MIAMI -- The New Orleans Saints played a near-perfect game to defeat the favored Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV played in Miami's Sun Garden Sunday night.
They erased a 10-point deficit and surged past the Colts 31-17 to spark an early start to Mardi Gras in the town known as "The Big Easy."
The Saints captured their first Super Bowl championship in the franchise's history. It was the accuracy of Saints quarterback Drew Brees versus the surgery of Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.
But in the end, Peyton's surgery was unsuccessful.
The game started off with the Colts highly favored to win due to "the physician" Peyton Manning and his ability to pick apart a defense. And right out the gate on their first possession, the Colts struck first in the first quarter with a 38-yard field goal by Matt Stover. Then later Joseph Addai rushed for 19 yards, setting the Colts up for a touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon, putting Colts on top 10-0.
Then in the 2nd quarter after a 15-yard penalty against the Colts, Garrett Hartley put the Saints on the score board with a 46-yard field goal. Then again with 5 seconds left in the half, shrinking the Colts lead to 4.
Back from the half in the 3rd quarter, Saints head coach Sean Peyton made a bold move, calling for an onside kick and the Saints recovered the ball.
Six plays later, Brees to threw to Thomas for 16 yards for a touchdown and the Saints first lead of the game.
But of course the Colts were going to come back strong. After a 76-yard drive down the field, Joseph Addai rushed for 4 yards for a touchdown, which put the Colts back on top by 4.
With two minutes left in the 3rd quarter, Brees and his Saints tried to answer back, but settled for a field goal and they are down by one, and it is on to the 4th quarter.
Brees has the ball, and marched the Saints down the field 59 yards. Brees then threw a short pass to Jeremy Shocky, giving them a touchdown.
Instead of going for the extra point, they try a two-point conversion and it was good. Saints led with 24 and the Colts trailed with 17.
With 5:35 left in the game, Manning drove the Colts 44-yards down the field. Then his short pass to Reggie Wayne is intercepted by Saints corner back Tracy Porter who runs it 74 yards for a touchdown.
Manning has 3 minutes to make something happen, but the drive is a no-go and the Saints were Super Bowl champs.
"I certainly know how excited our team was 3 years ago," Manning said after the game. "I'm sorry to our fans that we weren't able to get it done today."
"I've got to give them credit for breaking the plays," said Colts tight end Dallas Clark.
"Wins and losses don't identify who I am," said Colts center Jason Saturday. "You've got to depend on your faith to get through times that you are not expecting."
"God puts you in positions for a reason and at the time you may ask yourself, 'I'm not sure, but I trust you,'" Brees said. "Bringing the mentality back that we are going to come back stronger and its just unbelievable."
"What a blessing this whole year has been, to raise up this trophy in his name," Saints offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb.
"I took about ten years, got on my knees and said, 'Thank you God,'" said Saints safety Ron Harper. "I just looked up to the sky, that's all I could do."
"None of us could see 2 or 3 or 5 years ago you know we couldn't see that," Saints running back Reggie Bush said. "And that's why its so special. It's a blessing to be a part history it's a blessing to be a part of a city that need this."
"Give glory to God," said Saints safety Chris Reis. "I'm just so humble that the Lord would use me. He called me out on that, praise God for that, I give all the glory to Him, I didn't do anything."