Posted by Barrie on Monday, 8 February 2010

Congratulations to the City of New Orleans

The New Orleans Saints done their city, state and country proud in winning the Superbowl for the first time in their history last night. What's more they overcame a 10 point deficit in a Superbowl and rattled Peyton Manning into mistakes in the final quarter.

Whether it was their destiny, or just their great coaching and teamwork that done it, the New Orleans Saints are deserved Superbowl Champions. Lead by their quarterback and the Superbowl MVP, Drew Brees finished the game with a co-Superbowl record of 32 competitions (from 39 pass attempts) for 288 yards and 2 touchdowns. Dwight Freeney recorded the only sack of the contest but his pressure was few and far between as the Colts line didn't get to Brees as he found receiver after receiver from the second quarter onwards.

Peyton Manning meanwhile started the game brightly as the Indianapolis Colts scored 10 points on their opening two drives. The second being a 96 yard touchdown drive that was captivated by a 19 yard pass from Manning to Pierre Garcon, who had got beyond two of the Saints secondary.

I couldn't pick a winner before the game. My gut was saying the Saints. My head was saying the Colts. I was slightly favouring the Colts. And at 10-0 I was more than favouring the Colts! At this point, Drew Brees hadn't got in any rhythm and his opposite number had. But the Saints finished the half on top, holding the Colts to 15 yards in the second quarter and finishing with two field goals, despite being stopped on a 4th and goal inside the final 2 minutes.

Momentum was solely with New Orleans after they recovered a brave onside kick to start the second half. A succession of completed passes culminated in Drew Brees dumping off to Pierre Thomas, who broke through a couple of would-be tackles on his way to a 16 yard score. But the Colts would follow this up with what they do best. Peyton Manning, who hadn't attempted a pass since halfway through the second quarter and after a 30+ minute interval that saw the Who perform, came out and drove his team down the field as the Colts retook the lead, 17-13.

This was as good as the shootout everyone had been expecting would get. In fact, it was the last time Indianapolis scored as to most people's surprise, the Saints got the better of Peyton Manning in the final quarter of the game. Garrett Hartley narrowed their lead to 17-16 when he connected with his third field goal. Matt Stover would miss wide left from 51 yards on the ensuring drive for the Colts. Then the Saints drove down the short field and ended it with Drew Brees hooking up with Jeremy Shockey from 2 yards, and then to Lance Moore on the 2 point conversion (only successful after Sean Peyton challenged).

The Colts were down 7 with less than 6 minutes remaining. I was expecting Peyton Manning to do his usual thing and tie it up. He hooked up five times with Pierre Garcon and Reggie Wayne as they drove yo the Saints 31 comfortably. But the game winner came when Peyton Manning made a bad choice in attempting to find Reggie Wayne on a hook, only to be jumped by Tracy Porter who returned the ball 74 yards for a 31-17 lead that the Colts would not come back from.

The Indianapolis Colts only had 3 players of 20+ yards, one of which was a surprising 26 yard run from Joseph Addai. They played a very casual game on offence and I think they would have had some success if they had attacked the Saints deep more often. Prior to the interception, Manning was having a fine game, despite the Saints blitzes getting to him as he released the ball.

The Colts defence, whether tired or just lacking quality against the leagues number one offence could not get to Drew Brees, did little in the way of preventing his receivers making the grabs and did not force a turnover all game.

We have a 3rd series of the Brett Favre's retirement saga is set to start shortly. We also have the NFL draft to look forward too before another exciting season of gridiron action. I guess I should leave you with one final betting slip as it is becoming a regular in my NFL section! Here's to another great season of the NFL:


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