Super Bowl: Colts vs. Saints, Manning vs. Brees is historic

The NFC championship Sunday and the Super Bowl berth that goes with it was a long time coming for Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.

The NFC title win over Minnesota Sunday and the Super Bowl berth that goes with it was a long time coming for Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. (AP photo).

This is what you wanted. Indianapolis started the season 14-0, and the Colts still might be undefeated if they didn’t place themselves in a protective bubble in the final two weeks. New Orleans started the season 13-0 and led the NFL this season in offense, points and humiliated defensive coordinators.

This is the way it’s supposed to go. The two best teams, led by the two best quarterbacks, driving two of the best offenses into the Super Bowl.

Only the coaches with a defensive pedigree will have a headache.

“It’s going to be a long week for the two defensive coordinators,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said Sunday night after watching the New Orleans Saints earn their first trip to a Super Bowl with a 31-28 overtime win over Minnesota. “They’ll be burning the midnight oil, trying to figure out how to stop the other quarterback. I don’t envy them. Well, I do envy them, actually. But, you know.”

This is the way things are supposed to work. Karma. Ain’t it great?

Poor Brett Favre. Here he is after a second-quarter fumble, one of his three turnovers in the NFC title game. (AP photo)

Poor Brett Favre. Here he is after a second-quarter fumble, one of his three turnovers and five by Minnesota in the NFC title game.

Some Falcons fans might not be thrilled with the Saints, their long-time rival, finally making it to the Super Bowl. But there is no more fun team to watch play in the NFL than the Saints, and the backdrop of Hurricane Katrina and the physical and financial ruin of one of the world’s most special cities makes it that much sweeter.

Only one thing could have made it better, and we got it: Brett Favre’s self immolation.

Favre orchestrated exits from the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets, all so he could play for the Minnesota Vikings following a protracted Hamlet act that kept the football world waiting. He threw for more than 300 yards Sunday night. But he committed

Peyton Manning will play in his second Super Bowl, this time against his favorite team as a kid, the Saints, whom his father, Archie, played for. (AP photo)

Peyton Manning will play in his second Super Bowl, this time against his favorite team as a kid, the Saints, whom his father, Archie, played for.

three of the Vikings’ five turnovers, including an interception with seven seconds left in regulation that prevented the them from attempting a game-winning field goal.

Then in overtime, Favre watched helplessly as the Saints won a coin flip and drove to a game-winning, 40-yard field goal. There was nothing he could do from the sideline.

Smith: “I noticed that.” (That’s all I could get out of him.)

The Saints vs. any team would make for a special Super Bowl. The fact they will face the Indianapolis Colts comes with some irony. Peyton Manning, the Colts’ quarterback, grew up in New Orleans a Saints fan. His father, Archie, was their quarterback.

The matchup of Manning vs. Drew Brees should, Smith said, “make for a lot of fireworks.” He knows both well. He faced Manning twice a year when he was Jacksonville’s defensive coordinator. He faces Brees twice a year now in the NFC South

Pick a winner?

“No way.”

Break it down?

“Obviously, they’re two great offenses. I think the thing it will come down to is which team protects their quarterback better. Both teams have pretty good pass rushes. But both quarterbacks will be hard to stop.”

Smith saw what happened to the Jets’ defense, and it looked familiar. New York got early pressure on Manning. Even sacked him a couple of times. But then the quarterback starting burning the Jets when they blitzed and picked apart their zone defenses when they didn’t. The Colts were held to two field goals in their first five possessions, then scored three touchdowns and a field goal in the next five. A 17-6 deficit turned into a 30-17 lead.

“It’s risk-reward when you blitz him,” Smith said. “The Jets were coming after him early. But once [the Colts] identified the looks, they had a better idea how to attack him. When they were in a zone, they took the short throws. When they saw pressure, they had one-on-one opportunities.

“I saw some of the same routes and same checks that he’s been doing for 10 years. You notice how many plays he takes down to the last second on the play clock before he snaps the ball? He gets an image of the defense. He wants to take it down to the last second before he decides what the best way to attack is.”

So how do you stop him?

“Sometimes making him go the long way is better,” he said. “When the Jets were winning, they were holding Indy to field goals. Play great red zone defense. Give them the short stuff. Tackle well, and knock the ball out when you can.”

Both defenses will be scrambling in two weeks. But Manning vs. Brees and Colts vs. Saints is the best show we could have hoped for.

101 comments Add your comment

Greg Mendel

January 24th, 2010
11:19 pm

BugKiller

January 24th, 2010
11:31 pm

Just think, Jeff… we escaped all of the Brett Favre is BACK stories…

… but now we must suffer through all of Archie Manning interviews and Payton grew up in NOLA stories.

The one thing I hope comes from all of this is renewed attention for NOLA, which is STILL suffering after Katrina.

I mean… yeah, I gave $10 to Haiti… but there are still people living on the streets in NOLA who used to be home owners.

There are still people in NOLA who live in government-run shelters and government-supplied trailers and who share their homes with vermin.

To all of the idiots out there who actually believes trusting the government to run health care when they can’t run a simple program like cash for clunkers, look towards New Orleans to see what happens when governments intercede in our lives for the worse: at the city level, where that idiot mayor basically condemned all those people to death by refusing state and federal help before Katrina hit land, to the corrupt state house in Baton Rouge which has done basically nothing to fix up New Orleans outside the French Quarter and surrounding areas, and of course, to the federal government, which would rather send money to Haiti than fix the problems at home.

I hate to be preachy, but government is NEVER the solution. It’s the PROBLEM.

Greg Mendel

January 24th, 2010
11:37 pm

I enjoyed the game. I feel for the Saints’ with their miserable history, so even as our longtime rival, I’m happy for them.

Regarding the Vikes, I really haven’t followed the Bret Favre drama, but had respect for him not giving up after being repeatedly demolished during tonight’s game. The man made some mistakes, but he was playing hurt bad, I think. Drama aside, Favre is a legitimate Hall ‘O Fame quarterback. So is Drew Brees.

Of course, Favre was drafted by the Falcons years ago, and traded for some long-forgotten dud after being allowed to play in two games for genius Jerry Glanville, who hated him.

to bugkiller

January 24th, 2010
11:41 pm

the crooked free markets are failing the country

tell it like it is

January 24th, 2010
11:43 pm

Ball on the ground-Ball on the ground -looking like a fool with the ball on the ground.GOOOOOOO Saints.Boy that was hard to say since the Falcons are not going,i’m jelous.

Jeff Schultz

January 24th, 2010
11:52 pm

Greg — I hope not. If first is last, I’m in trouble.

Bluephi1914

January 24th, 2010
11:52 pm

The sound I want to hear on the Saints first possession Superbowl Sunday…..Brees drops back to pass….he’s leveled by Freeney!!!! Oh this is bad; Brees is down…..injury time out…this is bad folks; they have bought out a cart for Brees…..

Bluephi1914

January 24th, 2010
11:53 pm

I second that, mack3!!

Jeff Schultz

January 24th, 2010
11:53 pm

BugKiller — Look at it this way. No matter what two teams play each other in the Super Bowl, we’re always going to be sick of the storylines by the time we get to kickoff. But it’s still better than being sick of the Brett Favre storyline, isn’t it?

mack3

January 24th, 2010
11:54 pm

hate to see the saints go to the bowl but they’re in….i honestly think the falcons played them very well and should’ve beat them on both games this year, i think the saints are happy they didn’t have to face the falcons during the playoffs….atlanta gives them the ‘rival’ fits….can’t wait for atlanta to play them again….anyway i will be rooting for the colts to win the SB can’t stand the thought of NO getting a SB win before the birds!

Jeff Schultz

January 24th, 2010
11:55 pm

Tell it like it is — I love your new lyrics to “Pants on the Ground.” Did you try out for American Idol?

Bluephi1914

January 24th, 2010
11:57 pm

New Orleans loves to bring pressure in assorted blitz packages; if they try this against Peyton, he’ll carve them up like a turkey on Thanksgiving day! What’s your assessment Jeff?

BugKiller

January 24th, 2010
11:58 pm

Jeff… it’s ALWAYS better.

I’m just glad, as horrible as Joe “Legacy” Buck is, that John Madden didn’t call this game.

@ to bugkiller: the free markets aren’t failing, and any attempt by Obamanation to “fix” the market will send us further down the rabbit hole.

In fact, he actually helped to create the problem we’re currently in regarding the mortgage crisis. What with his support of ACORN strong-arming mortgage lenders and guess who Fanny Mae gave the third most money to in Congress over the last four years???

Why is it that no one seems to have learned from Jimmy Carter’s abortion of a Presidency?

AS

January 24th, 2010
11:58 pm

Awww,
Looks like the Favre haters are in full force led by their lead loser Jeff “who’s he” Schultz. Jeff, no one will remember you and your miserable little self, but Favre will live on in NFL glory. At 40, he has achieved what QB’s 10 years younger cannot. So quit hating, it’s not Favre’s fault that you have a third rate job with a fourth rate newsrag.

Lesa

January 24th, 2010
11:59 pm

I was hoping the Saints would win today and it was lovely watching Favre get hit hard all day long and throw that interception with 7 seconds left. I’m a die-hard Falcons fan, but I’m glad our rivals finally made it to a Super Bowl. That said, I hope the Colts beat them. I don’t want the Aints to WIN a Super Bowl before my Falcons do.

B'ssitude

January 24th, 2010
11:59 pm

Watched both games. Despite their loss, I thought the Jets are a team that should hold their heads high. At the same time, despite the win, one could not help coming away with the feeling that the Saints got away with one. http://mybadassitude.com. The colts looked great, like a team about to win the superbowl

BugKiller

January 24th, 2010
11:59 pm

… and just to ensure I’m not labeled by all the small minds out there… me no fan of Bush, either.

Jeff Schultz

January 25th, 2010
12:00 am

Mack3 — Falcons did play the Saints very well, especially given the talent of the Saints’ offense and the lack thereof of the Falcons’ defense. But those games are always crazy, it seems.

Bluephi1914

January 25th, 2010
12:00 am

AS, who in the blue blazes pee’d in your cornflakes this morning? Yeesh!!

BugKiller

January 25th, 2010
12:01 am

And to that… GOODNIGHT!

Jeff Schultz

January 25th, 2010
12:02 am

BluePhi1914 — As much as I love to watch the Saints, I have to go with the Colts on this one. Saints can run the ball better, but it’s tough to go against Manning. Plus, Saints aren’t quite as good when they’re not at home.

Bluephi1914

January 25th, 2010
12:02 am

If the falcons were at full strength for both games against N.O., the saints would not have been on the way to the SB!

Jeff Schultz

January 25th, 2010
12:04 am

BugKiller — Loved it when Joe Buck and Troy Aikman disagreed on that bogus roughing-the-passer penalty against the Saints. If anything, you’d think Aikman (a former QB) would say it was a penalty. But he said it wasn’t. I think I’ll take his viewpoint over Buck’s in this case. (But I actually think Buck is a pretty good announcer.)

Jeff Schultz

January 25th, 2010
12:05 am

B’ssitude — I’m with you. Jets were VERY impressive. Great defense, and Sanchez looks like he’s going to be the real deal.

Bluephi1914

January 25th, 2010
12:05 am

Agreed, Jeff. I had someone earlier mention that the Colts would lose due to the warm weather in Miami…My reply was simply that BOTH are DOME teams! Definitely no advantage there! LOL!!

He was a bit tipsy though…….

Jeff Schultz

January 25th, 2010
12:06 am

AS — Third rate job? Fourth-rate newsrag? Ah well. At least I had three fewer turnovers than Favre today.

Cheers to the Saints

January 25th, 2010
12:06 am

The Saints-Falcons rivalry is a bitter one with much bad blood. However, it’s hard not to enjoy the Saints fans when they come to the Georgia Dome. Super Bowl Sunday- your rivals in Atlanta will root for the Saints. Congrats to the Who Dats!

Jeff Schultz

January 25th, 2010
12:07 am

BluePhi — I think the answer to your question to AS would be: The Saints.

Bluephi1914

January 25th, 2010
12:08 am

Vikes did shoot themselves in the foot with so many turn overs, but I cannot understand how they let that Thomas touchdown stand! He was clearly down before the ball crossed the plane!

I wonder if Roger and company will review this game’s officiating!

Bluephi1914

January 25th, 2010
12:08 am

Sorry Cheers, but THIS FALCON FAN will be rooting for Peyton to have a record setting game and collect his 2nd ring!!!!!

Bluephi1914

January 25th, 2010
12:10 am

LOLOLOL!! @ Jeff!

MARTIN

January 25th, 2010
12:14 am

Who dat finally got the monkey off their back, what a great win for the city of new orleans and the entire gulf coast region. Stop HATIN on them dirty bird fans, guess what we still love you guys. For all of the dirty bird fans that continue to pull for us, we love you. For the ones that hate the saints, well I guess we will see you guys the next time the two teams play. See you guys later, there’s a all night party on bourbon st. This party is going to be bigger then the biggest cocktail party (georgia/florida) , bigger then the texas state fair, texas.oklahoma, bigger then mardi gras.

Jeff Schultz

January 25th, 2010
12:14 am

Start the clock! Again! Brett Favre just said he’s not sure if he’s going to retire or not. And I am not making this up.

Najeh Davenpoop

January 25th, 2010
12:16 am

Both the Colts and the Saints have great passing offenses, good enough running games that feed off the space created by the passing game, and defenses that thrive on rushing the passer and creating turnovers. The Colts have a more proven kicker, a less turnover-prone offense, and are better at playing straight defense (like limiting yards and what not) than the Saints, so I’m picking the Colts to win.

But I’m just happy that the NFL playoffs finally delivered two good games. The playoffs up to this point had been incredibly boring.

mack3

January 25th, 2010
12:17 am

good point Jeff about the prolific saints offense and the suspect Birds defense and still both games were tight….which gives me greater hope about the next time we play the saints in that atlanta’s defense should be stronger/healhier and more experienced

bluephi….i definitely agree if atlanta wins either one of those two games NO probably not headed to SB and certainly would not have had homefield advantage

Najeh Davenpoop

January 25th, 2010
12:17 am

And yeah, Favre is a selfish douche.

Ryder

January 25th, 2010
12:18 am

I’m glad to hear Coach Smith’s assessment of the game, because as long as Atlanta has that high school defense, they won’t be in any of these games anytime soon.

That said, please move the political talk to the Huffington Post. This is a sports blog thank you very much.

I think it will be an amazing Super Bowl that will keep both teams on edge. However I believe that the Colts will be too much for the Saints to handle. Colts 31, Saints 20.

Bluephi1914

January 25th, 2010
12:18 am

@ Jeff….here we go again!!!! He’ll retire because of the bitter taste of this loss, only to comeback with 1 game left in the pre-season!

come on man

January 25th, 2010
12:19 am

That third down pass in overtime was not a completion. The reciever bobbled and let it hit the ground. That and the terrible Minnesota drive to end the game were the keys…. other than the Vikings giving the ball up a half a dozen times.

Jeff Schultz

January 25th, 2010
12:20 am

First line I see from Bodog Sports: Colts by 4, over/under is 56. Says here that Indy covers.

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January 25th, 2010
12:23 am

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Jeff Schiitz

January 25th, 2010
12:25 am

I don’t think you can blame Favre for the Vikings loss tonight. The game I was watching involved several fumbles by AP and Percy. While Brett did throw a pick late in the game, he was really the main reason the game was tied in the fourth. AP got the TDs in the red-zone but Favre got them in the red-zone.

Furthermore, the man is geriatric in NFL years and still led his team to OT in the NFC Championship. Don’t hate him just because you are a sh!tty sportswriter and he’s the greatest QB of all-time.

Reid Adair

January 25th, 2010
12:26 am

If the game had been clean (and by clean I mean not so many blown “reviews” in favor of the Saints), it would have been much better.

The Saints are in for a long game in two weeks. The Colts protect the football, and without the turnovers tonight, New Orleans would have been done.

I am also not in favor of the folks who like to say, “Oh, this is good for them because of Katrina, etc., etc.” There are people still suffering in New Orleans, but what does this do for them? Seriously? The Saints going to the Super Bowl isn’t helping those people re-build their lost homes or replace lost belongings.

BnB

January 25th, 2010
12:29 am

Yeah…Favre cost them the game not the half dozen fumbles.

macfute

January 25th, 2010
12:29 am

The Saints were supposed to have the offense but won with defense and the Super Dome. The Colts might not have won if they had to play in New York. The only constant was Peyton Manning and he should win another Super Bowl.

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JacketJohnny

January 25th, 2010
12:35 am

The Saints (aints) cannot win a SuperBOwl before the Falcons..GO COLTS !!!

Jeff Schiitz

January 25th, 2010
12:36 am

I don’t know how you can say those reviews were blown, Reid. There wasn’t enough video evidence to overturn any of those calls. And I would not have minded seeing the Vikings win. They blew it with all of the lost and nearly lost fumbles.

JSS

January 25th, 2010
12:38 am

Ah here come the Favre bashers, you won’t be satisfied till he is like that famous picture of Y.A. Tittle! It almost happened today by the way, wicked shots that 400 year old man took, and he did keep coming back… Why do you get so upset about Favre waffling, it is what he does… Ask any American wife if they’d expect less? But enough of praising Brett Favre, did Uncle Charlie have that stroke yet? My goodness it would almost be worth it for the Who Dat’s to win just to watch the collective stroke out that the most obnoxious of Falcons fan would if the only other team as pathetic as our Falcons won a Super Bowl first! I wonder what BugKiller thought of the farmer in NY State who killed 51 cows before offing himself this week? Gotta love this blog sometime…