Missed opportunities prove costly
But it was surely a long plane ride home for the Patriots, whose uncharacteristic miscues throughout the game cost them a chance at a fourth Super Bowl victory.Complete Coverage: Super Bowl XLVI
Perhaps most surprising was that the team's two biggest offensive stars - Tom Brady and Wes Welker - made crucial mistakes that proved especially costly.
It 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."
The Patriots forced three fumbles, but the Giants kept the ball after each one.
"Those plays like that don't happen too often in a game and we didn't capitalize on the opportunities," wide receiver Deion Branch said.
Click the scroll bar above to see the key plays that cost the Patriots a shot at another Super Bowl title.