggled with two goal-line fumbles being recovered by the Packers. In the first quarter, Packers kicker Dave Rayner nailed a 23-yard field goal for the only score of the period. In the second quarter, Philadelphia would score on QB Donovan McNabb's 6-yard TD run. However, Green Bay managed to get two more field goals, as Rayner got a 54-yarder and a 46-yarder to end the half. In the second half, it was all Eagles, as in the third quarter, kicker David Akers got a 40-yard field goal, while McNabb and WR Greg Lewis connected on two touchdown passes of 45 and 30 yards. In the fourth quarter, the Philly offense wrapped things up as McNabb got a 15-yard TD run, while the defense ended the game on a goal-line stand. With their victory, the Eagles managed to get their first home win of the season.

In a game that was hyped by wide receiver Terrell Owens's return to Philadelphia as a Cowboy (FOX promoted it as being the game of the year), the Eagles went up against their long-time rival at home, as another chapter was written in the famed Dallas Cowboys-Philadelphia Eagles rivalry. In the first quarter, the Eagles drew first blood as running back Brian Westbrook got a 5-yard TD run (which was set up on a fumbled punt attempt), while kicker David Akers kicked a 27-yard field goal after a quarterback Drew Bledsoe fumble. The Cowboys would score in the period, as running back Marion Barber got a 2-yard TD run. In the second quarter, Cowboys OLB Greg Ellis sacked QB Donovan McNabb, causing him to fumble, which was picked up by OLB Demarcus Ware who returned it 69 yards for a touchdown. McNabb would make up for his fumble by getting a 1-yard touchdown on a QB sneak after a long completion to L.J. Smith. However, the Eagles trailed at halftime, as Bledsoe ran 7 yards for a score. In the third quarter, Philadelphia would get back on top, as McNabb threw an 87-yard bomb to rookie wide receiver Hank Baskett. In the fourth quarter, the Cowboys evened the score with a Mike Vanderjagt 39-yard field goal. The Eagles responded with a 40-yard McNabb to Reggie Brown flea-flicker touchdown. With Dallas threatening to tie the score late in the game, cornerback Lito Sheppard, who already had an interception, returned a Bledsoe pass 102 yards for a touchdown. With their 38-24 victory, Philadelphia managed to take the lead in the NFC East. McNabb finished with 354 yards, two passing TDs and one rushing TD, while Owens was a nonfactor with only 3 catches for 45 yards and several drops. Stats That ended the Eagles 7 game losing streak to division rivals.

The Eagles lost a tight one to the resurgent New Orleans Saints in a loud and excited Louisiana Superdome. The Eagles, possibly suffering a letdown after their dramatic win over Dallas the previous week, came out sluggish and fell behind 10-0. They were about to get the ball with 1:56 left in the 2nd quarter, but Ryan Moats and Dexter Wynn muffed the punt return, turning it over to the Saints, who proceeded to score on a very short field to send the game into halftime with a commanding 17-3 lead. The second half was a different story, however. The Eagles scored almost immediately on a 60-yard catch and run by Reggie Brown. A 4-yard Donovan McNabb pass to tight end L.J. Smith evened up the game at 17. A Darwin Walker interception set up a 15-yard counter by Brown on the first play of the 4th quarter, giving the Eagles their first lead. It looked as though the Eagles would survive their sluggish start and the many drops by receivers. Unfortunately, the Eagles late-game struggles would return as the Saints scored on a blown coverage by struggling strong safety Michael Lewis, who was burned by Joe Horn. With 8:36 left, the Saints got the ball back and quarterback Drew Brees methodically drove the Saints down the field. without any remaining timeouts, the Eagles watched helplessly as New Orleans ran down the clock before John Carney kicked a game-winning 27-yard chip shot. The Eagles lost the game 27-24 and fell to 4-2, but remained in first place in the NFC East. McNabb finished with 247 yards and two touchdowns.

For the second straight week, a last-second field goal did in the Eagles. They started off poorly again, being held scoreless in the first half. Donovan McNabb tossed three interceptions in the first three quarters, with two of them being returned for touchdowns by Tampa Bay cornerback Ronde Barber. Trailing 17-0, McNabb found fullback Thomas Tapeh in the end zone. A short touchdown pass to Reggie Brown brought the Eagles to within three. The Bucs added a field goal, making it 20-14. With :33 left in the game, Brian Westbrook took a short pass and rumbled to a 52-yard touchdown. The point after gave the Eagles the lead, and it seemed as though they had pulled out a dramatic victory. However, a last-ditch 62-yard field goal attempt by Matt Bryant somehow made it through the uprights, robbing Philadelphia of the win. Westbrook had over 100 yards in both rushing and receiving in the defeat. Because of this loss, and a win by the New York Giants one night later against the Dallas Cowboys, the Eagles slid into second place in the NFC East.

Facing a battered Jacksonville Jaguar team missing starting quarterback Byron Leftwich, the Eagles turned in their worst performance of the season to this point. Philadelphia's high-powered offense was held scoreless in the first half (they failed to record a first down until the middle of the second quarter). Running backs Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew combined with quarterback David Garrard to rush for 216 yards and a touchdown. The Eagles managed two David Akers field goals in the second half, but their attempts at a rally fell short. The Eagles had considered the game a borderline must-win, but instead head into their bye week at 4-4.

The Eagles got their season back on track with a 27-3 rout of the division-rival Washington Redskins. After a David Akers field goal on the opening possession, Donovan McNabb found Donte Stallworth for an 84-yard bomb. Philadelphia's explosive offense struck again when running back Correll Buckhalter recovered a dropped pass in the air from teammate Reggie Brown and raced for a touchdown. The sensational play gave the Eagles a 17-0 early lead, a rare luxury for them. Washington got a Nick Novak field goal before the half ended, but they could not reach the end zone on the Eagles defense. In the third quarter, Akers added a short field goal, making it 20-3. Later in the quarter, the Redskins were driving for a score, but quarterback Mark Brunell threw an interception to cornerback Sheldon Brown who returned it 70 yards to the house, putting Philadelphia up 27-3 and closing the door on Washington. Stallworth returned in a big way with 139 yards on six catches, and Brian Westbrook rushed for 122 yards on a season-high 22 carries.

A favorable matchup that pitted the Eagles' No. 1 offense against the league's worst defense turned into a disaster for the Eagles. The Tennessee Titans scored on the opening drive with a 14-yard reception by tight end Ben Troupe. An apparent Brian Westbrook touchdown reception was reversed by a coach's challenge and Donovan McNabb tossed an interception the next play. The Eagles got on the board at the end of the quarter with a 42-yard field goal by David Akers, making it 7-3. Early in the second quarter, McNabb was pushed out of bounds at the end of a scramble, and had to be carted off of the field with a knee injury. Backup quarterback Jeff Garcia came into the game and helped drive the Eagles to another field goal, closing the gap to 7-6. Vince Young led the Titans to a scoring drive of their own before the end of the half, making it 10-6. In the third quarter, the Eagles saw their season slip away from them. Travis Henry broke a 70-yard touchdown run, then Pacman Jones returned a Dirk Johnson punt 90 yards. The Titans led 24-6 and Garcia, who had 48 pass attempts in less than three quarters, could only register a short touchdown pass to L.J. Smith. A botched shotgun snap led to a humiliating, late defensive touchdown for Tennessee. Westbrook rushed for 102 yards in the 31-13 loss. McNabb's knee injury was revealed after the game to be a torn ACL, knocking him out for the season. At the time, it was thought that the loss of the game and McNabb would virtually crush Philadelphia's playoff hopes.

The McNabb-less Eagles travelled to Indiana to take on the 9-1 Indianapolis Colts. Any chances of victory would be reliant upon a strong defensive showing, but the Colts stormed ahead behind three rushing touchdowns by rookie Joseph Addai in the first two quarters. Philadelphia's new starting quarterback, Jeff Garcia, found L.J. Smith for a 1-yard touchdown to make it 21-7 in the second quarter. Adam Vinatieri booted a 44-yard kick before the end of the half for Indianapolis. Peyton Manning tossed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne making it 31-7 Colts in the third quarter. The Eagles showed signs of life with touchdowns by Reggie Brown and Brian Westbrook to climb within ten with about ten minutes to play. However, Addai scored his fourth touchdown of the game and a Garcia fumble led to a defensive touchdown for the Colts, making it 45-21 - a score representative of how overmatched the Eagles appeared all night. The Colts rushed for 237 yards on the Eagles' beleaguered defense. Westbrook had his third consecutive 100-yard game - the first Eagle to do that since Wilbert Montgomery 25 years ago. The loss drops the Eagles to under .500 for the first time all year.

Behind a gutsy performance by quarterback Jeff Garcia and their defense, the Eagles prevailed on Monday Night Football against the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers struck first with a Jake Delhomme touchdown pass to Steve Smith (Carolina Panthers). The Eagles responded with an eight-yard touchdown reception by Brian Westbrook in the second quarter. Carolina retook the lead when Keyshawn Johnson reeled in a short touchdown pass just before the half. Garcia and Delhomme continued to trade blows in the second half, as Garcia found Donte Stallworth for a thirty-yard game-tying reception. Minutes later, DeAngelo Williams took a screen pass 35 yards to the end zone, making it 21-14 Carolina. The teams traded field goals, putting the score at 24-17. On Philadelphia's next possession, Garcia found Westbrook for a 29-yard gain, then hit Reggie Brown for a forty-yard game-tying touchdown on the next play. A Brian Dawkins interception and return set up David Akers' 25-yard go-ahead field goal. With less than a minute left, Carolina drove into Eagles' territory, but Lito Sheppard made a clutch interception of Delhomme in the end zone, preserving the 27-24 win. Garcia passed for 312 yards and three touchdowns. The win puts the Eagles at 6-6, and keeps them in the NFC playoff hunt.

Beginning a three-game NFC East road trip, the Eagles hung on to sweep the Washington Redskins 21-19. Washington was able to run the ball all day and Ladell Betts, who finished with 171 rushing yards, led the Redskins to a 3-0 lead after their first drive with kicker Shaun Suisham getting the field goal. The Eagles responded with three straight touchdowns. An interception by rookie linebacker Omar Gaither set up a Jeff Garcia to L.J. Smith touchdown. With Washington in the Eagles' red zone, safety Michael Lewis reeled in a tipped pass and returned it for a touchdown. Finally, Donte' Stallworth recorded a touchdown reception after a drive which featured a 60-yard catch and run by Reggie Brown. Field goals by Suisham just before and just after halftime allowed the Redskins to linger. A 34-yard touchdown pass from Jason Campbell to Antwaan Randle El made it a 21-16 game as the fourth quarter began. The Eagles offense sputtered throughout the second half, and the Redskins drove it to the Eagles 3-yard line. However, a clutch sack by safety Brian Dawkins forced Washington to settle for a field goal. Then the Philadelphia offense made sure the Redskins didn't get the ball back by driving down the field and running out the clock. The resurgent Garcia had a pair of touchdown passes and the 7-6 Eagles remained very much alive in the playoff chase.

The Eagles met the New York Giants in a critical Week 15 matchup and were able to emerge from the Meadowlands with a 36-22 victory. Taking advantage of field position placing them at the Eagles' 21 yard-line, New York's Tiki Barber scored an 11-yard rushing touchdown. After allowing their customary opening score, the Eagles tied the game with a 12-play drive capped by a Correll Buckhalter touchdown. The Eagles took a 14-7 lead in the second quarter when Brian Westbrook dove over the pile for a touchdown on fourth and goal from the Giants' 1-yard line. The Giants then quickly drove down the field to snag a 47-yard Jay Feely field goal right before the end of the first half. After a David Akers field goal miss in the third quarter, Eli Manning connected with Plaxico Burress for 52 yards, leading to another field goal. A Will Demps sack of Jeff Garcia created a turnover, leading to another New York field goal, giving them a 16-14 lead. Maligned Eagles' kick returner Reno Mahe's 64-yard kickoff return set up a 28-yard rushing touchdown by Westbrook, putting Philadelphia back on top 21-16. After having a questionable taunting penalty called against him, Garcia threw his first interception of the year, leading to a one-yard run by New York goal-line specialist Brandon Jacobs. The Eagles stuffed Tiki Barber on the two-point attempt, holding the Giants' lead to 22-21. Garcia led the Eagles down the field and passed to Reggie Brown for a 19-yard score with under 3 minutes left in regulation. Garcia then found tight end L.J. Smith for the two-point conversion, making it 29-22 Eagles. On the Giants' first play of their next possession, Eli Manning was hit as he threw by cornerback Sheldon Brown, allowing defensive end Trent Cole to gather the interception and return it for a game-clinching touchdown. Westbrook, who hit the 1,000 yard mark in the first quarter, rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns, while safety Brian Dawkins led the defense with twelve tackles, two forced fumbles, and an interception. The hard-fought 36-22 win avenged the Eagles' Week 2 loss to the Giants, moved them up to 8-6 and, more importantly, puts them in a strong position to claim an NFC playoff berth.

The amazing December turnaround of the Philadelphia Eagles continued with another road win over a division rival. Philadelphia's surprising 23-7 Christmas Day victory over the Dallas Cowboys was broadcast on national television and clinched a playoff spot. Jeff Garcia, who outshined fellow backup-turned starting quarterback Tony Romo, led the Eagles to scores on four of their first five possessions. Capping off their first drive, which took 7:12 off the clock, Garcia hit tight end Matt Schobel for a 25-yard touchdown. Cowboys' return man Miles Austin fumbled the ensuing kickoff to Quintin Mikell. However, Dallas cornerback Anthony Henry intercepted Garcia and the Cowboys drove to the Eagles' 1-yard line. From there, the Philadelphia defense stuffed Dallas goal-line back Marion Barber III on three straight plays. The ball turned over on downs and Garcia promply found Donte Stallworth for a 39-yard gain. The drive finished with a David Akers field goal and the Eagles led 10-0. Romo and the Cowboys responded with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Terrell Owens, who only caught two passes for 23 yards on the game. With only :29 seconds left in the half, Garcia got the Eagles into field goal range, and David Akers connected on a 45-yarder to make it 13-7 as time expired. On the opening drive of the third quarter, Garcia beat a Dallas blitz and completed a 65-yard catch and run to L.J. Smith. Philadelphia finished the drive with another field goal and it was 16-7. Early in the fourth quarter, Brian Dawkins made an over the shoulder interception in front of Owens in the end zone. On a 6:57 drive that included ten running plays and broke the Cowboys' backs, Correll Buckhalter pounded it in from one yard out, increasing the lead to 23-7. Romo would throw another interception, this one to Lito Sheppard, and the Eagles' domination of the Dallas offense continued for the rest of the game. The Eagles ran the ball a whopping 42 times for 204 yards (with Brian Westbrook accounting for 122 of those yards), while Garcia and the passing game gained 238 yards. The defense recorded three sacks in addition to the two interceptions and held Dallas to a meager 201 total yards on their own turf. Philadelphia now suddenly controls the NFC East and can win the division with a win over the Atlanta Falcons or a Dallas loss. With another victory, the Eagles moved up to 9-6.

When it was announced that the Detroit Lions had hung on to beat the Dallas Cowboys a few minutes into the Eagles' regular season finale with the Atlanta Falcons, the game instantly became meaningless as the NFC East crown became clinched. After the defense forced an Atlanta three-and-out, Jeff Garcia marched the Eagles to a 41-yard David Akers field goal. From there, Andy Reid began pulling Philadelphia starters from the game, leaving the contest in the hands of the Eagles' backup players. Michael Vick, playing in his last game before going to jail on dogfighting charges, completed a short touchdown pass to Warrick Dunn, giving Atlanta the lead. Eagles quarterback A.J. Feeley responded with a drive capped with a 14-yard scoring pass to Matt Schobel. The Falcons tied the game at 10-10 with a field goal, but Feeley fired a touchdown to rookie receiver Jason Avant at the end of the half. Juqua Thomas sacked Vick in the third quarter and knocked him out of the game, but Atlanta backup Matt Schaub retied the game with a touchdown pass to Alge Crumpler. Feeley answered on the Eagles' first play of their next possession with an 89-yard touchdown pass to Hank Baskett, who ran a perfect route and escaped the Atlanta secondary on his way to the long score. Schaub got the Falcons in Eagles' territory twice late in the game, but the Philadelphia reserve defense, playing for pride, held them out of the end zone, preserving the 24-17 win. Feeley came off the bench to pass for 322 yards and three touchdowns, while Baskett had a breakout game with 177 receiving yards and a score. The win allowed the Eagles to finish their improbable turnaround by winning out, giving them a 10-6 record on the season, in addition to their division crown.

The red-hot Eagles hosted the 8-8 New York Giants in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs. The teams played twice during the season, splitting two games that were mostly dominated by the Eagles.

The Giants attacked the outside with Tiki Barber on the opening drive, and Eli Manning laced a touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress to give New York a 7-0 lead. The Eagles offense could not get going the rest of the quarter, while the Philadelphia defense held the Giants from scoring again despite good field position for New York. With things looking bleak, Brian Westbrook read his blocks and took a handoff 49 yards for a touchdown. After cornerback Sheldon Brown intercepted Manning, the Eagles took the ball to the Giants' 1-yard line, but settled for a field goal to take a 10-7 lead.

A 41-yard Barber run set up a Jay Feely field goal to tie the game. Jeff Garcia responded by marching the Eagles on a ten-play drive that ended in a touchdown pass to Donte' Stallworth to take a 17-10 lead before halftime. In the third quarter, Westbrook, returning a punt, raced to the left side and scored a touchdown, but an illegal block call brought the play back. The Eagles instead put together another ten-play drive, this one ending in a season-long 48-yard field goal by David Akers.

Behind 20-10, an Eli Manning pass to Plaxico Burress drew a 47-yard pass interference penalty. New York got inside the Eagles' 5-yard line, but the defense held and the Giants settled for a field goal early in the fourth quarter. The Eagles continued to squander the lead, as the Giants put together an 80-yard, seven-minute drive on their next possession. The drive ended in an 11-yard touchdown to Burress, which tied the game at 20-20 with five minutes remaining. Westbrook and the Eagles then conducted a masterful "four-minute offense", getting into field goal range and burning the clock. As time expired, Akers booted a 38-yard game-winner. Westbrook had 141 rushing yards and a touchdown, while Barber had 137 yards for New York in his final game. Reggie Brown had seven catches for 73 yards, including several important catches for first downs. The negative for the Eagles was the loss of Pro Bowl cornerback Lito Sheppard—possibly for the rest of the playoffs—to a dislocated elbow.

Riding a six-game winning streak, the Eagles traveled to the Louisiana Superdome to face the NFC South champion New Orleans Saints. New Orleans had bested a Philadelphia team still led by Donovan McNabb 27-24 in Week 6. The Saints were rested and had what appeared to be the sympathy of the nation, but the Eagles brought greater playoff experience.

Cornerback Sheldon Brown set the tone early with a devastating hit on Saints' rookie star Reggie Bush on the first series. After trading punts on their opening drives, the No. 1 and No. 2 offenses in the league began to make some noise. A 28-yard run by Bush helped New Orleans take a 3-0 lead. In the second quarter, the Saints reached the Eagles' 5-yard line and added another field goal. The Eagles offense then awoke when Jeff Garcia heaved a 75-yard bomb to Donte Stallworth, the longest Philadelphia playoff touchdown play ever, giving the Eagles the lead. However, a 14-play Saints' drive ended in Bush racing around the right end for a 4-yard touchdown, and a 13-7 New Orleans lead. Garcia responded with big completions to Reggie Brown and Hank Baskett that got the Eagles in position for Brian Westbrook to dive over the pile from a yard out. A "Hail Mary pass" by Saints quarterback Drew Brees narrowly missed and the teams went to the locker room with Philadelphia leading 14-13.

On the Eagles' third play of their opening drive of the third quarter, Westbrook broke through and outran the New Orleans secondary, scoring a 62-yard touchdown, the longest playoff rushing touchdown in team history. The score was now 21-13 Philadelphia and visions of a fifth trip in six years to the NFC Championship Game became more real, but this was to be the Eagles' high-water mark. New Orleans running back Deuce McAllister scored short touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) on the Saints' next two possessions, putting New Orleans back on top 27-21. The Eagles drove to the Saints 4-yard line on their next series, but could not get into the end zone, settling instead for a short David Akers field goal that left them behind 27-24 early in the fourth quarter. After punts by both teams, New Orleans got the ball back and began a drive that looked like it would run out the clock. However, Reggie Bush fumbled a pitch from Brees to end the five-minute drive, giving Philadelphia another shot with 3:18 remaining in the game. After the two-minute warning, Andy Reid decided to go for it on 4th and 10 with the Eagles on their own 44-yard line. The result was a completion to Baskett that would have been good for a first down, but right guard Scott Young (replacing the injured All-Pro Shawn Andrews), was flagged for a false start penalty. Despite only 1:56 remaining in the game, Reid elected to punt the ball back to New Orleans on the resulting 4th and 15. The Saints ran the ball for a first down and killed the clock, ending the Eagles' playoff run.

Westbrook, who nearly willed his exhausted team to victory, ran for 116 yards and two scores, while McAllister had 163 all-purpose yards and two scores of his own for the Saints. Garcia threw for 240 yards, Stallworth had 100 yards receiving and a touchdown against his old team, and Reggie Brown added 76 receiving yards. The defense sacked Brees three times, but it was not enough to slow down the New Orleans offense.

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Super Bowl XLII

Super Bowl XLII logo

The game, held on February 3, 2008 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, was a rematch of the final game of the regular season. In that contest, the Patriots won 38–35 to complete the first perfect regular season since the 1972 Miami Dolphins team, and the first one since the league expanded to a 16-game regular season schedule in 1978. Thus, New England entered Super Bowl XLII as 12-point favorites.

The first three quarters of Super Bowl XLII were largely a defensive battle, as both teams combined for only 10 points, with the Patriots leading 7–3 entering into the final quarter. New York finally scored their first touchdown with 11:05 left in the game to take a 10–7 lead. New England eventually responded with a touchdown of their own to take a 14–10 lead with 2:42 left. Then came the defining play of the game: faced with third down and five yards to go from their own 44-yard line with 1:15 remaining, Giants quarterback Eli Manning avoided what looked like a sack and completed a 32-yard pass to wide receiver David Tyree, who made a leaping catch by pinning the ball on his helmet which put them at New England's 24-yard-line. Four plays later, New York wide receiver Plaxico Burress caught the winning touchdown with 0:35 left. Manning, who threw both of his touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, was named the Most Valuable Player.

As is always the case, the league considered several other cities before settling on the Phoenix area. In this case, the process was of special interest because the league considered holding Super Bowl XLII in New York City or Washington, D.C. as a symbol of the recovery from the September 11, 2001 attacks. New York City's bid did not go far. Aside from the obvious climatic concerns, there were issues with finding a suitable stadium. Proposed renovations to the 1970s-vintage Giants Stadium were still being disputed amongst the various parties. (Giants Stadium lacked a roof, as did both of New York City's baseball stadia.) Also, the City of New York and the New York Jets failed to make a deal to build a new West Side Stadium (which, according to the initial plans, would have been built with a roof.) During the years since the Super Bowl XLII bid fell through, work has begun on a Meadowlands Stadium, which also will lack a roof.

Washington DC's bid proved to be more viable. The DC area had a relatively new (albeit roofless) stadium, FedEx Field, and DC's winter weather (although still potentially problematic) is milder than New York's.

The kickoff for the game was at 4:32 p.m. MST (23:32 UTC). This was the first time a Super Bowl was played on a retractable natural-grass field surface; the University of Phoenix Stadium's removable surface is unique among American sports venues.

This was the second Super Bowl played in a retractable-roof stadium (designed by Peter Eisenman and HOK Sport). During the regular season, the home team decides 90 minutes before kickoff whether the roof would be open or closed, and an open roof must remain open unless weather conditions get worse. However, as a neutral site, the NFL controls the option to open or close without any restrictions. The first time this was employed was in Super Bowl XXXVIII at Reliant Stadium; the roof was open for pregame and halftime shows and closed during the game. Because there was rain in the forecast for Super Bowl XLII, the roof was closed for the entire day's activities.

During a February 6, 2007 ceremony with Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, the NFL and the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee unveiled the slogan "Who Wants It More?" along with its mascot "Spike the Super Ball" (an anthropomorphized football with sunglasses and sneakers) and a large "Super Bowl XLII Countdown Clock" at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The Super Bowl XLII logo was also unveiled, featuring the shape of the state of Arizona in red. The two horizontal white stripes in the middle represent the vertical lines on the University of Phoenix Stadium. The turquoise Roman numerals represent the Native American culture of Arizona. The red star represents the AFC and the blue star represents the NFC.

By the time the Patriots arrived at Super Bowl XLII, not only were they competing in their fourth Super Bowl since the 2001 season, they were already billed as one of the greatest teams in NFL history. They compiled a perfect 16-0 record (the first team to go undefeated in a 16 game regular season - the NFL expanded the regular season to 16 games in 1978), and set NFL records with 589 points scored (an average of 36.8 points per game), 75 total touchdowns, and a net differential of +315 points (they gave up 274 points, fourth best in the league). Some experts have suggested that the Patriots' 16-0 record is the culmination of a larger trend towards better records for top NFL teams since the league realignment in 2002.

The team was led by quarterback Tom Brady who won his first NFL MVP & NFL Offensive MVP award, throwing for a career high 4,806 yards and an NFL record 50 touchdowns (which was 22 more than his previous best season), and just eight interceptions. His passer rating of 117.2 was the second-highest season rating in NFL history. One often-cited reason for Brady's improved numbers was the acquisition of receivers Randy Moss and Wes Welker. The Patriots acquired Moss, a nine-year veteran, from the Oakland Raiders for a fourth-round pick in the 2007 NFL Draft after Moss had, statistically, the worst year of his career (with 42 receptions for 553 yards and three touchdowns). With the Patriots, though, Moss caught 98 receptions for 1,493 yards and an NFL record 23 touchdowns, and was selected a first-team All Pro. The Patriots also gave the Miami Dolphins second- and seventh-round picks for Welker; Welker tied for the league lead with 112 receptions for 1,175 yards and 8 touchdowns and was named a second-team All Pro. Welker and Moss both earned votes for Offensive Player of the Year. Other major contributors to the Patriots' passing game included Donté Stallworth, who added 697 yards and three touchdowns, and tight end Benjamin Watson, whose 36 receptions totaled 389 yards and six touchdowns.

Running back Laurence Maroney was the Patriots' top rusher with 835 yards and six touchdowns, while Sammy Morris added 385 yards & 3 TDs, and Kevin Faulk had 265 yards. (Morris ended up on injured reserve midway through the season, and thus could not play in the Super Bowl.) Faulk was also a reliable receiver out of the backfield, catching 47 passes for 383 yards and a touchdown. The Patriots also had an offensive line that featured three players selected to the Pro Bowl, guard Logan Mankins, tackle Matt Light, and center Dan Koppen.

The Patriots defensive line was led by nose tackle Vince Wilfork, who was selected to his first Pro Bowl; he was also fined four times during the season for unnecessary roughness. The Patriots also had a set of veteran linebackers who had a combined 16 Pro Bowl selections. Outside linebacker Mike Vrabel had, statistically, the best season of his career to date. He led the team in sacks with a career high 12½ and earned his first Pro Bowl selection. Adalius Thomas, an off-season signing from the Ravens, recorded six sacks. Junior Seau, who had been selected to the Pro Bowl 12 times during his career but had never won a Super Bowl, returned for his 18th season and got 74 tackles with 3½ sacks. Tedy Bruschi recorded 92 tackles and two sacks. The Patriots secondary featured another player selected to the Pro Bowl, cornerback Asante Samuel, who led the team with six interceptions.

The Patriots' success became controversial when they were caught videotaping opponents' defensive signals in the first week of the season against the New York Jets. The incident later became known as "Spygate". Head coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000, while the team was fined $750,000 and lost their first-round selection for the 2008 NFL Draft.

Unlike the Patriots, the Giants began the season with low expectations. The Giants had lost in the first round of the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons and had not won a playoff game in seven years. Quarterback Eli Manning, the younger brother of Super Bowl XLI MVP quarterback Peyton Manning, had struggled to find consistency. In his three seasons as a starter, he had completed less than 54% of his passes with a career passer rating of 73.4. While generally regarded as a solid quarterback, he had been unable to achieve the same level of success as fellow 2004 draftees Philip Rivers (for whom he was traded) and Ben Roethlisberger, the latter of whom had already won a Super Bowl (Super Bowl XL). By the 2007 season, many sports writers were starting to question if Eli would ever live up to the expectations of someone selected with the first overall pick in a draft.

Manning's criticism intensified as the Giants lost the first two games of the regular season, before recovering with six consecutive wins and finished the year with 10 wins, despite the loss of running back Derrick Ward, linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka, and four-time Pro Bowl tight end Jeremy Shockey to injury. Despite the injuries, Manning led the Giants to three road playoff wins without throwing a single interception. Their three playoff wins gave them an NFL record 10 consecutive wins on the road. The Giants finished the season with a franchise-low 77 penalties, despite the fact they set a franchise record two years before with 146.

Manning finished the 2007 season with 3,336 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions. His main target Plaxico Burress, caught 70 passes for 1,050 yards and 12 touchdowns. Amani Toomer, the Giants all-time leading receiver and one of only two players remaining from their last Super Bowl appearance in Super Bowl XXXV, was also a reliable target with 59 receptions for 760 yards. The Giants' ground game was led by running back Brandon Jacobs, who at 6' 4" (193 cm) and 264 pounds (118 kg), was one of the largest starting halfbacks in the NFL. He finished the season with 1,009 yards and an average of five yards per carry, while also catching 23 passes despite starting only nine games.

The Giants defense had a defensive line that was led by defensive ends Osi Umenyiora (the lone Pro Bowl representative on the team, the fewest a Super Bowl team has ever had), Michael Strahan, and Justin Tuck. Umenyiora led the defense with 13 sacks and five forced fumbles. Strahan, another veteran from the Giants last Super Bowl appearance in 2000, had nine sacks, giving him a career total of 141.5 and breaking the franchise record held by Lawrence Taylor. Tuck recorded ten sacks and 48 solo tackles. In the secondary, cornerback Sam Madison and safety Gibril Wilson led the team with four interceptions each. Cornerback R. W. McQuarters had no interceptions during the season, but he had been effective in the playoffs, with interceptions in each of their first three post-season games. Punter Jeff Feagles played in his first Super Bowl after 20 years in the NFL. This was also the last game for Giants athletic trainer John Johnson having been with the team for 60 years. Strahan and Toomer were the only Giants remaining from the franchise's last Super Bowl appearance in Super Bowl XXXV.

The Patriots continued to set NFL records on their road to the Super Bowl. First, Brady set the NFL record for completion percentage in a single game (92.9%) with 26 of 28 completions for 268 yards and three touchdowns in their 31–20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the divisional round, while safety Rodney Harrison tied an NFL record by recording an interception in his fourth consecutive postseason game. One week later, the Patriots defeated the San Diego Chargers 21–12. Although Brady threw three interceptions in the game, the Patriots defense forced two turnovers and limited San Diego to four field goals, while Maroney rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown for the second game in a row.

Meanwhile, the Giants became the first NFC team (third overall) ever to advance to the Super Bowl by winning three playoff games on the road. After beating the fourth-seeded Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24–14, the Giants upset the top-seeded Dallas Cowboys 21–17 when McQuarters intercepted a pass from Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo in the end zone as time expired. They advanced to the Super Bowl with a 23–20 overtime win over the second-seeded Green Bay Packers in the third coldest game of all-time (-1°F at kickoff, -24°F wind chill) with an interception by Corey Webster that set up Lawrence Tynes's game-winning 47-yard field goal. The field goal was the longest by a visiting kicker in Lambeau Field postseason history.

New England was heavily favored to win the game and become the first NFL team to go through a 16-game season and postseason undefeated. However, others predicted that the Giants could accomplish a win. New York's record of 10 consecutive road wins included five teams favored to beat them. This included their playoff wins against the Cowboys (who had defeated New York twice in the regular season) and Packers (who had beaten them in week 2). The Patriots attempted to trademark "19-0"; in response, the New York Post trademarked "18-1" for $375. The Boston Globe had already begun preselling a book on Amazon.com titled, 19-0: The Historic Championship Season of New England’s Unbeatable Patriots. Reebok had commissioned two television spots with actual members of the 1972 Miami Dolphins team either being forced to welcome the Patriots to "Perfectville", complete with a town sign ("Founded 1972") with the population of 1 being scratched out and a "2" being scrawled on it, the other with the Dolphins being sent a gift from the Giants, a football with a note: "Gift from the New York Giants. Enjoy it for one more year. Regards, Eli".

The Patriots and Giants had played against each other in the last week of the regular season. Due to the Patriots' quest for an undefeated season, this game was one of the most heavily watched games in league history, and was the first game ever to be shown on three different networks (NFL Network, CBS, and NBC). As they were favored to do, the Patriots won the game to finish the regular season undefeated, but it was a close and competitive game. New England won, 38–35, by overcoming a 12-point deficit in the third quarter, the largest deficit they had faced all season. "There is nothing but positives," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said after the game. "I told the players in playing this game everything would be positives, there would be no negatives and that is how I feel. I don't know any better way to be prepared for the playoffs than to go against a team that was 15–0." Interestingly enough, this would be the third time in the Giants' four Super Bowl appearances that they had previously played their eventual AFC opponent during that year's regular season. The Giants have won the Super Bowl all three times this has occurred.

For the third consecutive year, the arrival dates for the teams were staggered, with the Patriots arriving on Sunday, January 27 (corresponding to the traditional day that teams arrive for the game with the two-week break) and the Giants waiting to come in until Monday, January 28. A report filed by ESPN's Rachel Nichols suggested that the Giants stayed to practice more of their game plan in their home facility before arriving at the Super Bowl. The last three teams to wait an extra day to emerge in the Super Bowl city or area have won the game: the New York Giants before Super Bowl XLII, the Indianapolis Colts before Super Bowl XLI and the Pittsburgh Steelers before Super Bowl XL.

The Patriots practiced at Sun Devil Stadium on the campus of Arizona State University, while the Giants practiced at the Arizona Cardinals' practice facility, both of which are located in Tempe.

The game was telecast in the United States on the FOX network in 720p high definition resolution. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman called the game, while Pam Oliver (Giants) and Chris Myers (Patriots) were the sideline reporters.

This Super Bowl had an unprecedented nine hours of game-related coverage prior to kickoff on game day. Fox News started the coverage on the FOX network at 9:00 a.m. ET.

Official pre-game coverage began at 2:00 p.m. ET, and was handled by the FOX NFL Sunday pregame show team led by Curt Menefee, joined by Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, and Jimmy Johnson. In addition Frank Caliendo appeared in various comedic skits and Ryan Seacrest provided coverage of celebrity arrivals to the game site. This was the first FOX Super Bowl not to be hosted by James Brown, who had returned to CBS after the 2005 season.

The official game broadcast began at 6:00 p.m. ET, with kickoff at 6:32 PM EST.

NFL Network had extensive post-game coverage.

The Giants became the fifth team to win Super Bowls on three different networks (CBS-XXI, ABC-XXV and FOX).

The Patriots were in their fourth (of possible five) Super Bowl televised by FOX (the others being XXXI, XXXVI, XXXIX).

The telecast was the most-watched Super Bowl until Super Bowl XLIII, with an average of 97.5 million viewers in the United States and 148.3 million total viewers watching some part of the game. The broadcast achieved the highest Nielsen ratings (43.3) for the game since Super Bowl XXXIV. It was also the second (now third) most-watched TV program of all time in the United States. For people in New York City, the Giants' Super Bowl win, like most other sports championship victories there, drew the largest television audience for a game in the league involved and/or sports show on the network(s) that broadcast it, as evidenced by the New York Mets World Series win in 1986 and the New York Rangers Stanley Cup win in 1994.

The scheduled date for Super Bowl XLII was two days before Super Tuesday (Tuesday, February 5), the date in which 24 states held their presidential primaries, state conventions or caucuses. As such, some presidential hopefuls had considered purchasing Super Bowl ads. An adviser to Republican presidential candidate John McCain said that the football audience is "a very ripe and timely target." However, Fox Television nixed the prospect of any political ads, citing equal time regulations and the fact that the ad space had already sold out before any candidates had asked for it. Instead, candidates purchased advertising time before or after the game or in two dozen local markets. For this game FOX pulled in $250 million dollars in revenue from the ads.

One of sixty-three thirty-second spots among thirty-seven different advertisers cost an estimated $2.7 million (excluding production costs), up from $2.6 million in 2007. However, advertisers are usually offered discounted rates below the official one. Cars.com, which had yet to buy a Super Bowl Ad, made an early announcement that it would purchase two spots.

Five automobile companies advertised during Super Bowl XLII: Audi, General Motors, Hyundai, Nissan, and Toyota. Audi took the opportunity to pay homage to the decapitated horse's head scene from The Godfather using the front of a Rolls-Royce, while Hyundai, initially hesitant to air their spots, eventually gave the green light to their first Super Bowl commercials since 1989.

Throughout the NFL and United Way’s history, the two organizations have aired commercials highlighting how they work together bettering communities around the US. This year the United Way launched a youth fitness campaign through mobile donations with a 10-second spot running during the first half of the Super Bowl . The campaign asked viewers to donate $5 by texting “FIT” to ‘UNITED’ (864833). The commercial featured the voice of Tom Brady, and was the first national text message donating campaign to launch from mGive and Mobile Accord.

Following up on its Super Bowl XLI ad, which was one of several fan-created ads that year, the Doritos brand used its spot to air a brief performance by Kina Grannis, winner of an online contest which included a recording contract with Interscope Records. Other ads that aired were: Under Armour's new "Prototype" cross-training shoe; Gatorade's new G2 low-calorie sports drink featuring Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning, and Bill Parcells; Victoria's Secret; and Salesgenie.com. All but the G2 ad were done in-house.

They joined Super Bowl regulars such as Pepsi-Cola, which featured Justin Timberlake in his continuing rebound from the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy four years earlier, being dragged through all sorts of situations to promote a rewards program started by Pepsi, a Diet Pepsi Max commercial inspired by the Saturday Night Live "Roxbury" skits (including the iconic sketch theme "What Is Love?" by Haddaway and a cameo by Chris Kattan telling them to "stop it") and a SoBe Life Water spot featuring Naomi Campbell and 30 CGI lizards performing the Michael Jackson Thriller dance. Other returnees included GoDaddy.com (with World Wrestling Entertainment diva and spokesperson Candice Michelle along with IndyCar driver Danica Patrick); Coca-Cola spoofing balloons in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (including a fictional Stewie Griffin balloon; the commercial, titled "It's Mine" won a Cannes Advertising Award and was also nominated for an Emmy Award as Best Animated Commercial plus an snippet of the ad appeared in an actual Macy's commercial celebrating their 150th Anniversary that premiered during the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards in September), as well as its Glacéau Vitaminwater brand featuring Shaquille O'Neal as a jockey; CareerBuilder.com; Planters with an Ugly Betty inspired female using their cashews as a sexually arousing perfume; and seven major Hollywood movie studios promoting blockbuster releases.

The NFL itself ran an ad following the third quarter's completion, featuring the winner of a fan vote in an online contest. The idea was to emphasize the personalities of NFL players. The winning ad featured Houston Texans teammates and former San Diego State Aztecs Ephraim Salaam and Chester Pitts.

The commercials aired during Super Bowl XLII were made available online after the game on MySpace, as advertised by FOX during the game.

In the end we were told that the NFL would have to find 29 other advertisers to buy 1 second spots to fill a standard 30 second advertising slot and that they do not sell advertising time by the second. They also noted that a rapid fire 30 second segment of thirty 1 second commercials could cause people with certain medical conditions to have seizures and that it was against network regulations.

Peta had an ad ready claiming that, "Vegetarians have better sex." It was rejected and never shown on TV because it was too risque.

Outside North America, Super Bowl XLII was distributed by the NFL and NFL International. Overall, the game was available to an estimated potential audience of one billion viewers within 223 countries and territories. However, viewing figures outside North America rose only marginally on previous years with an estimated 10 million people tuning in from outside the USA, Canada and Mexico for an overall global audience in the region of 114 million. Dick Stockton and Sterling Sharpe were the announcers for the International broadcast.

The BBC acquired the rights in the United Kingdom. The game aired live on BBC Two, carrying the NFL International feed, ending ITV Sport's coverage which began in 2005. The game was also subsequently available on the BBC's on demand service, iPlayer. Sky Sports broadcast the game in both standard and high definition using Fox's feed and announcers.

Independent Phoenix television station KTVK broadcast a live video stream from a Webcam located outside of the University of Phoenix Stadium. The camera provided millions of Internet users from around the world a chance to peer in on pre- and post-game activities, watching thousands of spectators file into and out of the stadium on Sunday, February 3. The Stadium Cam broadcast from Friday, February 1 to Monday, February 4, 2008 on the station's website.

NFL.com's "NFL.com/live" carried its own coverage of Super Bowl events leading up to and after the game, mostly simulcasting NFL Network.

On radio, Westwood One had the national broadcast rights to the game in the United States and Canada; Marv Albert and Boomer Esiason served as the announcing team for that network. The game was carried on BBC Radio 5 Live in the United Kingdom with Arlo White commentating.

FieldPass, the subscription Internet radio service provided by the league at NFL.com, carried most of these feeds, with select international feeds for free.

Locally, Gil Santos and Gino Cappelletti called the game for the Patriots on WBCN radio, and Bob Papa, Dick Lynch, and Carl Banks called the Giants' radio broadcast on WFAN-AM. By NFL rules, only WBCN, WFAN, Sirius and FieldPass carried the teams' local broadcasts, and affiliate stations instead carried the Westwood One feed. WBCN, WFAN, and Westwood One are all owned by CBS Radio.

The official DVD of the Super Bowl was released on February 26, 2008. The DVD covered the entire 2007 New York Giants season, as well as special features including the NFL Network post game commentary, the halftime show in its entirety, the Media Day highlights, the NFC Divisional Game and NFC Championship Game highlights, profiles on Mathias Kiwanuka and Tom Coughlin, and features on Eli Manning and Michael Strahan. A Postseason Collector's Edition was also released. It was a 5 disc set that featured the last game of the regular season and all four playoff games.

Willie Nelson performed for a NFL-sponsored pre-game tailgate party, singing a duet with Sara Evans of his song "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" as part of FOX's pre-game show.

This year's Super Bowl entertainment had many connections to FOX's series American Idol. On August 16, both the NFL and FOX confirmed that Idol host Seacrest would serve as emcee for the pre-game show, with Alicia Keys as the primary performer; as she sung a medley of her songs, including... "Go Ahead", "Fallin'", "If I Ain't Got You", "Teenage Love Affair", and "No One" as the final performance. Idol Season Six winner Jordin Sparks, herself a native of Glendale and daughter of former New York Giants cornerback Phillippi Sparks, performed the National Anthem, while Phoenix College professor and theatrical interpreter A Dreamer interpreted it into American Sign Language. The anthem was followed by a flyover from the U.S. Navy precision flying team, the Blue Angels. In addition, judge Paula Abdul premiered her first music video in over a decade, Dance Like There's No Tomorrow, which she made with fellow judge Randy Jackson as part of FOX's pregame coverage to kickoff her official comeback.

The coin toss ceremony posthumously honored Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Bill Walsh, who died on July 30, 2007. His former players Ronnie Lott, Jerry Rice and Steve Young joined Walsh's children, Craig and Elizabeth, at the ceremony.

As is always the case, several big names were mentioned as possible performers for the halftime show before a final choice (i.e., Tom Petty) was announced. The halftime entertainer selection process in late 2007 was not unusual: however, since the site selection process four years earlier was of special interest, it is necessary to also mention some of the acts who might have performed, but did not do so.

According to the entertainment publication Variety, a wish list of potential halftime performers was developed by the NFL. Among those on the wish list were Bruce Springsteen, Norah Jones and the Eagles. In addition, interest in the slot was expressed by Bon Jovi, who had planned to open the U.S. leg of their Lost Highway Tour with a performance during the halftime show.

According to Rolling Stone, the engagement was actually offered to the Eagles by the NFL, but the offer was turned down.

Then, on December 2, 2007, it was officially announced that the halftime entertainment would be provided by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. The songs “American Girl”, “I Won't Back Down”, “Free Fallin'”, and “Runnin' Down a Dream” were performed by the band to kick off their 2008 world tour. Bridgestone served as the halftime show sponsor. The halftime show itself, produced by Don Mischer and White Cherry Entertainment in association with NFL Network, was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2008.

Former Redskins quarterback Doug Williams, MVP in Super Bowl XXII, commemorating the twentieth anniversary of becoming the first African American quarterback to lead a team to victory in the Super Bowl, took part in the Vince Lombardi Trophy presentation ceremony after the game.

Eli Manning was awarded the Pete Rozelle Trophy for being named MVP, and also received the keys to a 2009 Cadillac Escalade hybrid SUV. Though not the only brothers to play in a Super Bowl, Eli Manning and Peyton Manning (Super Bowl XLI) are the first brothers to be named Super Bowl MVPs (doing so in successive years).

After the game, New York City erupted in celebration, with the sounds of cheers and honking horns echoing through city streets. Crowds of elated New Yorkers, many shocked by their team's victory, packed Second Avenue in Manhattan, literally stopping traffic, honking horns and cheering. Times Square was swarmed with celebrating Giants fans well past midnight. Similar celebrations could be found throughout Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, Staten Island, Long Island, Westchester County, Fairfield County, and North Jersey, where the Giants play their home games New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, witnessing the first New York sports team championship victory as mayor, praised the hometown team's upset victory, saying; "New York has come back many times in the past, and Big Blue proved tonight that you should never, ever, count us out." Many New Yorkers consider the Giants' win to be among the greatest championship victories in New York sports history, falling in the same ranks as the New York Mets two World Series wins (in 1969 and 1986), the New York Jets winning Super Bowl III, and the New York Rangers winning the Stanley Cup in 1994, though the Mets in 1986 and the Rangers in 1994 had the best records in their respective leagues in their respective seasons. It was also the first New York sports team championship since the city was attacked on September 11, 2001 and the first since the New York Yankees won the 2000 World Series.

On the following Tuesday, February 5, New York City hosted for the Giants a ticker-tape parade up Broadway in Lower Manhattan. The first along the famed "Canyon of Heroes" since the New York Yankees won the 2000 World Series, it was also the Giants' first parade in New York. (Because of acrimonious relations at that time between New York City and the state of New Jersey, the team chose not to participate in a Manhattan parade for its' Super Bowl XXI championship in 1987, but instead held a "Victory Rally" at Giants Stadium in The Meadowlands. After their Super Bowl XXV championship in 1991, then-owner Wellington Mara chose not to hold any celebrations due to the Gulf War.) After six years in office, Bloomberg became the 14th consecutive mayor of New York City to preside over a ticker-tape parade. Following the parade, the Giants held two victory rallies: one at New York's City Hall and another one two hours later at Giants Stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands.

After the game, federal authorities revealed Kurt William Havelock, a would-be bar owner angry at being denied a liquor license, had threatened to shoot people at the Super Bowl and drove to within sight of the stadium. Havelock had sent letters to the media, vowing to "shed the blood of the innocent." After buying an AR-15 rifle and 200 rounds of ammo, he drove to the stadium and then changed his mind. After calling some family members, Havelock turned himself in to the police.

After scoring a combined 73 points in their regular season meeting, the teams scored a mere 10 points by the end of the third quarter, with the Patriots leading 7–3. The Patriots' record-setting offense gave up five sacks and one lost fumble, while the Giants' offense managed only five first downs in the second and third quarters. Yet in the fourth quarter, quarterback Eli Manning threw two touchdown passes, including the winning drive that culminated with a 17-yard touchdown to Plaxico Burress with 39 seconds remaining. The game marked the first time that a previously undefeated team had lost in a National Football League championship game since the 1942 Chicago Bears as the Patriots fell shy of their bid for a 19–0 campaign.

After calling tails to win the coin toss, the Giants started the game with the longest opening drive in Super Bowl history, a 16-play, 77-yard march that consumed 9 minutes, 59 seconds and featured four third-down conversions, the most ever on a Super Bowl opening drive. But New England halted the drive at their own 14-yard line, forcing the Giants to settle for a 32-yard field goal from Lawrence Tynes that gave New York a 3–0 lead.

New England then responded with its own scoring drive as Laurence Maroney returned the kickoff 43 yards to the Patriots' 44-yard line, after which he rushed twice for 15 yards. Quarterback Tom Brady then completed three passes for 23 yards, but after two incomplete passes, New England was faced with 3rd-and-10 on the Giants' 17. However, on that play, New York linebacker Antonio Pierce committed pass interference by striking the helmet of tight end Benjamin Watson in the end zone, giving New England 1st-and-goal at the 1. This set up a Maroney 1-yard touchdown run two plays later, the first play of the second quarter, for a 7–3 lead. The two teams each only had one drive in the entire opening quarter, a Super Bowl record.

On the Giants first drive of the second quarter, on 3rd-and-7, receiver Amani Toomer caught in a deep pass from Manning along the left sideline while dragging his feet in-bounds for a 38-yard gain, moving the ball to the Patriots' 19. But three plays later, Manning threw a pass that bounced out of the arms of rookie receiver Steve Smith and into the hands of cornerback Ellis Hobbs for an interception.

The Patriots' ensuing drive resulted in a three-and-out as on 3rd-and-1 James Butler and Michael Strahan tackled Maroney for a two-yard loss and New England was forced to punt.

Then on the Giants' next drive, rookie running back Ahmad Bradshaw fumbled a Manning hand-off and it looked as though Patriots' linebacker Pierre Woods had recovered the ball at the Giants' 30. But after the officials picked through the pile, it was determined that Bradshaw had made the recovery. The Giants maintained possession and wound up punting. New England's next drive ended with consecutive Giants' sacks, the first by linebacker Kawika Mitchell, the second by tackle Justin Tuck.

On the Giants' following drive, New York moved the ball to the New England 25, but linebacker Adalius Thomas sacked Manning and forced a fumble. Smith recovered the ball, however Bradshaw was penalized for illegally batting the ball forward before the recovery. The penalty pushed the Giants out of field goal range, and following an incompletion, they were forced to punt.

After the punt, two 18-yard receptions by Moss and Donté Stallworth moved the ball to the Giants' 44. But with 22 seconds left before halftime, Brady fumbled while being sacked by Tuck and defensive end Osi Umenyiora recovered the ball. The game then went to halftime with the Patriots leading 7–3.

On the first drive of the second half, New England had a 4th-and-2 and chose to punt. However, after the play had been run, Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick challenged that New York had too many players on the field and replay confirmed that was the case as Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn was unable to get to the sidelines as the ball was being snapped. Therefore, referee Mike Carey reversed the play, and the Giants were penalized 5 yards for having too many players on the field, giving the Patriots a first down. The Patriots then drove to the Giants' 25, but Strahan sacked Brady for a 6-yard loss on third down. Then on 4th-and-13, with the ball on the Giants' 31, Belichick decided against a long field goal attempt by Stephen Gostkowski and tried to pick up a first down instead. Brady's pass to Jabar Gaffney was incomplete as it went out of the back of the end zone and the Giants took over on downs.

On the Giants' first drive of the fourth quarter, Manning completed a 45-yard pass to rookie tight end Kevin Boss. Following three runs by Bradshaw and a 17-yard reception by Smith on third down, Manning finished the 7-play, 80-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass to David Tyree, giving New York a 10–7 lead with 11:05 left in the game.

After consecutive three-and-outs by the Patriots and Giants, New England got the ball at its own 20 with 7:54 to play. Brady then completed a 5-yard pass to Wes Welker and a 10-yard pass to Moss, followed by a 9-yard run by Maroney to give the Patriots a first down at their own 44. Brady followed with a 13-yard pass to Welker, a four-yard completion to Kevin Faulk, and then a 10-yard pass to Welker for a first down at the Giants' 29. After that, Brady found Moss for an 11-yard completion and Faulk for a 12-yard completion and New England now had 1st-and-goal from the Giants' 6. Following two incomplete passes, New York cornerback Corey Webster slipped while backing into coverage, leaving Moss wide open in the end zone where Brady found him for a touchdown to give New England a 14–10 lead with 2:42 left in the game.

On the ensuing kickoff, Raymond Ventrone tackled Domenik Hixon after a 14-yard return, giving New York the ball on their own 17 with 2:39 left and three timeouts remaining. Following two receptions by Toomer for 20 yards, Brandon Jacobs kept the drive going with a 2-yard run on 4th-and-1. Two plays later, on 2nd-and-5, Patriots' cornerback Asante Samuel had a potential interception on a ball intended for Tyree that would have potentially ended the game go off his hands and out of bounds. This set up 3rd-and-5 for the Giants from their own 44 with 1:15 remaining. Manning spun out of the grasp of lineman Jarvis Green, righted himself, and threw a 32-yard completion to Tyree, who made a leaping catch while covered by Rodney Harrison and maintained possession by pinning the ball against his helmet with one hand as he fell to the ground. The amazing play (dubbed "The Helmet Catch") kept the drive alive. Three plays later, on 3rd-and-11, Manning found a wide-open Smith for a 12-yard gain to the New England 13, who stepped out of bounds to stop the clock. On the next play, the Giants sent four receivers into the pattern while the Patriots sent six pass rushers after Manning and flipped four pass defenders to the right side of the field—resulting in Patriots' cornerback Ellis Hobbs being isolated on the left side to cover Giants' wide receiver Plaxico Burress one-on-one. Hobbs bit on a fake slant inside (a "slant-and-go" or "SluGo" route) and Manning lofted a pass to the end zone where Burress caught the ball for a touchdown to complete the 12-play, 83-yard drive and give the Giants a 17–14 lead with 35 seconds left.

New England began its next possession on its own 26 with 29 seconds remaining and three timeouts, but the Giants' defense didn't allow a single yard, forcing an incompletion on first down, a 10-yard sack by rookie lineman Jay Alford on second down, and then two deep incomplete attempts to Moss, the first that was broken up by Webster, and the second of which, on 4th-and-20, was broken up by Giants' safety Gibril Wilson and caused a turnover on downs with one second remaining. After the incompletion, the game clock briefly read zero (one second was re-added), and coaches, players, reporters, and fans crowded the field as if the game had ended. Belichick hugged Giants' Coach Tom Coughlin at midfield, then left for the locker room. This early departure was later criticized by some sportswriters.

The officials cleared the field, and restarted the clock. Manning took a knee, allowing the clock to expire, and consequently sealed the historic Super Bowl XLII championship for the Giants, while also ending the Patriots' prospects of a 19–0 season.

Manning completed 19 of his 34 passes for 255 yards, including a mark of 9-of-14 for 152 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, to be named the game's Most Valuable Player. Manning also joined Joe Montana as only the second quarterback to throw two go-ahead touchdowns in the fourth quarter of a Super Bowl. Toomer was the Giants' leading receiver, with 6 catches for 84 yards, and Bradshaw and Jacobs rushed for 45 and 42 yards, respectively. Burress had 2 receptions for 27 yards. The Patriots' offense recorded 274 total yards to the Giants' 338. While he never scored, Welker tied a Super Bowl record with 11 receptions for 109 yards. Moss had five catches for 62 yards and a touchdown, and Maroney rushed for 36 yards and a TD. Brady completed 29 of his 48 passes for 266 yards and a touchdown. Brady's 29 completions gave him a career total of 100 in his four Super Bowls, surpassing the previous record for Super Bowl completions that was held by Montana at 83. Tuck and Thomas were the top defensive performers for the Giants and Patriots, respectively, as each recorded five solo tackles, two sacks, and one forced fumble.

With this game, the Giants also established an unprecedented 11 consecutive victories away from home in a single season. Ten of those victories were in actual road games (official road record: 10–1). The Giants' Week 5 matchup vs. the New York Jets was considered a "home game" for the Giants. The Giants' matchup in Week 8 vs. the Miami Dolphins in London was an official Giants road game because it was originally scheduled to be played at Dolphin Stadium. The Giants were also officially classified as the "road" team for Super Bowl XLII based on the annual Super Bowl rotation where the NFC champions serve as the away team in even-numbered years.

Giants punter Jeff Feagles became the oldest player in NFL history to play in and win a Super Bowl, at age 41.

Patriots receiver Wes Welker tied the record for most catches in a Super Bowl, with 11, during the Patriots' scoring drive in the fourth quarter. Welker was the fourth player to record 11 receptions in a Super Bowl, following Dan Ross (Super Bowl XVI), Jerry Rice (Super Bowl XXIII), and Deion Branch (Super Bowl XXXIX).

The Giants opening drive consumed 9 minutes and 59 seconds, making it the longest drive in Super Bowl history. The previous record was from Super Bowl XXV, where the Giants mounted a 9 minute-15 second drive against the heavily favored and offensively explosive Buffalo Bills in the 3rd quarter.

Due to the length of the Giants' opening drive (which itself contained a record 4 third-down conversions), the first quarter featured only two possessions, a record for an opening quarter.

The three lead changes in the fourth quarter were also a Super Bowl record.

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NFL playoffs, 2006–07

The National Football League playoffs for the 2006 season led up to Super Bowl XLI on February 4, 2007 at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Despite quarterback Peyton Manning's three interceptions, the Indianapolis Colts out-gained the Kansas City Chiefs in total yards, 435-126, and first downs, 28-7. Indianapolis's defense forced three turnovers, four sacks, and prevented Kansas City from gaining a single first down until late in the third quarter.

The Colts opened up the scoring on their first drive of the game with Adam Vinatieri's 48-yard field goal. The next time they had the ball, they drove 68 yards to the Kansas City 2-yard line, but had to settle for another Vinatieri field goal to give them a 6-0 lead. After another Kansas City punt, Chiefs cornerback Ty Law intercepted a pass from Manning and returned it 43 yards to the Colts 9-yard line. But Kansas City failed to get the ball into the end zone with three rushing attempts and came up empty when Lawrence Tynes' 23-yard field goal attempt hit the left upright. After another interception thrown by Manning and another Kansas City punt, the Colts increased their lead to 9-0 by driving 33 yards and scoring on Vinatieri's 50-yard field goal on the last play of the first half. The Chiefs ended the half with 16 total yards and no first downs. This was the first time in the Modern Era (post AFL-NFL merger) and the first time since 1960 that an NFL team had been held without an offensive first down in the first half of a playoff game.

On the Colts' opening possession of the second half, Manning threw his third interception of the game (and his second to Law), but the Chiefs could not take advantage of the turnover and had to punt. Indianapolis then drove 89 yards in 12 plays and scored with Joseph Addai's 6-yard touchdown run, giving them a 16-0 lead.

Kansas City got their first first down of the game on their ensuing possession, driving 60 yards in 8 plays. Trent Green finished the drive with a 6-yard touchdown pass to tight end Tony Gonzalez, and then completed a pass to receiver Kris Wilson for a successful two-point conversion to cut their deficit to within one touchdown, 16-8. However, the Colts increased their lead to 23-8 on a 71-yard, 9-play drive ending with Reggie Wayne 5-yard touchdown reception. Indianapolis's defense forced three turnovers on the Chiefs' last three drives to clinch the victory.

Dallas Cowboys' quarterback Tony Romo, a four-year veteran who earned the starting job and made the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career during the regular season, botched the hold on a potential game-winning field goal with 1:19 left in the fourth quarter, allowing the Seattle Seahawks to escape with a victory.

Taking advantage of Dallas kicker Martin Gramatica's opening kickoff, which went out-of-bounds and gave Seattle the ball at their own 40, the Seahawks marched down the field on their opening drive and scored with Josh Brown's 23-yard field goal. Dallas was forced to punt on their ensuing possession, but Cowboys defensive back Anthony Henry intercepted Seattle's next pass and returned it to the Seahawks 43-yard line, setting up Gramatica's 50-yard field goal to tie the game.

Early in the second quarter, Seattle drove 54 yards and retook the lead with Brown's second field goal of the game. After an exchange of punts, the Cowboys took the lead again. Aided by Jason Witten's 32-yard reception, Dallas drove 76 yards in ten plays and scored on Romo's 12-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Crayton with only 11 seconds left in the half, giving the Cowboys a 10-6 lead. In the third quarter, Seattle drove 62 yards in 12 plays, featuring two fourth-down conversions by running back Shaun Alexander, and scored with Matt Hasselbeck's 15-yard touchdown pass to Jerramy Stevens, gving them a 13-10 lead. However, Dallas promptly took the lead right back after Miles Austin returned the ensuing kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown.

Early in the final period, Dallas defensive back Roy Williams intercepted a pass from Hasselbeck at the Cowboys 43-yard line. Eight plays later, Gramatica kicked a 29-yard field goal to increase his team's lead to 20-13. On Seattle's ensuing drive, a pass interference penalty on Dallas's Terence Newman gave them a first down on the 1-yard line. But Seattle failed to get into the end zone with their next four plays, turning the ball over on downs at the 2-yard line. On the first Dallas play after the turnover, Cowboys receiver Terry Glenn caught a short pass, but then lost a fumble. The ball was recovered by Seattle in the end zone for a touchdown, but after a Dallas challenge the referee ruled the play a safety, cutting the score to 20-15 and giving the ball back to the Seahawks at around the 50-yard line after the ensuing free kick and return. Four plays later, Hasselbeck's 37-yard touchdown pass to Stevens gave Seattle a 21-20 lead. The Seahawks attempted a two-point conversion to give themselves a three-point lead, but Hasselbeck's pass failed.

Dallas took the ensuing kickoff and marched down to the Seahawks' 8-yard line. On third down, Witten caught a pass that was initially ruled a first down on the 1-yard line, but after an instant-replay challenge, officials ruled Witten had been tackled at the 2-yard line, bringing up fourth down. With 1:19 left in the game, Gramatica lined up to attempt a 19-yard field goal, but Romo dropped the ball while setting it up for a hold. Romo picked up the fumble and tried to run with it for either a touchdown or a first down, but he was tackled at the 2-yard line by safety Jordan Babineaux, turning the ball over on downs and allowing Seattle to run the clock down to eight seconds before punting back to Dallas. On the last play of the game, Romo's Hail Mary pass fell incomplete in the end zone.

Tom Brady completed 22 out of 34 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns, while New England Patriots running backs Corey Dillon, Laurence Maroney, and Kevin Faulk combined for 145 rushing yards in a win over the New York Jets. Receiver Jabar Gaffney, who caught only 11 passes during the season, finished his first career playoff game with 8 catches for 104 yards.

New England took the opening kickoff and drove down the field, with Gaffney catching three passes for 34 yards on a 65 yard-drive that ended with Dillon's 11-yard touchdown run. Later in the quarter, Jets defensive back Hank Poteat recovered a fumble from Dillon on the Patriots 15-yard line, setting up Mike Nugent's 28-yard field goal to cut their deficit to 7-3. On their first possession of the second quarter, the Jets took a 10-7 lead after receiver Jerricho Cotchery (who finished with 100 receiving yards and 19 rushing yards) caught a pass from Chad Pennington and took it 77 yards for a touchdown. However, New England countered with Stephen Gostkowski's 20-yard field goal on their next drive to tie the game. Then, after forcing the Jets to punt, the Patriots marched to New York's 1-yard line. On third down with 11 seconds remaining in the half and no timeouts left, Brady took the snap, faked a handoff to Dillon, and then hit tight end Daniel Graham in the back of the end zone for a touchdown to give them a 17-10 halftime lead.

Nugent kicked a field goal on the Jets' opening drive of the second half, but New England responded with another field goal from Gostkowski to retake their 7-point lead. On the Jets' ensuing possession, linebacker Rosevelt Colvin deflected a lateral from Pennington behind the line of scrimmage. Most of the players on both teams (including Colvin) thought the lateral was an incomplete forward pass and the play was over, but New England's Vince Wilfork realized the play was still ongoing and recovered the fumble. After picking up the ball, Wilfork ran 31 yards to the Jets 15-yard line before being tackled by Cotchery, setting up Gostkowski's third field goal to make the score 23-13.

Early in the fourth quarter, Nugent kicked his third field goal to cut New York's deficit back to within a touchdown, 23-16. However, the Patriots responded with a 13-play, 63-yard drive that took 6:23 off the clock and ended with Brady's 7-yard touchdown pass to Faulk. Then on the first play of the Jets' ensuing drive, New England defensive back Asante Samuel put the game away by intercepting Pennington's pass and returning it 36 yards for a touchdown.

Philadelphia built up a 20-10 fourth quarter lead and thwarted a late Giants comeback attempt, winning on a 38-yard field goal by David Akers on the last play of the game.

New York took the opening kickoff and scored quickly, driving 67 yards in seven plays and scoring with Eli Manning's 17-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress only 3:12 into the game. All of the remaining drives of the first quarter ended in punts, but early in the second period, Eagles running back Brian Westbrook's 49-yard touchdown run tied the game at seven. Two plays after the ensuing kickoff, Philadelphia defensive back Sheldon Brown intercepted a pass from Manning and returned it to the Giants 37-yard line, setting up a 19-yard field goal by Akers to take a 10-7 lead. On New York's ensuing possession, a 41-yard run by halfback Tiki Barber sparked a 78-yard drive capped by Jay Feely's 20-yard field goal to tie the game with 4:45 left in the half. Philadelphia responded, with quarterback Jeff Garcia leading the Eagles down the field 80 yards in ten plays and finishing it off with a 28-yard touchdown pass to Donté Stallworth, giving his team a 17-10 halftime lead.

Two penalties by the Eagles in the second half allowed the Giants to stay close. Late in the third quarter, an illegal block-in-the-back by rookie Torrance Daniels nullified Westbrook's second touchdown of the game, which came on a 65-yard punt return. The Eagles still managed to score on their drive with a 48-yard field goal by Akers, increasing their lead to 20-10. The second penalty, a 47-yard pass interference call against Brown, came on the Giants' next possession giving the Giants offense the ball at the Philadelphia 14. The Eagles' defense dug in and forced the Giants to settle for Feely's second field goal of the game from 24 yards out, leaving the Giants down only one touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

Later in the period, the Giants drove to the Eagles 23-yard line. Two false starts and a holding penalty pushed the them back to the 43, but Manning overcame the situation by completing three passes to Burress; the first went for 18 yards and the second for 14 and a first down, before the third, an 11-yard strike, found Burress in the end zone for his second touchdown of the game that tied the score with 5:04 to play. Philadelphia responded by driving 46 yards in ten plays, including a first down rush by Westbrook, allowing the Eagles to take the clock all the way down to three seconds before calling on Akers to kick a 38-yard field goal as time expired.

In the final game of his career, Barber rushed for a career postseason high 137 yards and caught two passes for 15 yards. Westbrook rushed for 141 yards and a touchdown and caught two passes for 12 yards.

Adam Vinatieri's five field goals boosted the Colts to victory over the Ravens in the first NFL playoff game without a touchdown since the 1979 NFC title game.

Indianapolis forced the Ravens to punt on their opening possession, and Terrence Wilkins gave them good field position with a 21-yard return to their 46-yard line. The Colts subsequently drove to Baltimore's 5-yard line where Vinatieri kicked a field goal to give them a 3-0 lead. On the second play of the Ravens' next drive, Indianapolis linebacker Gary Brackett recovered a fumble from tight end Todd Heap at the Baltimore 31-yard line, setting up another Vinatieri field goal to make the score 6-0.

Later in the period, Cory Ross' 18-yard punt return gave the Ravens a first down on the Colts' 42-yard line. Six plays later, Matt Stover kicked a 40-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter to cut their deficit to 6-3. Two plays after the ensuing kickoff, Baltimore safety Ed Reed intercepted a pass from Peyton Manning at the Ravens' 45-yard line. Baltimore subsequently moved to the ball to the Colts' 4-yard line, but then gave it back when Steve McNair's third-down pass was intercepted by Antoine Bethea. Following the turnover, the Colts marched 63 yards in 13 plays and scored with Vinatieri's third field goal, which hit the cross bar and bounced through the uprights, to give them a 9-3 halftime lead.

Indianapolis took the second half kickoff and drove 54 yards, featuring a 27-yard catch by tight end Dallas Clark. Vinatieri finished the drive with a 48-yard field goal to increase their lead to 12-3. After an exchange of punts, the Ravens cut the score to 12-6 by driving 62 yards and scoring on a 51-yard field goal from Stover. Then, on the third play of the Colts' ensuing possession, Reed recorded his second interception from Manning, giving his team a first down on their 39-yard line. However, just like his previous pick, the Ravens could not take advantage of the turnover. Five plays later, McNair's pass was intercepted by defensive back Nick Harper.

After each team punted once, the Colts put the game away with a 47-yard drive that took 7:16 off the clock and included three successful third down conversions. Vinatieri finished the drive with his fifth field goal, giving Indianapolis a 15-6 lead with only 23 seconds left in regulation. Colts defensive end Robert Mathis then sealed the victory by forcing and recovering a fumble from McNair on the Ravens' final play.

The game had added significance to many Baltimore fans, due to the circumstances of the Colts' departure from Baltimore 23 years earlier. The Indianapolis Colts advanced to their second AFC Championship game in four years. It was the third consecutive playoff defeat for the Ravens.

The Saints gained 208 rushing yards and 435 total yards, both postseason franchise records, en route to a 27-24 victory over the Eagles, allowing them to advance to the conference championship game for the first time in the team's 40-year history.

In the first quarter, a 28-yard run from New Orleans' Deuce McAllister set up a 33-yard field goal from John Carney to open up the scoring. Later in the period, two big plays from the Saints, a 25-yard run by Reggie Bush and a 35-yard reception by Devery Henderson, set up Carney's second field goal 15 seconds into the second quarter, making the score 6-0.

Three plays after the kickoff, Eagles quarterback Jeff Garcia threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to Donté Stallworth to give his team a 7-6 lead. The Saints responded with a 78-yard drive, scoring on a 5-yard touchdown run by Reggie Bush to retake the lead at 13-7. However, the Eagles stormed right back, driving 80 yards in 11 plays. On third down and goal, running back Brian Westbrook took a handoff and jumped over top of the defensive line and fell into the end zone for a touchdown, giving them a 14-13 lead with 50 seconds left in the half. New Orleans returned the kickoff to their 47-yard line. With 2 seconds left, quarterback Drew Brees threw a Hail Mary pass to the end zone. Wide receiver Marques Colston initially caught the ball, but it squirted out of his arms as he fell to the ground, and was ruled an incompletion.

Philadelphia took the second-half kickoff and scored in just 3 plays with a 62-yard touchdown romp from Westbrook, increasing their lead to 21-13. However, the Saints responded with a 5-yard touchdown run by McAllister on their next drive. Then after forcing a punt, New Orleans drove to the Eagles' 29-yard line. After two penalties (a holding call against the Saints and an illegal contact call against the Eagles), McAllister rushed for 25 yards and followed it up with an 11-yard touchdown reception, giving the Saints a 27-21 lead.

With 11:08 remaining in the fourth quarter, Philadelphia scored on a 24-yard field goal from David Akers, cutting their deficit to 3 points. After an exchange of punts, the Saints drove from their 29 to the Eagles 35-yard line with 3:24 left in the game. New Orleans was in great position to take more time off the clock and increase their lead, but Bush fumbled a high pitch from Brees and Philadelphia's Darren Howard recovered the ball, giving his team a chance to drive for a tying field goal. However, the Eagles were unable to get a first down and chose to punt the ball back with 1:57 left. The Saints then clinched the victory by keeping possession of the ball for the rest of the game.

Robbie Gould's 49-yard field goal in overtime propelled the Bears over the Seahawks and to their first NFC championship game since the 1988 season. This was also their first playoff win since 1995.

Chicago running back Thomas Jones capped off the opening drive of the game with a 9-yard touchdown run. Seahawks receiver Nate Burleson gave his team great field position with a 41-yard kickoff return to the 47-yard line, but the Bears forced Seattle to punt after three plays. Then, after forcing Chicago to punt, Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck tied the score with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Burleson on the first play of the second quarter. However, Bears quarterback Rex Grossman threw a 68-yard touchdown pass to Bernard Berrian on the first play after the ensuing kickoff, giving his team a 14-7 lead.

Later in the quarter, Grossman lost a fumble while being sacked by lineman Julian Peterson, and Seattle's Chuck Darby recovered the ball at the Bears' 26-yard line. Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander subsequently took the ball into the end zone with four running plays, the last one a 4-yard touchdown run to tie the game. Seattle decided to squib kick the ensuing kickoff to prevent a long return, but Bears tight end Gabe Reid gave Chicago good field position with a 20-yard return to the 43-yard line. After the two-minute warning, Grossman completed a 21-yard pass to Muhsin Muhammad and followed it up with a 18-yard completion to Rashied Davis, advancing the ball to the 7-yard line. Following a timeout, Jones scored his second rushing touchdown, giving the Bears a 21-14 halftime lead.

On the opening drive of the third quarter, Josh Brown's 54-yard field goal cut the Seahawks deficit to 21-17. Then, after the Bears were forced to punt, receiver Deion Branch caught two passes for 33 yards on a 7-play, 51 yard drive that ended with Alexander's second touchdown on a 13-yard run, making the score 24-21. Chicago responded by advancing the ball to the Seahawks 10-yard line, but cornerback Pete Hunter ended the drive by intercepting a pass intended for Muhammad. However, Bears defensive back Ricky Manning Jr. intercepted Hasselbeck's next pass and returned it to the 32-yard line. Chicago ended up getting pushed back to the 36 and decided to punt rather than risk a 54-yard field goal attempt.

In the fourth quarter, Chicago lost a scoring opportunity when Devin Hester's 63-yard punt return touchdown was nullified by an illegal block penalty on Manning. Instead, they ended up driving 48 yards and scoring with Gould's 41-yard field goal to tie the game. Seattle responded with a drive to Chicago's 46-yard line, but turned the ball over on downs when Alexander was tackled for a 1-yard loss by Lance Briggs on 4th-and-1 with under two minutes left in regulation. However, Chicago was unable to get a first down and had to punt. Seattle then drove to the Bears 45-yard line, but Tank Johnson sacked Hasselbeck for a 9-yard loss with less than 30 seconds left in regulation, and the game ended up going into overtime.

Seattle won the coin toss, but had to punt after three plays. On the punt, Chicago defender Israel Idonije broke through the offensive line and attempted to block the kick. He didn't quite make it there in time, but he forced Ryan Plackemeier to rush his punt, which ended up going just 18 yards to the Chicago 36-yard line. Two plays later, a 30-yard reception by Davis set up Gould's game-winning 49-yard field goal.

In the final game of the divisional playoffs, the New England Patriots faced the San Diego Chargers team, who were unbeaten at home in the regular season. The Chargers' roster included league MVP running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who broke several league records, nine Pro Bowlers, and five All-Pro players. However, four Chargers turnovers, three of which were converted into Patriots scoring drives, helped lead to a Chargers loss. San Diego lost despite outgaining the Patriots in rushing yards, 148-51 and total yards, 352-327, while also intercepting three passes from Tom Brady.

In the first quarter, after San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer opted to go for it on 4th-and-11 instead of attempting a 47-yard field goal, quarterback Philip Rivers lost a fumble while being sacked by Mike Vrabel, setting up Stephen Gostkowski's 51-yard field goal with 40 seconds left in the period. In the second quarter, Chargers receiver Eric Parker's 13-yard punt return set up a 48-yard scoring drive that ended with LaDainian Tomlinson's 2-yard touchdown run, giving his team a 7-3 lead. Then, on the Patriots' next drive, linebacker Donnie Edwards intercepted a pass from Brady and returned it to the 41-yard line. But the Chargers ended up punting after Rivers was sacked on third down by defensive back Artrell Hawkins. Later in the quarter, Tomlinson rushed twice for 13 yards and took a screen pass 58 yards to the Patriots' 6-yard line, setting up a 6-yard touchdown run by Michael Turner with 2:04 left in the half. New England responded with a 72-yard scoring drive, with receiver Jabar Gaffney catching four passes for 46 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown reception with six seconds left in the half, cutting their deficit to 14-10.

In the second half, Brady threw his second interception of the game. But once again, the Chargers were forced to punt after Rivers was sacked on third down. Mike Scifres' 36-yard punt pinned New England back at their own 2-yard line, and San Diego subsequently forced a punt, but Parker muffed the kick and New England's David Thomas recovered the fumble at the Chargers' 31-yard line. New England's drive seemed to stall after Brady fumbled on 3rd and 13. Patriots' tackle Matt Light recovered it and Chargers defensive back Drayton Florence drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taunting Patriots tight end Daniel Graham. The drive continued and Gostkowski eventually kicked a 34-yard field goal to cut their deficit to 14-13. Then, on San Diego's next drive, linebacker Rosevelt Colvin intercepted a pass from Rivers at the New England 36-yard line. The Patriots then drove to the Chargers 41-yard line, but were halted there and had to punt. After the punt, Rivers completed two passes to tight end Antonio Gates for 31 yards and a 31-yard pass to Vincent Jackson, setting up Tomlinson's second rushing touchdown to give the Chargers an 8-point lead, 21-13.

New England responded by driving to San Diego's 41-yard line. On a fourth-down conversion attempt, Brady's pass was intercepted by Marlon McCree, but Troy Brown stripped the ball, and receiver Reche Caldwell recovered it. Schottenheimer unsuccessfully challenged the play and lost a timeout. Four plays later, Brady threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Caldwell. On the next play, running back Kevin Faulk took a direct snap and scored the two-point conversion, tying the game. Then, after forcing a punt, Brady completed a 19-yard pass to Daniel Graham. Two plays later, Caldwell caught a 49-yard strike down the right sideline to set up Gostkowski's third field goal to give them a 24-21 lead with only 1:10 left in the fourth quarter. With no timeouts left, San Diego drove to the Patriots 36-yard line on their final possession, but Nate Kaeding's 54-yard field goal attempt fell short with three seconds remaining in the game.

Although the Saints outgained the Bears in total yards, 375-335, their four turnovers (three fumbles and one interception) contributed to a Bears victory.

On the opening drive of the game, Saints receiver Devery Henderson caught a 40-yard pass at the Bears' 32-yard line. But three plays later, Bears lineman Israel Idonije sacked quarterback Drew Brees on the 36-yard line, and the Saints decided to punt rather than attempt a 54-yard field goal.

With 5:28 remaining in the first quarter, Bears defensive back Nathan Vasher recovered a fumble from Marques Colston and returned it 14 yards to the Saints' 36-yard line. Several plays later, Robbie Gould kicked a 19-yard field goal to give the Bears a 3-0 lead. Then, Chicago's Danieal Manning recovered a fumble from Michael Lewis on the ensuing kickoff, setting up Gould's second field goal to increase the lead to 6-0. New Orleans was forced to punt on their next possession, and Devin Hester gave his team good field position with a 10-yard return to the Saints' 49-yard line. Two plays later, tight end Desmond Clark's 30-yard reception moved the ball to the 19. Once again, New Orleans kept Chicago's offense out of the end zone, but Gould kicked his third field goal to give the Bears a 9-0 lead. Then, after forcing another punt, Chicago stormed down the field on a drive in which running back Thomas Jones carried the ball on eight consecutive plays, gaining 69 yards and finishing it off with a 2-yard touchdown run. This time, New Orleans managed to respond, with Brees completing 5 passes for 73 yards on their ensuing possession, the last one a 13-yard touchdown pass to Colston, to cut their deficit to 16-7 by halftime.

Two plays after forcing a punt from Chicago on the opening drive of the second half, running back Reggie Bush caught a pass from Brees and took it 88 yards for a touchdown to cut the deficit to two points. Then after forcing another punt, New Orleans drove to the Bears' 29-yard line. But this time, they failed to score, as Brees threw three incompletions and Billy Cundiff missed a 47-yard field goal attempt.

After the ensuing kickoff, Brad Maynard's 51-yard punt gave the Saints the ball at their own 5-yard line. Two plays later, Brees committed an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone, resulting in a safety. Two possessions later, Chicago stormed 85 yards in five plays, with quarterback Rex Grossman completing four consecutive passes for 73 yards, the last one a 33-yard touchdown pass to Bernard Berrian, increasing their lead to 25-14.

The next time the Bears had the ball, they scored another touchdown with a 12-yard run by Cedric Benson on a drive that was set up after Brees lost a fumble while being sacked by Adewale Ogunleye. Then, on New Orleans' next drive, Brees was intercepted by defensive back Nathan Vasher. After the ensuing possession, Maynard's 46-yard punt pinned the Saints at their own 8-yard line, and the Saints could only reach their own 30 before turning the ball over on downs. Five plays later, Jones closed out the scoring with a 15-yard touchdown run, making the final score 39-14.

In addition, Reggie Bush became the fifth Heisman Trophy winner to play in a conference championship game the year after winning the trophy. Mike Garrett, who also went to the University of Southern California, did so with the Chiefs in 1966 (technically it was the AFL title game since the league didn't merge until 1970), Tony Dorsett did with the Cowboys in 1977, Earl Campbell did with the Houston Oilers in 1978 and Ron Dayne did with the Giants in 2000. Campbell and Bush are the only two of those to not advance to the Super Bowl in that season.

The Colts gained 455 offensive yards, 32 first downs, and managed to overcome a 21-3 deficit to the Patriots to earn their first trip to the Super Bowl since the 1970 season. Their 18-point comeback was the largest ever in an NFL conference championship game, and tied the record for the fourth largest NFL postseason comeback. The Colts' win came after the Patriots had eliminated the Colts from the playoffs twice in the previous three seasons.

Midway through the first quarter, the Patriots drove 71 yards to the Colts' 4-yard line, featuring a 35-yard run by Corey Dillon. On third down, running back Laurence Maroney fumbled a handoff, but the ball rolled into the end zone where offensive lineman Logan Mankins recovered it for a touchdown. The Colts responded by driving 56 yards and scoring with Adam Vinatieri's 42-yard field goal to cut their deficit to 7-3. On their ensuing drive, the Patriots drove to a fourth down on the Colts' 34-yard line. Rather than attempt a 52-yard field goal, New England decided to go for it and Tom Brady completed a 27-yard pass to Troy Brown. On the next play, Dillon scored on a 7-yard touchdown run. Then, two plays after the ensuing kickoff, cornerback Asante Samuel intercepted a pass from Peyton Manning and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown, giving New England a 21-3 lead. Later in the quarter, Indianapolis drove 80 yards in 15 plays, with Vinatieri finishing the drive with a 26-yard field goal, cutting the score to 21-6 with 11 seconds left in the half.

On the opening drive of the second half, the Colts marched down the field and scored with a 1-yard run by Manning. Then, after forcing a punt, a 25-yard reception by Dallas Clark and a 19-yard run by Dominic Rhodes moved the ball to the Patriots' 32-yard line. Following a pass interference penalty on defensive back Ellis Hobbs in the end zone, Manning threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to defensive lineman Dan Klecko, who had lined up at the fullback position on the play. Then, receiver Marvin Harrison caught a 2-point conversion pass to tie the game at 21.

Hobbs returned the ensuing kickoff 80 yards to the Colts' 21-yard line. Four plays later, Brady threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to receiver Jabar Gaffney, who made a leaping catch in the back of the end zone. Although he landed out of bounds, officials ruled that he was pushed out while in the air, and the Patriots took a 28-21 lead. Rhodes started out the Colts' next drive with two receptions for 23 yards and a 9-yard run. Then, Clark caught a 23-yard pass at the 9-yard line. Three plays later, Rhodes fumbled the ball at the 1-yard line, but center Jeff Saturday recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown to tie the game.

After an exchange of punts, New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski made a 28-yard field goal to give them a three-point lead. The Colts responded with a 36-yard field goal by Vinatieri, set up by Clark's 52-yard reception, to tie the game at 31. Hobbs returned Vinatieri's kickoff 41 yards to the Patriots' 46-yard line. Then, Brady completed a 25-yard pass to tight end Daniel Graham. Indianapolis managed to halt the drive at their 25-yard line, but Gostkowski kicked a 43-yard field goal to give the Patriots a 34-31 lead with 3:49 left in the game. New England's defense subsequently forced a punt, but the Patriots ended up punting back to the Colts after running only a minute off the clock.

Manning started off the drive with three nonconsecutive completions for 58 yards, with a roughing-the-passer penalty on the third play adding another 12, moving the ball 70 yards in a span of 19 seconds and bringing up a first down at the Patriots' 11-yard line. Three plays later, Joseph Addai's 3-yard touchdown run gave the Colts their first lead of the game with only one minute remaining. Brady responded by leading his team to the Colts' 45-yard line. But cornerback Marlin Jackson intercepted Brady's next pass with 17 seconds left, ending the game, and sending the 2006 Indianapolis Colts to their first Super Bowl in team history.

The Colts were the first #3 seed since the NFL expanded the playoffs in 1990 to host a conference championship game and the first overall since the Washington Redskins did so in 1987. It was also the first time since said season where a team hosted a championship game after playing a road game in the divisional round, and was also the first conference championship game in which neither team had the first round bye and had to play three rounds to get to the Super Bowl.

Indianapolis Colts (AFC) 29, Chicago Bears (NFC) 17 at Dolphin Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida.

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Donté Stallworth

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Donté Lamar Stallworth (born November 10, 1980 in Sacramento, California) is an American football wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League. He was originally drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the first round (13th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft. He played college football at Tennessee. Stallworth has also played for the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots in his career.

Stallworth attended Grant Union High School in Sacramento where he was a star in football and track and field. He was a high school teammate of former Minnesota Vikings running back Onterrio Smith, Seattle Seahawks safety C. J. Wallace and Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Paris Warren.

Stallworth played college football at the University of Tennessee, where his nickname was "Hands," as his teammates watched his ability to come up with seemingly impossible catches on a regular basis. Upon leaving for the NFL, his 1,747 reception yards ranked ninth in the school's all-time list. His 40-yard dash was a 4.29 and he majored in psychology.

He was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the first round (13th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft. He made his NFL debut versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on September 8. He caught eight touchdown passes in 2002, his rookie year, but saw less action the next season. As a full time starter in 2004, he had 767 receiving yards and five touchdowns. In 2005, he recorded a career-high 70 receptions for 945 yards with seven touchdowns.

On August 28, 2006, Stallworth was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles for linebacker Mark Simoneau and a conditional fourth round pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. In Stallworth's first game with the Eagles, less than two weeks after the trade, he caught six passes for 141 yards and a touchdown. Due to a nagging hamstring injury, he missed three games early in the regular season, but finished the year with 725 yards and five touchdowns. Hamstring injuries have been a persistant problem throughout his professional career.

In March 2007, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Stallworth was in the league substance abuse program.

On March 11, 2007, Stallworth agreed to terms with the New England Patriots on a reported six-year deal worth $30 million with $3.5 million guaranteed. The contract was incentive laden, meaning that the Patriots could release him if he underperformed for a small fraction of the full contract. On February 22, 2008, the Patriots declined the option on his contract and he became a free agent.

On March 1, 2008, Stallworth signed a seven-year, $35 million deal with the Cleveland Browns.

On the morning of March 14, 2009, a Bentley driven by Stallworth struck and killed a pedestrian in Miami Beach, Florida. Stallworth was headed toward the beach when he hit Mario Reyes, 59. Police initially investigated the accident further to see if charges against Stallworth would be warranted. Stallworth was charged with DUI and second degree manslaughter on April 1, 2009; he surrendered to police on April 2, 2009 and was released on $200,000 bail. He faces up to fifteen years in jail from the state of Florida.

Stallworth admitted to drinking the night prior to the accident. According to early reports Stallworth was legally drunk at the time of the accident; news sources reported that his blood alcohol content was 0.12, over Florida's legal limit of 0.08. Stallworth claims that he flashed his car's headlights to warn Reyes before striking him. A Miami Beach police report said Reyes was not in a crosswalk on busy MacArthur Causeway when he was struck by the black 2005 Bentley Continental GT driven by Stallworth. The construction crane operator was trying to catch a bus home after finishing his shift around 7:15 a.m.

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Source : Wikipedia