Friday, September 7, 2007

Colts Send Saints Marching

Finally, the NFL season kicked off last night as the New Orleans Saints took on the Super Bowl XLI champion Colts in Indianapolis. The Colts unveiled their first ever Super Bowl banner just before kickoff in a game which supposed to produce lots of points - and it did, but the end result may have been a little unexpected.

The game started inauspiciously as the Colts had a three-and-out to begin. The Saints then took control of the ball for nearly half of the quarter before kicker Olindo Mare missed a 52 yard field-goal attempt. The Colts then took full advantage of the resultant good field position As Peyton Manning capped an eight play drive with a 27 yard pass to Marvin Harrison for the first points of the 2007 season. The Saints had a three-and-out of their own to end the quarter.

The second quarter began with the Colts once again driving the ball. The had already crossed into Saints territory when Manning made a short toss to wide receiver Reggie Wayne. Wayne caught the ball, but then was stripped of the ball by Jason David. David recovered the ball for the Saints and took it to the house to tie the game 7-7. The Saints would later take the lead on a 34 yard field-goal just past the midway point of the quarter. Manning would drive the Colts into the red zone late in the quarter, but they would have to settle for an Adam Vinatieri 33 yard field-goal to make the game a 10-10 tie at halftime.

In the second half, the champion Colts completely took over the game as Wayne quickly made amends for his costly turnover. The Saints went three-and-out on their first drive. The Colts would take just four minutes to go 72 yards, capping the eight play drive on a Joseph Addai two yard run to make it 17-10. The Colts would score on their next three drives as well. Manning would hit Wayne on a 29 yard pass with 6:11 to go in the quarter to make it a 14 point Colt margin. After a Brees interception, the Colts would drive the ball again, with Manning hitting Wayne on a 31 yard pass to end the third quarter.

The Colts drive stalled in the Saints red zone early in the fouth quarter, and they had to settle for a 33 yard Vinatieri field goal. Another three-and-out followed for the Saints. The Manning-Wayne combination would hook up again on a 46 yard scoring pass with 10:05 to play. With that, the game was now a 34-10 rout! The Saints turned the ball over their next two possessions; the Colts scoring the final points of the game on a Matt Giordano 83 yard interception return of a Brees pass. The end result was a thoroughly convincing 41-10 Colts win. They were amazing as usual on offense, and extremely impressive on defense. For a much maligned defensive unit to hold one of the NFL's most high-powered offenses to only a field goal was truly a huge feat, and it tells me that these Colts may have more than just another Super Bowl crown on their minds... Anyone who saw them start last year 9-0 knows what I'm talking about!


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