Nobody, that's who! What a game! New Orleans' Mardi Gras will last until next season. And man, it could not have happened to a better guy that Drew Brees. And their fans deserve it, after all they've been through and after all that happened after Hurricane Katrina, congratulation to the Saints and their fan. Great comeback and what a job by the defense to hold Peyton Manning and the Colts to only 7 points after the first quarter.
The first quarter was all Colts. Saints get the ball, then a three and out. Manning than marches the Colts about 50 yards for Matt Stover to kick the field goal. Then, the Saints drive it to about midfield when Marques Colston drops a pass and they punt it to the 4 yard line. Masterful drive by Manning, as Joseph Addai came up with some crucial runs until Manning hit Pierre Garcon for the touchdown. The Saints were in trouble.
Then, the Saints offense did what no other defense did this year for the whole second quarter. They held the Colts to no points in the second quarter. That perhaps, just knocked the Colts offense out of their rhythm. They got the defense tired. They added a field goal. Then, their defense forced the Colts into a three and out but maybe the most crucial play of that drive (and maybe the game), was Pierre Garcon's dropped pass. Had he caught that, he's got a whole field ahead of him. The Colts offense give some rest to a tired defense. They might end the game right there with a touchdown because I don't think that the Saints will come back from an 18 point deficit. But since he dropped it, the Saints offense that was starting to get into a rhythm got the ball right back. They march all the way to the one yard line and then rush it twice, once on third down and then again on fourth down. They fail. Instead of kicking the field goal, Coach Sean Payton goes all or nothing and they get nothing. But that would turn out to be a blessing in disguise. If you get the touchdown, the Colts would still have about a minute left to answer back with some decent field position. It would be a tied game but maybe a 17-10 game by halftime with the Colts getting the ball back. If you kicked the field goal, you'd be down four points and maybe eleven by halftime. But since the Saints failed, the Colts were stuck at the one. The Colts by then weren't trying to score. They were trying to run out the clock but failed. They punt, give Drew Brees the ball back with great field position and some time on the clock. Garret Hartley nails it (boy, was he impressive) as the half ends and it's only a 10-6 Colts lead.
Then it was the Halftime show. Did you like it? It was OK, I guess. Not much for me to say on that topic.
Third quarter, and Sean Payton decides to surprise the Colts a bit. The thought of the Peyton Manning driving the ball down field and wasting time and putting six on the board, making it a two possession game probably forced him to at least try an onside kick. Great job of selling the kick by their kickoff specialist, Thomas Morstead, of really selling the kickoff as you can see the top row of Colts blockers turn their feet if just ever so slightly, and not having time to recover when he realizes on what was going on. Saints ball, and they march it down field when Drew Brees hit Pierre Thomas with a screen and make it a 13-10 Saints game. The Colts answer it right back with a long drive with Addai, who had a strong game, running in for the touchdown, making it a 17-13 game. The Saints get some points back with another driller by Hartley, and just a point separated the teams.
Colts get the ball back and head into the fourth quarter with the ball back, with the Colts going for it on fourth down. It looked like they were in control once again, then on third down, Manning goes all or nothing, trying to throw a home run ball to Austin Collie, who had to swat the ball away to avoid the pass from being intercepted. Matt Stover than attempts a 51 yard field goal, which went wide left and just literally gave new life to the Saints, even though they were just a point down. They march it down the field, and I swear, I can't remember one time in that drive where they faced third down. In the red zone now, when Drew Brees strikes Jeremy Shockley for two yards and the Saints decide to make it a one score game and that was the game winner right there. Quick throw by Brees to the right side to Lance Moore, and when you first looked at the play, you can't tell. There was no way of knowing if he caught it without instant replay. Boy, I sometimes wish that soccer would use replays for questionable calls, just look at how much it helps the NFL and other major sports. It was pretty clear, after looking at it once, that he caught the ball before the defender kicked it out of his hands. Manning gets the ball back and drives it all the way to the Saints 30 when he throws the interception to Tracy Porter, the same guy that picked off Brett Favre in the last seconds of regulation in the NFC Championship Game. Porter returns it back to the promise land, clinching Superbowl 44 for the city of New Orleans, and for the Saints. Manning had one last desperation drive, throwing an incomplete pass that was dropped by Reggie Wayne on fourth down, making the Saints winners for the first time ever.
Notes on the game
- I though that the Colts defense played strong the whole first half, led by Dwight Freeney. Than, it appeared that Freeney's ankle stiffened up and he was ineffective for the rest of the game. So was, it looked like, the Colts defense, who weren't able to stop the Saints again after that.
- Reggie Wayne looked hurt. It looked like he didn't try to get the ball that Manning threw that was intercepted by Porter. You can see that he really wasn't running hard trying to stop Porter from scoring. He had a few drops, and not a lot of passes were thrown his way. On that fourth down attempt, with the Colts still with the lead, the quick slant thrown to Wayne, he bobbled before he caught it again. And the desperation drive by Manning, on fourth down, was dropped. He could have caught that. That was not that hard to catch. I wonder if that knee injury bothered him.
- Both defensive lines didn't do a hot job in pressuring the quarterbacks. Both Manning and Brees had all day to throw. The coverage unit of the Saints, though, did a good job of not letting the receivers get open while the Colts secondary got ripped apart by Brees.
- The running backs, all of them had solid games. Nice job by Thomas, Reggie Bush and Addai on their running and receiving games. They did a nice job of blocking, too.
- Not really a note but, what was your favorite Superbowl commercial? My favorite was this one. The Hyundai commercial, involving Brett Favre winning the MVP award in 2020. THAT is a scary thought. Imagine if he still plays 10 years from now. The trophy was pretty cool, with holograms of Favre floating above it.