Super Bowl Recap: Saints Win 31-17, Key Play Decided Game
Let me start off by saying that my prediction of the game was completely wrong. I thought the Colts would win, and thought they would put some points up against a Saints defense that was driven all over the field 2 weeks ago against the Vikings. But the Saints did a lot of the things I thought would help them win the game on defense, and they also got a big play that sealed it up at the end. But I’m happy for the Saints, even though I look bad, because emotionally, I think everyone outside of Indiana wanted the Saints to win that game.
As for the game itself: It wasn’t the high flying Super Bowl that everybody was hoping for, but the emotional ending was exactly what many people thought might happen.
The New Orleans Saints are now Super Bowl Champions of the world, and the best team in the NFL. They beat the Indianapolis Colts by a score of 31-17 after initialing being down by 10 points to open the second quarter. But a series of miscues by the Colts and lot of great plays from the Saints put the city of New Orleans in a spot it hasn’t been too familiar with since Hurricane Katrina, because for at least the next few days, weeks or months, New Orleans is the best place on earth.
Here are some of my key observations about last night’s Super Bowl:
Saints: I was not at all happy with how the New Orleans Saints decided to open the game. For starters, they didn’t attack Freeney to open the game. Call me old fashion, but when the whole world is talking about some other guy’s injury as if it will determine your team’s fate, then I would like to come out and put all that talk to rest and run him over and see if he’s injured or not. Instead, Freeney went rather untouched during the Saints initial drive, and I think that gave Freeney some confidence, which contributed to his sack. I also didn’t like the fact that the Saints tried to hit the deep ball early, but to their credit, they adjusted quickly.
Colts: The Colts were obviously very impressive with their initial drive, scoring a field goal and getting inside the 20. They made good safe throws and allowed the receivers to make plays, and they also opened up the running game. Their second drive was just as impressive, scoring a touchdown to give them a 10-point lead.
Because Freeney wasn’t attacked early on, I think he had a very productive first half, especially with the sack, but he also had a few other pressures. The adrenaline left him in the second half, when he didn’t contribute much, but his impact was felt early on in the game, and they clearly could have used him in the 2nd half.
Joseph Addai’s Big Play
When Joseph Addai had that 26-yard play in the 1st quarter, I thought that was going to be a big momentum changer. Addai juked the heck out of Darren Sharper, en route to the Colts scoring. At that point, it looked as if the Saints defense was overmatched and that the Super Bowl was headed for an ugly finish.
Saints Go For It on the Goal Line
I did not agree with the Saints decision to go for it when they were down 10-3 inside the 5-yard line. They had just been stuffed on a run play and clearly weren’t going to score on the ground. So even if I did agree with them going for it, there’s no way I would have called another consecutive run, as they did, on 4th down. It ended up not costing them, because they got the field goal right before the half ended after the Colts inexplicably ran the ball 3 straight times.
Saints Recover Onside Kick
This was a really big momentum shifter, and it could have truly backfired. I actually don’t have a problem with this decision, and I usually don’t when it involves the element of surprise. Sure, it was quite risky, but if you have faith in your defense that just posted two 3-and-outs against Peyton Manning, then why not? The Saints went on to score on this drive and took the lead in the game.
Colts Decision to Go and Not to Go
On a drive near the beginning of the 4th quarter, the Colts decided to go for it on 4th and 2, despite being up 17-16. I guess they had figured that they couldn’t stop the Saints, which turned out to be true. They converted the 4th down, and preceded to have another on 34-yard line. This time, however, they decided to kick a 51-yard field goal. Now that makes no sense to me. If you were willing to go for it once on a drive, you should be willing to go for it again, especially in a situation when you’re kicking a 51-yarder that is anything but a guarantee with Matt Stover’s relatively weak leg. The Colts should have gone for it again. I know hindsight is 20/20, but I think most people would agree that their odds of getting a 1st down were better than the odds of Stover making that field goal.
Game Sealing Interception
Here was your game-winner. Tracy Porter’s 74-yard interception return was about as big a play as you had last night, and not just because of the outcome. The Saints blitzed on that play, resulting in a quick throw from Manning. That quick throw could have been one of two things, a quick pass to the outside, or a deep pass on a slight double-move route. Had the Colts went with the latter, they might be Super Bowl champs right now. But because Manning had the quick throw on, Saints corner Tracy Porter’s guess paid off, and he got the interception. Of course, it was more than just a guess, as he saw something he had spotted on film. But his shoulders were so square, that he was completely susceptible to a deep pass, and had it been on, Reggie Wayne would have been wide open for the score that might have won the Colts the Super Bowl.
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