- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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If only Chris Snee could have used the muddy conditions during Sunday's game as a reason why the offensive line struggled to keep quarterback Eli Manning upright in the NFC Championship Game. Then he and his offensive line teammates would be off the hook.
"It was wet but that wasn't the reason for the pressures," Snee said on Tuesday. "I wish I could say that it was but it wasn't."
After putting together a string of quality games protecting Manning and being able to establish the run, the offensive line will have to rebound following a dismal performance against the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.
In the second half of the win, Manning seemed like he was pressured, hit or sacked on virtually every one of his throws. Without a run game to lean on, as the team had just 85 yards on 26 carries, the quarterback threw it 58 times and the 49ers unleashed its pass rush on the Giants with great success.
"We weren't consistent," guard Kevin Boothe said. "There are things we could have definitely done better. We did some good things. We were fortunate enough that during those inconsistencies our defense and specials teams kept us in the game. Ultimately we were able to win."
While the Giants understood that rushing the ball was not going to be the way to beat the 49ers, passing the ball behind the offensive line didn't prove to be that successful an option either. After a terrific first half, the protection broke down later on in the game.
As Manning tried to lead his team to victory in the second half, rarely did he have time to make a throw without some defender within distance of giving him a good hit. The quarterback took several very hard hits during the course of the game.
"You have to give them credit. They're a good defense," Boothe said. "That was a tough atmosphere and they played hard. They were deserving to be in that role. We were able to make enough plays at the end."
Just like the 49ers, New England has a very stout defensive front and can get after a quarterback, like it did against the Ravens. Snee understands that the Patriots can try and mirror some of the same defensive strategies the 49ers used to get pressure on the Giants.
"It's not something you want to see and it's something that we'll address," Snee said of Manning being hit so often. "Everyone's watched that game tape and really examined what they did to us with the movement up front and I'm sure that New England will try to copy some of that stuff so it's something we have to correct going into this game."
Correcting those mistakes will be vital to the Giants' success in the Super Bowl. Otherwise, it might be another long day for Big Blue and Manning.
"That was the NFC Championship game. You're not going to get a bad team in that situation so we understand we have to play our best football in order to be successful," Boothe said. "We made enough plays last week and we need to make more plays Super Bowl Sunday."
If only Chris Snee could have used the muddy conditions during Sunday's game as a reason why the offensive line struggled to keep quarterback Eli Manning upright in the NFC Championship Game.