Friday, July 09, 2010

Super Bowl 44: a remembrance

While the sports world is gibbering with glee over its current obsessions, I would like to turn back the clock to the New Orleans Saints winning their first-ever championship. This is done both in anticipation of the 2010 NFL season (preseason games begin in less than a month) and in the belief that the past only lives when it is remembered.

The Saints were 5 1/2 point underdogs. No one believed that they could stop two-time league MVP Peyton Manning. I shared this sentiment, but like most Americans I was rooting for the Saints.

1st Quarter
The Saints started with the ball but couldn't force the run and the passing game was off rhythm. The Colts were clicking right away and put up ten points in two possessions.
Colts 10, Saints 0.

2nd Quarter
The Saints put together a nice little drive, but a Freeney sack forced a FG. The Colts faced 2nd and 1 when LB Vilma nailed RB Addai for a three yard loss. The Colts had to punt, and the Saints responded with another passing drive that ate up time and got them to the one yard line. The smaller Colts defense stuffed the run on 3rd down; Coach Payton went for it and again the Colts stuffed the run.

Starting on their one yard line, the Colts went conservative and punted. With :35 left, the Saints passed into position and kicked another FG.
Colts 10, Saints 6.

3rd Quarter
The Saints shocked the world with an onside kick to start the second half. They were rewarded with a 16-yard screen pass TD a few plays later. The Colts roared back, retaking the lead with precision passing and timely running for a TD. A big kick return put the Saints into position for another FG.
Colts 17, Saints 16.

4th Quarter
The Colts were driving but stalled and missed a long field goal. This gave the Saints great field position again and Brees responded with seven passes to seven different players (no incompletions) and a TD. The Saints went for the two-point conversion and it looked like WR Moore couldn't hang on to the pass. But Coach Payton challenged the call and was narrowly awarded the two points.

The Colts got the ball with over five minutes left. They were driving efficiently when CB Porter jumped a route and took the INT seventy-four yards for a TD.

Down by two touchdowns, the Colts drove again but were stymied at the 5 yard line and the game was over.

Final Score: Colts 17, Saints 31

Drew Brees was named the MVP for his sterling performance (32-39, 288 yards, 2 TDs).

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