INDIANAPOLIS - Tom Brady's two long incompletions in the final minutes, and several missed chances throughout the game cost the New England Patriots a chance at another Super Bowl victory.
It also resulted in their second loss to the New York Giants in the big game in four years, 21-17 on Sunday.
"We just came up a little bit short," Brady said. "There were some missed opportunities out there. It was a very hard-fought game. We fought 'til the end. I'm very proud of that."
With just over four minutes left, Brady threw up the left side to a wide-open Wes Welker. But Brady's most reliable receiver — and the NFL leader with 122 catches— couldn't hang on.
Minutes later, the Giants then marched for the go-ahead touchdown with 57 seconds remaining.
Brady had one last chance. He threw a desperation pass half the length of the field into the end zone. Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez went up in a mass of defenders, but the ball fell to the ground as time ran out.
"I thought we played very competitive, had our moments where we moved the ball and stopped them," coach Bill Belichick said. "We were in the lead for a good part of the game. We just came up a couple of plays short."