More: Super Bowl 2012 coverage.
It's a very bitter pill to swallow, but the facts are that the Saints were better. Despite the Colts out-rushing and out-gaining the Saints, the Saints made the plays to win and the Colts didn't. It's easy to place the blame on Peyton Manning, and Manning-haters will likely do so.
Manning did all he could, throwing for over 333 yards and a score. However, in the end, the Saints offense simply could not be stopped in the second half. Because the Saints offense was so dominant in the second half, this forced Manning to take chances in the fourth quarter, down 24-17 with a little over 5:00 left. And with chances come turnovers. Thus, the pick six, which was really a great play by Indiana University alum Tracy Porter, who has had one helluva playoff run. Porter jumped Wayne's route, and the gamble paid off. As shake n bake so accurately put it, most of the Saints gambles paid off.
Can't give enough respect and props to Purdue alum Drew Brees. His running game was totally shut down, and without any truly big plays, he was able to carve up the Colts secondary for 288 yards and 2 TDs. Also, the fake kick called by Saints head coach Sean Payton was tremendous.
In the end, the Saints were just a bit better. The score does not give justice to how close and how exciting this game was. I give major props to Joseph Addai and the running game. They came to play. The defense contained Reggie Bush and the Saints running game. Dwight Freeney was able to make an impact, getting a key sack.
But, again, it just was not enough. Hats off to the Saints. If a "good guy" team beat us, it was them. It's a wonderful story that they won. Dave of Canal Street Chronicles is next to me, and he's damn near crying. I know for many of you this does not comfort you, but I must admit that it is a little overwhelming to see the fans here reacting to the Saints winning. This stadium was so loud for them, it might as well have been a home game for them.
I want to thank all of you posters and readers for contributing today and all throughout the week. We will have more fallout throughout the evening, including our own post game quotes and photos from the locker rooms.
Chin up, Colts fans. This was a helluva season; a season no one expected our guys to have. No shame in losing to the Saints. As always, keep the haters at bay.