The Saints have done it! The Saints have done it! They are the Super Bowl Champs!
Let it sink in Who Dat nation, the Saints are WORLD CHAMPIONS!
It may have taken 43 years to accomplish the feat and the Saints may have once been the worst team in the league but from here on out they can never be called the Aint’s again and fans will surely never wear paper bags again.
No one can ever argue that the Saints were not a team of destiny and if anyone picked against them they had to be crazy as it just seemed to come together for them all season long.
The Super Bowl was no different.
Rallying from a 10-point deficit the Saints dominated the fourth quarter, in typical fashion, and pulled out a 31-17 victory over the Colts Sunday night in Super Bowl XLIV.
Brees set a new record for the most passes completed in a Super Bowl game with 32 en route to throwing for 288 yards and two touchdowns, he was also named the MVP.
Young kicker Garrett Hartley was also pivotal to the Saints win booting three field goals of 40+ yards (46, 44, 47) which is a new Super Bowl record.
It seemed fitting that Hartley would find success in the play-offs after a tumultuous year where he battled through a tough off season, followed by a four game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
If that wasn’t enough former Saints kicker John Carney was brought back to take Hartley’s place, Carney was then awarded the starting job for most of the season but was alleviated from his duties when he started to experience issues with missed field goals and extra points.
As big a part of the win as Drew Brees and Garrett Hartley where what really turned the tide in the game were plays made on special teams and defense.
Head coach Sean Payton pulled out all the stops and after being stopped for no points on a fourth and goal before half time to remain down by four at 6 -10 he knew he could not given Peyton Manning back the ball.
Payton would then make one of the brashest play calls in Super Bowl history to start the third quarter when he called for the surprise on side kick resulting in a Saints recovery.
His call was the first time an on side kick had ever been used to start the third quarter in a Super Bowl game and obviously the recovery was the first ever successful in the third quarter as well.
Brees would take full advantage of the possession and pilot the Saints on a six play 58 yard drive that was capped by 16 yard touchdown pass on a screen play to Pierre Thomas that gave New Orleans it’s first lead of the game at 13-10.
The onside gamble definitely paid off.
Indianapolis would re-capture the lead on their very next possesion traveling 76 yards in seven plays before Colts runningback Joseph Addai pinballed his way into the endzone for the go ahead score and four pint lead at 13-17.
That however would be the last time Indy would score in the game.
Hartley closed out the the third quarter scoring when he kicked his last and longest field goal of the day to bring the Saints within one point of the Colts at 16-17, subsequently Indy would drive down the feld consuming nearly five minutes off the clock before kicker Matt Stover lined up for a 51 yard field goal that he botched a little too short and to the left.
Now down by seven after Shockey’s touchdown and a made-good-by-review two-point conversion, Manning drove to the Saints’ 31. On a third down, he looked for Reggie Wayne on a slant.
Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams sent a six-man blitz that was enough to make Manning rush his throw. Porter jumped the route and it took it 74 yards for the defensive touchdown with 3:12 remaining in the game.
It seemed unlikely that Manning could rally his team from a 14 point deficit with a little over three minutes reamaining but in the NFL stranger things have happened but even the “great” Peyton Manning couldn’t pull this off.
Manning would lead his team down field and into scoring range consuming most all of the clock but the Saints were able to make the red zone stand and keep them out of the endzone, New Orleans would take over with :44 seconds remaining needing only to take a knee to seal the game and their first ever Super Bowl Championship.
A great end to a great game for a franchise who was long overdue. Head Coach Sean Payton, quarterback Drew Brees have done the impossible by bringing back a struggling franchise from the brink of self destruction to the NFL’s elite. The City of New Orleans, the Saints and it’s fans are forever changed, is it too soon to talk about a repeat?
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