Dan Shaughnessy

For Patriots, history repeats

Four years after watching their perfect season implode, the Patriots were again beaten in the Super Bowl by the Giants. And it was excruciating.

Tom Brady walked off the field as the Giants celebrated a come-from-behind victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.

Jim Davis / Globe Staff

Tom Brady walked off the field as the Giants celebrated a come-from-behind victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.

Liam Curran, 31, of Dorchester, and Anna McDonough, 30, of Melrose, reacted while watching the game at Clery's in Boston.

Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

Liam Curran, 31, of Dorchester, and Anna McDonough, 30, of Melrose, reacted while watching the game at Clery's in Boston.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick left the field after the defeat.

Mark Humphrey/AP

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick left the field after the defeat.

Quarterback Eli Manning posed with the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Manning was also named the game's MVP.

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Quarterback Eli Manning posed with the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Manning was also named the game's MVP.

Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez failed to catch Tom Brady's hail mary pass at the end of the game.

Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff

Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez failed to catch Tom Brady's Hail Mary pass at the end of the game.

The hail mary pass fell to the ground, despite Rob Gronkowski's efforts to dive and catch it.

Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff

The Hail Mary pass fell to the ground, despite Rob Gronkowski's efforts to dive and catch it.

Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw scored the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw scored the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

Giants wide receiver Mario Manningham made a key catch in New York's game-winning fourth-quarter drive.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Giants wide receiver Mario Manningham made a key catch in New York's game-winning fourth-quarter drive.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN FEBRUARY 5, 2012 SUPER BOWL XLVI NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS VS. NEW YORK GIANTS New England Patriots' defense takes down New York Giants' Jake Ballard #85 in the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN on Sunday, February 5, 2012. (John Tlumacki/Globe Staff Photo)

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

The Patriots defense tackled the Giants' Jake Ballard in the third quarter.

Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez couldn't quite reach a pass from Tom Brady on a play late in the game.

Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez couldn't quite reach a pass from Tom Brady on a play late in the game.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN FEBRUARY 5, 2012 SUPER BOWL XLVI NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS VS. NEW YORK GIANTS New England Patriots' Aaron Hernandez #81 congratulates Danny Woodhead #39 on his touchdown in the second quarter of Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN on Sunday, February 5, 2012. (Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff Photo)

Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff Photo

Danny Woodhead reacted after scoring the Patriots' first touchdown on a pass from Tom Brady at the end of the first half.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN FEBRUARY 5, 2012 SUPER BOWL XLVI NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS VS. NEW YORK GIANTS New England Patriots' Aaron Hernandez #81 scores a touchdown in the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN on Sunday, February 5, 2012. (Barry Chin/Globe Staff Photo)

Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Tight end Aaron Hernandez scored after catching a pass on the Patriots' first drive of the second half.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN FEBRUARY 5, 2012 SUPER BOWL XLVI NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS VS. NEW YORK GIANTS New England Patriots' Tom Brady #12 walks off the field after getting sacked in the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN on Sunday, February 5, 2012. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff Photo)

The Boston Globe

Tom Brady walked off the field after getting sacked in the third quarter.

Tom Brady sat on the ground after a play in the second half.

Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff

Tom Brady sat on the ground after a play in the second half.

Giants 21, Patriots 17

Giants again break hearts of the Patriots

The Giants ended the Patriots’ season in heartbreak for the second time in as many Super Bowl meetings, winning their fourth Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Tom Brady sat on the bench during the second half of last night’s game.

Christopher L. Gasper

Patriots simply lost to a more talented team

The lesson is that Bill Belichick and Tom Brady didn’t win those three Super Bowls on their own. They need better complementary parts to win a championship.

Ahmad Bradshaw’s touchdown late in the fourth quarter turned into the winning touchdown.

Bob Ryan

Ultimately, Patriots couldn’t get Giants off field

The fact remains the Giants won - again - and the Patriots lost - again - because when it had to be done, the Patriots could not stop the Giants.

//c.o0bg.com/rf/image_90x90/Boston/2011-2020/2012/02/06/BostonGlobe.com/Sports/Images/138325023-2297--90x90.jpg Wes Welker crushed by critical drop

Welker couldn’t corral a pass late in the game that could have helped seal a win. “It’s one I’ll have to live with,” he said.

Rob Gronkowski couldn’t prevent this interception by Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn in the second half.

Rob Gronkowski plays just a small role

Gronkowski patiently repeated that he was “100 percent’’ when asked whether his sprained ankle limited him, but he was all but invisible in the Super Bowl.

Tom Coughlin joined Bill Belichick and Mike Shanahan as the only active coaches with multiple Super Bowl wins.

Tom Coughlin steps onto new level

Coughlin said he felt a special bond with this team and expressed pride in their becoming the fifth franchise that has won four or more Super Bowls.

Belichick noncommittal about allowing Giants touchdown

Patriots coach Bill Belichick didn't do much talking after his Patriots lost to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI, 21-17. He gave his respects to the Giants, but was markedly sullen.

Mario Manningham’s catch along the sidelines was crucial to the team’s game-winning drive.

Mario Manningham's catch put Giants over top

Manningham made a dazzling catch that sparked the Giants on their winning drive. It was similar in effect to David Tyree’s catch from four years earlier.

Giants notebook

Ahmad Bradshaw is Giants’ reluctant hero

When the Giants broke the huddle Eli Manning knew there was something he had neglected to say. The quarterback knew he should have talked to Ahmad Bradshaw . So he started yelling.

Four years later, another huge letdown for fans

The crushing loss of last night’s Super Bowl left New England Patriots fans sulking out of sports bars across the region, in despair after the long-awaited game they hoped would rectify their loss to the New York Giants in the big game four years ago. When the Giants took the lead, fans from the Fenway to Foxborough pulled their hair, gasped, and shouted in a collective howl of rooter’s anguish, capping a see-saw of emotions that tugged at them throughout the close game.

The defensive breakdown that led to Mario Manningham key catch in the fourth quarter last night was one of the plays that doomed the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.

Tony Massarotti

Better balance must be Patriots’ priority

Their prolific offense allows them to beat up on the Bills and Broncos of the NFL. But for the Patriots to win the Super Bowl, they need more talent on both sides of the field.

Sterling Moore batted the ball away from Mario Manningham, but the Giants receiver made the key catch on the game-winning drive.

On football

Patriots’ offense, not defense, was the problem

The much-maligned defense had a winning performance. The offense did not, and that’s why the Patriots lost this Super Bowl.

Tom Brady can’t save Patriots this time

Stymied by the Giants again, Brady, after five appearances in the Super Bowl, is less than two minutes from a record five rings.

Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Eli Manning proves he’s ‘elite’

Laughed at last year when he said he was on Tom Brady’s level, Manning defeated the Patriots quarterback for the second time in the Super Bowl.

Patriots notebook

Patriots’ deferral paid off in Super Bowl

The Patriots have elected to defer when they win the coin toss, dating to a couple of seasons ago.

More from Super Bowl XLVI

INTERACTIVE GRAPHIC

Patriots’ march to the Super Bowl

How did Tom Brady, et al., make their way to Indianapolis? Trace their ups and downs throughout the season.