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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 18 Comments »
Perhaps you can file this in the “hindsight is always 20-20″ category, but I think it should be mentioned in the immediate aftermath of New Orleans’ Super Bowl win because it was vital to the winning effort. Saints Head Coach Sean Payton was aggressive in his coach style on Sunday and it keyed his team to a championship.
I want to preface this piece by acknowledging the Saints wouldn’t have won without the MVP performance by Drew Brees (32 of 39 for 288 yards and 2 TDs), a great defensive game plan by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams that held Peyton Manning and Co. to just 17 points and of course the 74-yard pick 6 by CB Tracy Porter late in the game.
With all of that being said, I believe it was a series of events late in the 2nd quarter and then right away in the 3rd quarter that keyed the Saints to victory. Here’s what went down…
– The Saints began a series on their own 28 with 8:14 to play in the 2nd quarter. Brees got his team to the Colts 23 after 7 plays and then connected with WR Marques Colston for a 27-yard gain down to the Colts 3. There, Indianapolis’ defense bowed up and forced a 4th and goal situation with 1:55 to play in the half. I’m willing to wager that many coaches would’ve elected to kick a FG in that scenario. But Payton didn’t. He knew that FGs were not going to beat the Colts. So he went for it. But the Colts held and the Saints came away with 0 points.
– The Colts then took over, but they were too conservative in their playcalling and went 3-and-out with all 3 plays being runs. Indianapolis punted the ball and New Orleans wound up with a FG to close the half anyway.
– New Orleans was to kick off to begin the 2nd half, but that’s where it got interesting. Payton called for an onside kick and it paid off. The Saints recovered and Brees came on to drive his team for a TD that resulted in a 13-10 lead.
– Not only did that onside kick and early 3rd-quarter TD give the Saints a lead, but it got their offense in a rhythm. Brees drove his team 58 yards in just 6 plays. Here is a list of the yards gained on those 6 plays: 12, 9, 5, 9, 7, 16 (touchdown). Payton, Brees and the offense got hot thanks to the onside kick. The Saints scored 10 more points on their next 2 possessions and then Porter housed his INT return to finish the scoring.
– The aggressiveness Payton displayed by going for it on 4th and goal in the 2nd quarter didn’t pay off right away, but it sure did a few moments later. If Payton had decided to kick a FG in that situation, who knows if the Saints would’ve also decided to onside kick to start the 3rd quarter.
Ultimately, there are times to be aggressive and times to be conservative. Being aggressive 100% of the time will lead you to failure and being conservative 100% of the time will also lead you to failure. So it’s a head coach’s job to determine when to be aggressive and when to be conservative.
On Sunday against the Colts, Sean Payton did a good job.
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 23 Comments »
Another great NFL season has come to a close as the New Orleans Saints topped the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 in Super Bowl XLIV in South Florida on Sunday evening. The 14-point spread doesn’t tell the story because this year’s Super Bowl was intriguing and dramatic from kickoff to 00:00.
If you can put aside any rooting interests you may have developed over the past 2 weeks, you’ll see that Super Bowl XLIV was indeed all any football fan can ask for in a Super Bowl. It had great play from QBs, big plays and stops by the defenses and even a pivotal play on special teams.
And it was that pivotal play on special teams that served as the turning point in this game. After failing to score a TD late in the 1st half near the goal line, the Saints went into the locker room trailing 10-6 and seemingly stymied by the Colts defensive game plan. But Saints Head Coach Sean Payton called for an onside kick to open the 2nd half and it worked. New Orleans recovered and then Drew Brees and Co. drove the field to score a TD and take a 13-10 lead.
While Brees and Colts QB Peyton Manning put on impressive passing displays – they had 63 combined completions for 621 yards – it was a defensive play against Manning that was the deal closer in this game. Trying to drive his team down the field to tie the game with less than 5 minutes to play, Manning had his team on the New Orleans 31. He tried to connect with Reggie Wayne on a 3rd-down pass by Saints CB Tracy Porter stepped in front of the pass and returned it 74 yards for the back-breaking score as they Saints went on to win their first Super Bowl in franchise history.
Again, the game was all any football fan could ask for. It wasn’t the high-scoring, defense-disrespecting affair many thought it would be (including me). But it still featured plenty of offensive fireworks and fine QB play. The game was managed well by both teams and was drastically affected by a gutsy onside kick call to start the 2nd half. And the game kept fans entertained throughout, never rendering either team desperate or hopeless until Manning threw an incomplete pass near the goal line on 4th down with just 50 seconds to play.
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 6 Comments »