INDIANAPOLIS -- What would the Super Bowl be without some salsa?
After failing to score in the Giants' first three postseason games, Victor Cruz finally provided Giants fans the dance moment they had all been waiting for in the first quarter of the team's 21-17 win over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI Sunday night.
Cruz finished with only four catches for 25 yards because the Patriots had so much respect for him that they double-covered him all game long. That attention opened it up some for Hakeem Nicks, who led the Giants with 10 receptions for 109 yards, and Mario Manningham, who added five catches for 73 yards, including a big 38-yarder on the Giants' game-winning drive.
Cruz's big moment came on the Giants' second drive of the game. On second-and-goal from the 2-yard line, he bolted past Patriots safety James Ihedigbo and into the end zone before turning and catching a perfect pass from Eli Manning.
Cruz made the catch on top of the word "Patriots.'' He spiked the ball on the "P,'' turned to the screaming crowd and broke into his salsa dance.
The touchdown was a memorable moment for Cruz on a couple of levels.
First, it helped people forget about what could have been a costly gaffe two plays earlier. After catching a 4-yard pass, Cruz was stripped by Sterling Moore and the fumble was recovered by Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes. The Giants, however, got a huge break. The Patriots were penalized for having 12 men on the field, and it gave the Giants the ball and a first down at the Pats' 6. Two plays later, Cruz scored.
The play also helped complete Cruz's storybook season. In the course of the last four months, Cruz has gone from a player happy just to make the Giants' 53-man roster to one of the most explosive and popular receivers in the game.
Cruz clearly enjoyed himself all week. He even admitted more than once that he had dreamed of what it would be like to score in the big game.
"I think everyone when they are growing up dreams of playing in a Super Bowl and scoring a touchdown," Cruz had said. "This whole year has been an incredible dream for me."