The Saint D
The early success that the Colts had throwing to TE Clark was the Saints failure to cover the TE. They were trying to cover Clark with a LB and S Harper over the top. When QB Manning looked Harper off, the S couldn’t get back to help out on Clark fast enough. That success passing to the TE
By the 2nd quarter, the Saint D Coordinator Williams made a change. He gave Clark man to man to Harper and let the linebacker give a little help underneath. The looks of Manning had no effect on Harper and the Saints shut Clark down the rest of the game.
The Saints D played tight coverage and changed up their D calls frequently. The combination of varied Ds and bad field position the Colts had in the second quarter kept Manning to just 6 snaps until the last series of the half.
The Saint D also made the big play of the game with the interception that resulted in a TD and took the Saint lead to 14. There were 2 keys to the play. First, CB Porter read the play and knew the ball was coming to his guy–WR Wayne. Porter played the ball perfectly. But there was another factor in the play as well. Wayne was not able to get out of his break fast enough to make the play or at least prevent the pick. As the game wore on, Wayne has lost speed I believe in part due to his injury. On the critical play his timing was off. He was only partially turned out of his break when the ball arrived.
The Saint Special teams and coaching calls.
Another major cause of the win was the aggressive calls of the coaching staff. They were taking risks to win the game. The call for the 4th down run at the goal line was gutsy. I would have tried another pass on one of the 3 attempts but Coach Payton gave the a chance to win by scoring. The onside kick showed guts as well. The bottom line was that the Saints made calls to win while the Colts tried not to lose.
When the Colts got up by 10 points early, they changed to a zone D. The Saints QB Brees picked the zone apart like a Thanksgiving leftovers. The Colts D could not get off the field. The Saints kept Manning and Co. off the field. They never made the adjustments to tighten up the coverage or pick up the pace of the D. The entire Colt team played without urgency. That is the best way to lose there is. The team never got the fire in their belly that it takes to win the big game. They played well but just not well enough to win.
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Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday morning at 11. He has also published several novels on
and edits .