Updated 01/23/2012 09:02 AM
Super Bowl Bound
Giants Nip 49ers In OT To Set Up Title Rematch Vs. Patriots
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For the second time in five seasons, Big Blue is going to the big game.
The New York Giants recovered two mishandled San Francisco kick returns, the last one setting up the game-winning field goal in sudden-death overtime, as Big Blue defeated the 49ers 20-17 in Sunday's NFC Championship to advance to the Super Bowl for the second time since 2008.
Sunday's win sets up a Super Bowl rematch with the New England Patriots, whom the Giants defeated in Super Bowl XLII to claim the franchise's third Super Bowl title and ruin the Patriots' pursuit of a perfect season.
Like he did against Green Bay in the 2008 NFC Championship, Lawrence Tynes kicked the game-winning field goal in overtime, booting a 31-yarder after Devin Thomas recovered his second fumble of the game. Thomas recovered the ball after Jacquian Williams stripped it from fill-in return man Kyle Williams, who earlier muffed another kick return to set up a New York touchdown.
"I think I'm playing for my job every week," said Tynes after the game. "That's how I approach it and I still will two weeks from now. You're only as good as your last kick and fortunately I made my last one."
Eli Manning was 12-of-58 for 316 yards and two touchdowns in his fifth road playoff win.
"They have grit now, they battle, they're battle tested," Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin said of his team. "We've had five straight single elimination games and somehow, some way, we've scratched our way into finding a way to win."
Giants fans who gathered at Snap Sports Bar in Chelsea say they were in it for the long haul.
"Born and raised a Giants fan," said one fan. "Born in New York, raised in Brooklyn. Giants all the way."
"That was a really great game to watch," said another. "We made a lot of really good drives and that overtime was just awesome."
"It's just unbelievable," said a third. "I can't believe we did it."
Earlier Sunday, the Patriots claimed their Super Bowl spot by defeating the Baltimore Ravens 23-20 when the Ravens missed a potential game-tying 32-yard field goal with 11 seconds left in the game.
Like the Patriots, the Giants will be seeking the franchise's fourth Super Bowl championship, following Big Blue titles in 1987, 1991 and 2008. Only the 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers have won more than three Super Bowl titles.