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Giants lead Patriots 9-0 after 1st quarter of SB
Thanks to safety, perfect Manning, Giants lead Patriots 9-0 after 1st quarter of Super Bowl
By The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) ' A rare Super Bowl safety and Eli Manning's 2-yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz gave the New York Giants a 9-0 lead over the New England Patriots after the first quarter of the NFL championship game Sunday night.

Manning started 9 for 9 for 77 yards and the TD to Cruz, who did his celebratory salsa dance in the back of the end zone with about 3 minutes left in the quarter. Manning is the first quarterback to begin a Super Bowl with nine consecutive completions.

Manning was the MVP back in 2008, when New York upset New England in the Super Bowl, ruining the Patriots' bid for a perfect season.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been a Super Bowl MVP twice himself, but started as shakily as could be Sunday. On his first play of the game, which began at New England's 6, he threw the ball away deep while standing in his own end zone and being pressured by Giants defensive lineman Justin Tuck.

A penalty for intentional grounding was called, which resulted in the safety and a 2-0 lead for the Giants. Only one other time in Super Bowl history did the game's first score come on a safety, all the way back in 1975, when the Steelers beat the Vikings.

That also meant New England had to kick the ball back to New York, and Manning led a 78-yard, nine-play drive that ended with the TD, making it 9-0.

Little went right for New England at the outset.

New York ran 19 of the game's first 20 plays, outgaining New England 108-0 in yards and holding a time-of-possession edge of 11 minutes, 28 seconds to 8 seconds. New England didn't get its initial first down until there were under two minutes left in the opening quarter.

There also was an apparent fumble by the Giants, recovered by the Patriots ' except it was wiped out by a penalty because New England was caught with 12 men on the field, instead of 11.

The only positive early on for the AFC champion Patriots? They won the pregame coin toss, after NFC teams had won the past 14 at the Super Bowl.

New England deferred its choice until the second half, giving New York the ball first.

The Patriots (15-3) enter on a 10-game winning streak. Their last loss came against New York in the regular season, a 24-20 Giants victory on Nov. 6. The Giants (12-7) have won five consecutive games.

The roof was closed at Lucas Oil Stadium as Indianapolis hosted the NFL championship game for the first time, with an expected U.S. TV audience of 100 million or more.

Among those watching the game on TV: President Barack Obama, who sent out a message on Twitter on Sunday saying he wished his hometown Chicago Bears were playing in the Super Bowl.

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