SUPER BOWL REPORT CARD, Saints v. Colts

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    SUPER BOWL REPORT CARD, Saints v. Colts

         To all you atheists out there, there is a God! Thank you, New Orleans Saints, for shutting down Manningtheism, being practiced religiously by the national media. The Saints 31-17 upset win was a great game, played between the two best teams in the league this season. In the end, the seemingly better all around team won, aided by the games' lone turnover. Here are my grades, from an Indianapolis Colts' point of view:

          A.) OFFENSE:
    After dominating the first quarter, the Indy "O" could muster only 7 points during the remainder of the game.  

    1.) QB: The Saints' defensive game plan was to take away the big play, and make someone other that Reggie Wayne beat them. They were highly successful in both areas, forcing Peyton Manning to do more dinking and dunking than he probably would have liked. Though Manning finished a very respectable 31/45 for 333 yards, the Colts offense was reduced from explosive, to workmanlike. Peyton threw only 4 bad passes throughout the game...one badly under-thrown ball in the 3rd quarter to Reggie Wayne, who seemingly had his man beaten deep...one poorly thrown ball over the middle to Austin Collie in the 3rd stanza, that easily could have been intercepted...one poor throw to Pierre Garcon on a slant in the 1st quarter, which ended a drive...and, of course, the awful interception which was returned 74 yards by Saints' CB Tracy Porter, which effectively cost the Colts the game. In close games against good teams, sometimes it only takes one mistake to spoil an otherwise good performance. Unfortunately, this game did nothing to erase the perception of Manning failing in big games: 
    GRADE: C+;

    2.) RBs: Joseph Addai was Indy's best weapon on offense. He ran for 77 yards on just 13 carries, including a nifty 26 yard run, and chipped in with 7 pass receptions for 58 yards. Rookie Donald Brown added 18 yards on 4 carries, and had an 11 yard reception. Perhaps the Colts would have been better served had they made more use of Addai and Brown:
    GRADE: B+;

    3.) OL: The Clydesdales up front seemed in general to more than adequately protect Peyton, and opened some good running lanes on various trap plays. This unit allowed the skilled players to have their chances:
    GRADE: B;

    4.) TE & WRs:
    Dallas Clark turned in his typical solid game with 7 catches for 86 yards. But, Reggie Wayne was held to an insignificant 5 receptions for 46 yards. Wayne also dropped what might have been a TD pass on the Colts final, last gasp drive, on a 4th and 5. Pierre Garcon marred an otherwise good performance with a horrible drop in the second quarter, which short circuited a good looking Indy drive. Austin Collie has his moments...including an over the shoulder 40 yard catch on Indy's final drive:
    GRADE: B-;

          B.) DEFENSE:
    After a solid first quarter, this unit was gradually worn down by Drew Brees and his host of weapons. After a strong start, DE Dwight Freeney was clearly bothered by his bum ankle. He gradually deteriorated, as did the Indy defense.

    1.) DL: Dwight Freeney miraculously appeared to be at or near 100% at the start of the game. Unfortunately for the Colts, he gradually deteriorated as the game wore on. DE Robert Mathis was unable to step up in Freeney's stead, and was virtually a non factor. The interior of the Indy DL were unable to collapse the pocket on Drew Brees, and had some problems containing Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush on off-tackle runs. 
    GRADE: C 

    2.) LBs:
    Gary Brackett was a one man gang on defense, with 13 tackles, including 12 solos. But Brackett and the other Indy LBs had trouble staying with Saints' RBs Thomas and Bush on swing passes. Together, the RB duo combined for 10 catches for 93 yards. They also had problems defending TE Jeremy Shockey. There was also some uncharacteristic poor tackling by this usually solid group:
    GRADE: C;

    3.) SECONDARY:
    The Indy coverage scheme was designed to take away the big play. In this area, they were successful. But, this crew seemed to be overmatched by the athleticism and physicality of the New Orleans' receivers. A spot 10-12 yards in the middle of the field seemed open on every pass play, and allowed the Saints to sustain effective, time consuming drives. As was the case with the LBs, some uncharacteristic poor tackling hurt the team. Free safety Antoine Bethea couldn't hold onto a rare errant Brees throw in the second  quarter, as he dropped what could have been a game changing interception.
    GRADE: C-;

          C.) SPECIAL TEAMS:
    The Colts were caught knapping when the Saints executed a successful onside kick at the start of the second half. It was a momentum changer, and led to the Saints' first TD. Hard to fault PK Matt Stover for missing a 51 yard FG. Kick coverage was decent. Bad decision by kickoff returner Simpson to return a kick 3 yards deep in the end zone, and a holding penalty, placed the Indy offense in poor starting position on two occasions.
    GRADE: C-;

          D.) COACHING:
    Questionable decision by Jim Caldwell to have the accurate, but distance challenged Matt Stover attempt a 51 yard FG. When Stover missed, it left the Saints great field position in which to begin their go ahead TD drive. Even though the Colts were facing a 4th and 12, going for the first down, or pooch punting seemed to be better choices. The Indy special teams coach must accept some of the blame when the Colts were caught knapping on the above mentioned onside kick. In the second half, more screens and swing passes should have been called for Joe Addai or Donald Brown, coming out of the backfield. 
    GRADE: C;

          E.) PLAY OF THE GAME: 
    The Tracy Porter 74 yard interception return;

          F.) GAME BALL:
    Drew Brees, who finished with 32 receptions in 39 attempts, for 288 yards, and 2 TDs. Other games balls go to Porter for his aforementioned pick-6, PK Garrett Hartley, who was 3/3 on 44, 46, and 47 yard natural grass FGs, and LB Jonathan Vilma, who seemed to be all over the field.  

         Here are the game stats: http://espn.go.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=300207011.

         Thoughts?
            

           


               
            
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from 81pats12. Show 81pats12's posts

    Re: SUPER BOWL REPORT CARD, Saints v. Colts

    spot on
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from ewhite1065. Show ewhite1065's posts

    Re: SUPER BOWL REPORT CARD, Saints v. Colts

    Good Job Pat. I'd also like to add an A+ to Refs for keeping the Flags in their pockets and Letting the teams decide the game.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from zbellino. Show zbellino's posts

    Re: SUPER BOWL REPORT CARD, Saints v. Colts

    " Perhaps the Colts would have been better served had they made more use of Addai and Brown."

    I was thinking the same thing.

    They forgot the lessons of 2006 when Addai and Rhodes ran them to a Championship. If they had just run the ball in the closing drive I feel they could have tied it up.
     
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  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from Tcal2. Show Tcal2's posts

    Re: SUPER BOWL REPORT CARD, Saints v. Colts

    Under the coaching column.  Running 3 times and going 3 and out at end of 1st half was a priceless blunder.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from TheFantasyBaron. Show TheFantasyBaron's posts

    Re: SUPER BOWL REPORT CARD, Saints v. Colts

    One thing you didn't have mentioned in your analysis was whether or not the game was entertaining. I found it boring. Those were the two best offenses in the league just marching up and down the field. The game-breaking play was obviously the on-side kick. Without that kick the Colts have more offensive possessions and probably win the game. It wasn't like watching the Patriots defense but it was close.

    So its come to this; offense heavily tilted to win championships. Is this now the NBA? Will we start seeing scores of 100-96?

    I'm glad Peyton has cemented his legacy as one of the world's greatest choke artists but this SB really lacked anything I found exciting to watch. Is it impossible to get a holding call on an offensive lineman anymore?

    I'm not impressed with what I saw. If the league doesn't do something to address the rule changes/emphasis they've adopted then I'm going to lose interest in this game. That was probably the most forgettable SB ever or at least right behind Colts/Bears and Stealers/Seahawks.

    The "Golden Age of the SB" is over.
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from GEAUX-TIGRES. Show GEAUX-TIGRES's posts

    Re: SUPER BOWL REPORT CARD, Saints v. Colts

    ONE LESS CRITIC TO HEAR FROM.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from shenanigan. Show shenanigan's posts

    Re: SUPER BOWL REPORT CARD, Saints v. Colts

    I was struck by the fact that I haven't seen a team this year who I would consider good or great at coverage.  I'm sure people will bring up Revis and the Jets top ranked defense but even Brady playing unbrady like threw for 216 yards the first game and 310 the second game vs the Jets.  I think NFL defenses have to adjust to focus on rushing the QB and jumping routes for INT's because putting coverage schemes does not work.  There is no such thing as a coverage sack, somebody is always open.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from TheFantasyBaron. Show TheFantasyBaron's posts

    Re: SUPER BOWL REPORT CARD, Saints v. Colts

    How can you be good or great at coverage?
    The way the rules are you have to be a CB with eyes in the back of his head.
    CB is now the most expensive franchise tag outside of QB; if you can find one named Sampson that can actually play well then he needs to get paid heftily.

    The rules have completely ruined the chance of a great defensive team winning the SB. The 2000 Ravens wouldn't have made the playoffs today the way the rules are.

    I guess if this is the product we're stuck with than so be it although this kills the Pats' formula for winning. It would seem the way to win is to have the number one offense and enough defense to get one three and out a game.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat3. Show TexasPat3's posts

    Re: SUPER BOWL REPORT CARD, Saints v. Colts

         Fantasy:

         The rule changes which you referred to led to the creation of the 2007 Patriots. 

         Don't know if I completely agree with your "no shut-down CB" statement. The Jets' Revis seems to  fit the bill. But, such CBs are few and far between. The name of the game on defense now is kill the QB.


         A great defense like that of the "85 Bears or the "00 Ravens would still dominate. The problem is, with the salary cap, its' hard to keep a defense dominant for long.   

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from shenanigan. Show shenanigan's posts

    Re: SUPER BOWL REPORT CARD, Saints v. Colts

    Tex, I agree those rules are what created the 2007 Pats.... and the Colts, and the Cardinals and the Saints.  Since 2004 the best way to win is to put the ball in the QB's hand, it is the easiest way to exploit a defense.  I just can't see a dominating defense coming in to the playoffs and keeping teams to less than 15 points to win a SB.  Nowaday the best defense may be a good offense.
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat3. Show TexasPat3's posts

    Re: SUPER BOWL REPORT CARD, Saints v. Colts

         Shen...the 2000 Ravens and 1985 Bears were able to get lots of pressure on opposing passers. Those type of defenses would be just as successfull today.  
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from Evil2010. Show Evil2010's posts

    Re: SUPER BOWL REPORT CARD, Saints v. Colts

    I think the Colts 1st quarter domination was due as much to Brees/Saints big game jitters than anything else. As soon as they settled down we got the all Saints second quarter. Even though they only score 6 points it still felt like they were in control.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from TheFantasyBaron. Show TheFantasyBaron's posts

    Re: SUPER BOWL REPORT CARD, Saints v. Colts

    Tex,

    I'll have to go back and look at the tapes of the 2000 Ravens and 85 Bears but I bet there was a lot of contact between the DBs and the receivers; contact that would create a Peyton flag today.

    Those were "tough" teams. They liked to hit people in the mouth. That's good enough for a one and out playoff appearance now.

    This offseason everyone is going to go nuts drafting QBs, receivers, DEs and CBs. The first one to get a bunch of good receivers and a pass rusher wins. No other way of playing football can work. So there will be many more boring efforts like last night.
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from N464Mex-N460A. Show N464Mex-N460A's posts

    Re: SUPER BOWL REPORT CARD, Saints v. Colts

    I thought it was HUGE coaching mistake on fourth and goal one minute left not to call a time out (they had two).
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from markrahobeth. Show markrahobeth's posts

    Re: SUPER BOWL REPORT CARD, Saints v. Colts

    Play of the game= onside kick, turned the entire game.  The interception was the icing on the Saint's cake.
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from SirReal1. Show SirReal1's posts

    Re: SUPER BOWL REPORT CARD, Saints v. Colts

    TexasPat,

    As a Colts fan I agree with most of your assessment with a couple of exceptions.  The O-line was the bright spot on the team.  They didn't let the Saints get to Manning and opened up some good holes for Addai to run through.  I'd bump your B to and A-.

    As for the COlts coaching grade, I'd give them a solid F.  Trying to run out the clock at the end of the first half after stuffing the Saints at the goalline was inexcusable.  They had just under 2 minutes to work with and should have been able to at least get into field goal range.  Unlike Sean Payton, Jim Caldwell was coaching not to lose instead of coaching to win.
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat3. Show TexasPat3's posts

    Re: SUPER BOWL REPORT CARD, Saints v. Colts

         SirReal1: You stated the following:

         "TexasPat,

    As a Colts fan I agree with most of your assessment with a couple of exceptions.  The O-line was the bright spot on the team.  They didn't let the Saints get to Manning and opened up some good holes for Addai to run through.  I'd bump your B to and A-.

    RESPONSE: I struggled with this grade a bit. Though the Saints were able to apply some pressure on Peyton in the 4th quarter, it wasn't enough that it should have had a huge detrimental affect. But, Peyton did appear to develop a little case of happy feet as the game winded down. In addition, don't forget that the OL failed to get enough of a push to pick up a yard on 3rd down in the closing minute of the first half...after the Indy "D" had made that goal-line stand.

    As for the COlts coaching grade, I'd give them a solid F.  Trying to run out the clock at the end of the first half after stuffing the Saints at the goalline was inexcusable.  They had just under 2 minutes to work with and should have been able to at least get into field goal range.  Unlike Sean Payton, Jim Caldwell was coaching not to lose instead of coaching to win.
     
    RESPONSE: Yes...Payton was more aggressive than Peyton and his coach. But, I think you're being too hard on Caldwell. As stated above, Indy only needed a yard on the 3rd down, on the series of which you speak. Their OL, as was the case in 2008 in SD, couldn't get a push to get that yard. Hindsight is always 20/20. Remember, the Saints have been great at forcing turnovers all season. Had Peyton passed instead and thrown a pick, people would be complaining that Caldwell should have played it safe.

         The Freeney injury really hurt the Indy "D". Robert Mathis disappeared. Other than a couple of drops by Wayne and Garcon, respectively, the Manning pick, and getting caught knapping on that onside kick, I didn't think that the Colts played that all that badly. I thought that Caldwell erred in not making greater use of Joe Addai in the second half. 

         Finally, my sympathies on the loss. I know the feeling.
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from AcheNot. Show AcheNot's posts

    Re: SUPER BOWL REPORT CARD, Saints v. Colts

    Garcon's dropped pass in the 2nd qtr didnt just "zhort circuit" that drive for Indy, it changed the momentum in the game. Indy was totally in control at that point and looked like they were headed for another score

    The drop brought to mind KFaulk's mid-field fumble at the end of the 1st half in the Denver playoff game 4 years ago. Pats were up 3-zip at the time and looking solid against the favored Broncos, but the fumble changed everything, and the Pats never recovered

    They still had their shots in that game (Just like Indy did yesterday). Would have taken the lead if not for the Bailey interception

    But it's the fumble (and a few other gaffes), I remember most about that one

    Good job, Tex. Thorough

     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat3. Show TexasPat3's posts

    Re: SUPER BOWL REPORT CARD, Saints v. Colts

         AcheNot, you stated: 

         "Garcon's dropped pass in the 2nd qtr didnt just "zhort circuit" that drive for Indy, it changed the momentum in the game. Indy was totally in control at that point and looked like they were headed for another score."

    RESPONSE: Point taken. 
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat3. Show TexasPat3's posts

    Re: SUPER BOWL REPORT CARD, Saints v. Colts

         Here's an excellent article on the SB from Bob Kravitz of the IndyStar: http://www.indystar.com/article/20100208/SPORTS15/2080358/1100/SPORTS03/
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat3. Show TexasPat3's posts

    Re: SUPER BOWL REPORT CARD, Saints v. Colts

         To All:

         SirReal1, a Colts fan, stated: "TexasPat, as a Colts fan I agree with most of your assessment with a couple of exceptions.  The O-line was the bright spot on the team.  They didn't let the Saints get to Manning and opened up some good holes for Addai to run through.  I'd bump your B to and A-..."

         Yet today its' been reported by Mike Florio that Bill Polian is blaming the Indy OL for losing the SB. Here is Florio's article:


         "Four years ago, after a crushing playoff loss to the Steelers, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning threw his offensive line under the bus without actually throwing them under the bus, attributing the loss to some "problems in protection."

         On Tuesday, Colts president Bill Polian was more direct in assessing the performance of the men charged with keep Peyton in one piece. (Said Polian):

              "The offensive line, by our standards, did not have a good game," Polian said during his weekly radio show, per John Oesher of Examiner.com.  "They were outplayed by the Saints' defensive line, I thought, pretty decisively."

         Polian also blamed the loss on a failure to execute "in a handful of critical situations."  He specifically cited the onside kick to start the second half; he didn't mention the fateful play that triggered a 14-point swing with three minutes and change to play.

         If Polian believes that the 74-yard interception return by Tracy Porter 
    resulted from a failure of execution, then Polian is a member of the "Reggie Wayne ran a bad route" camp.  But with Porter claiming that he was in the right place at the right time due to trends and tendencies he saw while studying film, it was a failure not of execution but of coaching and/or line-of-scrimmage decision-making from Manning.

         Manning, after all, gets a ton of credit when things go well for changing plays at the line of scrimmage via a series of shouts and gesticulations.  So why doesn't Manning get any of the blame for not changing the play when, for example, coach Jim Caldwell calls for a run on third and short deep in their own end in the closing minutes of the second quarter?  Or when resorting in crunch time to a Madden-style crutch play that the team has won many times -- and thus the opponent has reason to think might be coming?

         Then again, the quarterback is the last guy the team president will blame.  The franchise already is in line to give Manning a blank check as part of his next contract; if Polian pisses Peyton off now, a couple of extra zeroes might get added to the final figure.

         Still, it would have been nice to hear Polian take some of the blame for failing to hire a special teams coordinator who'd have his guys ready at all times for a surprise onside kick.

         The bottom line is that Polian and the Colts will  go to any lengths to shield ol' Horseface...who clearly took another horse collar in the SB.



     

     
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