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 »