For all the hype about offense vs. offense it was an opportunistic defense that delivered in the clutch and made the New Orleans Saints Super Bowl Champions.
Saints CB Tracy Porter intercepted Peyton Manning and returned it 74 yards for a score with 3:12 to go dashing the comeback hopes of Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts giving the Saints the win, 31-17.
Manning led the Colts back to the Saints redzone, but a fourth down pass to Reggie Wayne fell incomplete and the victory celebration was in full tilt.
After falling down by 10 points, the resilient Saints, led by Drew Brees' ultra-accurate passing, took a lead with 5:41 left in the game. Brees hit Jeremy Shockey for the go ahead score and Saints Head Coach Sean Payton called for the two point play. Initially ruled unsuccessful, the Saints challenged and the review showed that Lance Moore had crossed the goalline with possession, giving the Saints the 24-17 edge.
Brees, named the game's MVP, was a blistering 32-39 for 288 yards and two touchdowns. Brees tied Tom Brady for the most completions in the championship game.
The Colts drew first blood dominating the first quarter in yards and points as they scored on their opening possessions. The second quarter belonged to the Saints as they converted two scoring opportunities with field goals and were stopped at the 1 on a fourth down in the second quarter. For the game, Saints Kicker Garrett Hartley hit on 3 40+ yard field goal tries setting a Super Bowl record.
Forced to kickoff to the Colts beginning the third quarter, the Saints attempted – and recovered – an onside kick quickly converting the possesion into points as Brees hit Pierre Thomas for 16 yard touchdown giving the Saints the 13-10 edge. The Colts answered on the next drive with a mix of pass and run capped off by a four yard touchdown dive from Joseph Addai.
The game was billed as a battle of two quarterbacks and while both delivered, Manning was forced into hurried throws and hit all day by Greg Williams' (Saint's Defensive Coordinator) defensive design. Manning finished the game 31-45 for 333 yards and one touchdown . Manning also accounted for the game's only turnover.
(Photo courtesy of www.nola.com)