Monday, February 8, 2010

Indianapolis Colts Doomed By Four Plays

The New Orleans Saints may have won Super Bowl XLIV 31-17 Sunday in Miami Florida but the game was much closer than the score would indicate. Most NFL games come down to turnovers and execution and this game was no different. I have broken down this Super Bowl game into just four plays. These four plays alone were the doom of the Indianapolis Colts on this day.

In the 2nd Quarter with the Colts up 10-3 they completed a 1st down pass to Joesph Addai for 9 yards, I believe Addai made a first down on the play but it was marked just shy. On 2nd down the Colts lost 3 yards. This set up the first of our crucial plays, a pass down the middle to Pierre Garcon was dropped. Garcon was wide open on a crossing pattern and Peyton Manning hit him right in the hands while at full speed. Garcon had the first down and would have been well into Saints territory. If the Colts go up 13-3 or 17-3 on this drive I believe the Saints are in big trouble.

Late in the 2nd Quarter with the Colts still up 10-3. The Colts have 3rd and 1 with 51 seconds to play in the first half. A first down here and the Colts go into the locker room up 10-3. After the Saints call timeout the Colts handoff to Mike Hart for no gain and the Colts are forced to punt. The Saints get a field goal to end the first half of play with the score 10-6. Mike Hart had a total of 26 carries for 70 yards the ENTIRE season! This was a very conservative and surprising play call by the Colts and it cost them.

Perhaps the biggest play of the game was the onsides kickoff by the New Orleans Saints to start the 3rd quarter with the Colts up 10-6. First I would like to point out the balls it took Sean Payton to plan for and actually call for this kick to start the 2nd half. According to the NFL this marked the first time a team attempted an offside kick before the fourth quarter of a Super Bowl. Even with the balls this play was all about execution or lack there of in this case. Everyone credits Thomas Morstead with a great kick but it actually went to almost the 45 before touched so the Colts should have recovered. The lack of execution was all Hank Baskett who let the ball bounce twice before attempting to dive on it. Not only did he miss the ball he knocked it forward into a pile of awaiting Saints players and also failed to dig the ball out when it was laying right next to Chris Reis. I bet Hank holds on to Kendra Wilkinson better than that.

The Colts still had a chance in the 4th quarter with the Saints up 24-17. The Colts faced a 3rd and 5 from the Saints 31 yard line with 3:29 left to play. Coming out of a time out Manning gets picked off by Tracy Porter who returns it for six. On the play instead of running a slant or a crossing pattern which is almost unstoppable with Peyton's accuracy the Colts had Reggie Wayne basically run a 5 yard stop. Wayne who did not have one of his better games was slow to the ball and made no effort to wall off Porter. I am still not sure if Wayne was supposed to settle or drift over on that play, either way it was the final dagger through the Colts heart.

For those of you that have chosen to label Peyton Manning a choke artist you have no idea what you are talking about. Peyton is 9-9 in the playoffs and has won a Super Bowl. You must be the same people that believe Dan Marino is not a top QB because he never won a Super Bowl. In closing I would also like to point out that Peyton is know for calling about 90% of their plays. Two of the worst plays in the game for the Colts happened after timeouts when out of character they ran the ball with Mike Hart and the short stationary pass to Wayne. Did Peyton call those plays, we may never know.

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