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Its the Giants and Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis

FootballNew England PatriotsNew York GiantsSuper BowlSan Francisco 49ersAFC Championship GameNFC Championship Game

From literally one side of the country to another, the path of the first Super Bowl in Indianapolis is being decided.

In New England, it was the Patriots who were the first to clinch a spot for the big game and a trip to the Hoosier state. Later on Sunday night, it was the Giants capturing the NFC Championship to set up the matchup for Super Bowl XLVI February 5th at Lucas Oil Stadium at 6:30 P.M.

The Patriots beat Baltimore 23-20 to win the AFC Championship Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium. Later on Sunday, the Giants defeated the 49ers 10-17 in overtime.

A match-up between New England and New York is a rematch of Super Bowl XLII which the Giants scored a 17-14 upset over the previously undefeated Patriots.

Special teams played a major part in each outcome. In the AFC Championship, Baltimore's Billy Cundiff missed a potential game-tying field goal with 15 seconds left that would have send the game to overtime.

In San Francisco, the 49ers Kyle Williams fumbled a punt in overtime which set up Lawrence Tynes' game-winning field goal.

New England and Baltimore engaged in a back-and-forth struggle for most of the first half. New England got a field goal from Stephen Gostkowski then a touchdown from former Indiana Hoosier Benjarvus Green-Ellis to grab a 10-3 lead in the second quarter.

Joe Flacco was able to bring his team back later in the quarter, tying the game with a six-yard touchdown pass to Dennis Pitta to even the game at ten.

Gostkowski then brought the Patriots to the lead, hitting a field goal befoer the half and then another in the third to give New England a six-point lead. But Flacco led Baltimore back again, leading the team on a 78-yard drive that was capped by a 29-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith.

A Billy Cundiff field goal following a Patriots fumble put Baltimore up 20-16 in the third quarter.

Tom Brady led the Patriots back on a drive of his own, scoring on a one-yard touchdown sneak on fourth down early in the fourth quarter to give the Patriots a three-point lead. Baltimore made one last drive in the final two minutes, getting down to the New England 14-yard line to set up a 32-yard field goal.

But Cundiff-who made two field goals over the course of the game-hooked the kick to the left to give the Patriots the win.

The 49ers and Giants put on a similar show in the NFC Championship game later Sunday night. Vernon Davis’ 73-yard touchdown reception from Alex Smith gave San Francisco an early lead, but ten points in the second quarter gave New York the lead.

Eli Manning’s touchdown pass to Bear Pascoe was followed by a Lawrence Tynes 31-yard field goal to make it 10-7 Giants at the half.

Smith connected again with Davis in the fourth quarter on a 28-yard scoring strike to put San Francisco back out in front. Manning responded in kind, putting New York back in the lead with his own 17-yard touchdown pass to Mario Manningham.

On the next drive San Francisco evened it back up with a David Akers’ 25-yard field goal to make it 17 all and send the game into overtime. Both teams traded possessions before Williams had a costly fumble on the punt return, which was recovered by the Giants deep in 49ers territory.

A few strong runs by Amad Bradshaw set up the easy field goal for Tynes, who made his second NFC Championship-clinching field goal in his career. In the NFC title game in 2008 at Green Bay, he also made a field goal to send Giants to Super Bowl XLII.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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