The New Orleans Saints are the best football team in the world. Wait, what? The New Orleans Saints? The same Saints that had to play home games away from the Superdome or had won just 2 playoff games before this season? Indeed, the dream has become a reality. Falling behind 10-0 after the first quarter on a Matt Stover kick and a Peyton Manning touchdown to Pierre Garçon, the Saints drove the ball down to the Colts’ two-yard line before being stuffed on 4 and goal. The Saints subsequently forced a punt and drove into field goal range where a terrific Garret Hartley nailed a 46-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 10-3.
The Saints took possession and drove down to have Garret Hartley hit a field goal from 44 yards out. 10-6 Colts at halftime with the Colts getting the ball first in the second half. Advantage Colts, or at least most fans thought it was, until the gutsiest play call in Super Bowl history. Sean Payton started the second half with a successful onside kick, giving the Saints great field position. Later on the drive, Saints quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees dumped a screen to running back Pierre Thomas. Thomas shook a tackler at the 11-yard line, and then made a dazzling cut near the 5 to shake three Colts defenders to score and give the Saints the lead, 13-10. The Colts came right back with a 76 yard touchdown drive to reclaim the lead, 17-13, on a four yard run by running back Joseph Addai that included an immobilizing spin move.
The Saints took the next possession and got into Hartley’s field goal range, where he hit from 47 yards out, making him 3 for 3 on the day. The final attempt at scoring for Indy came late in the third period, on a missed field goal attempt by Stover. The Saints retook the lead at 24-17 on a two-yard touchdown catch by tight end Jeremy Shockey from Brees and a two-point conversion that needed a challenge to decide. On the play, receiver Lance Moore caught the ball and reached it over the plane of the goal line before having it kicked out of his hand. It was originally ruled incomplete, but on a Challenge by Saints’ coach Shaun Payton, it was revealed that Moore had possession of the football while he broke the plane of the goal line, therefore making the conversion count.
On the next drive, the defining play of the game occurred. On a third down, Manning was looking for a quick slant when Saints’ cornerback Tracy Porter, who provided the heroics against Minnesota two weeks prior, jumped the route and found himself in the open field, taking an interception 74 yards for a touchdown!