The NFL is such a conservative game from the standpoint of coaches play calling. Tonight in the biggest game, on the grandest stage, Sean Payton rolled the dice all night long and hit the jackpot. Going for it on 4th and goal, onside kick to start the 2nd half and Greg Williams coming after Peyton Manning not too often, but at the right moment in the game.
It looked like the Colts would run away with the game in the first quarter, jumping out to a 10-0 lead. Joseph Addai ran with authority and that gave the Colts great balance, as they kept the Saints off of balance. But as the 2nd quarter began the Saints decided to put the game in Drew Brees hands. After the Colts defense came out and went against what they normally do coverage wise, the Saints looked confused. Instead of playing their usual cover 2 deep zone, they lived in man to man coverage through almost all of the first quarter. Once Drew Brees and Sean Payton figured it out, they began to run more man routes, taking what the Colts gave. After the Saints started having success against man, the Colts settled back into their zone coverages and the Saints went back to their zone routes. Not many QB’s in the league could step up on the biggest stage and carry his the team on his shoulders to victory, Drew Brees did that tonight.
Greg Williams and the Saints defense have to be proud of their performance tonight as well. To hold Peyton Manning and that Colts offense to 17 points, more importantly Williams played cat and mouse all night, never giving Manning a steady dose of any one coverage or look, then at the most critical time in the game, he brought a blitz that force Peyton into one option and one option only, and Tracy Porter intercepted it and sealed the win with a 74 yd touchdown return. They kept the Colts from making the big play and bent but didn’t break, keeping the game close until they could create the one turnover of the game that was the difference.
How the Saints won:
- In the second quarter the Saints began to stretch the field putting pressure on the Colts going to 3 and sometimes even, 4 WR sets.
- Although the 4th and goal didn’t work out, a message was sent by Sean Payton to his team that they going to do everything necessary to win, no play, gimmick or trick was out of the question and that they were going to stay aggressive.
- The onside kick after halftime gave the Saints 2nd half momentum.
- Drew Brees went on a completion tear of 10 in a row after the onside kick recovery.
- The 74 yd int return, by Tracy Porter in the 4th quarter with 3:15 left.
I am always of the belief that aggression defense and offensive play is always rewarded in football. The Saints were not afraid to bring pressure at Peyton Manning, they weren’t afraid to take chances throughout the game and are rewarded with the Lombardi trophy, congrats to the City of New Orleans and the N.O. Saints, Super bowl XLIV Champions.