New Orleans Saints Win Their First Super Bowl
What went right for the New Orleans Saints in their first-ever Super Bowl appearance, beating the Colts 31-17, is pretty easy to analyze: Everything.
Quarterback Drew Brees, the game's MVP, tied Tom Brady's Super Bowl record with 32 completions, the team spread the ball around as always — eight different receivers caught passes, the team had no turnovers and big gambles, including going for it on fourth down and calling for and recovering an onside kick to open the second half, paid off.
Even when something didn't go right, with the Colts defense leading a goal line stand late in the second quarter after coach Sean Payton elected to go for a touchdown rather than kick a field goal, the Saints were able to force the Colts into a quick punt and get a field goal anyway to cut the Colts' lead to 10-6 before halftime.
The Colts, on the other hand, made two game-turning mistakes. On the onside kick, receiver and special teamer (and Playmate husband) Hank Baskett had a clean shot at recovering the ball, only to have it bounce off his chest with Saints surrounding him.
Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and receiver Reggie Wayne had some miscommunication at an inopportune time late in the fourth quarter. With the Colts moving the ball effectively, as they did most of the game, Wayne didn't break into his route quickly enough, Manning threw the ball too soon and Saints cornerback Tracy Porter read the play perfectly, intercepting the pass and returning it 74 yards for a touchdown.
The big issue for the Colts in the second and third quarters was getting back on the field — the Saints' offense was effective at controlling the clock and erasing a 10-point deficit in that period.
The Colts should've been able to do just that to the Saints — running back Joseph Addai was clearly their best player on the field, running 13 times for 77 yards (5.9 per carry) and also getting 58 receiving yards. The Colts as a team actually ran the ball very well — 5.2 yards per rush — while the Saints averaged less than three yards per carry, a weird stat considering teams that run the ball effectively typically control the clock, but the Saints actually had the ball longer in the game.