Thursday, February 11, 2010

Not (Solely) Peyton's Fault

Currently listening to: Rage Against the Machine - Guerilla Radio

Before you read this post with a bias based off the title, read this post first. The Saints 31-17 win over the Colts in the Super Bowl was not Peyton Manning's fault. Yes, the guy who threw the game winning interception, #18.

Let's face it... the Saints and Colts were carbon copies of each other whether or not Steve Young or Terry Bradshaw believes it. They both had high flying offenses with defenses that did just enough to win games. During the regular season in passing yardage per game, The Colts and Saints ranked #2 and #4 respectively with only 10 yards separating the two. In the playoffs, both teams accumulated large amounts of tackles, had 3-4 interceptions respectively, and over 3 forced fumbles in only 3 games played. Going into the big game, all the big wigs picked the Colts by a landslide. I, on the other hand, knew that these two teams were destined to meet each other because how similar they truly are.

During the game, it was neck and neck the entire way. It all came down to which team would make the first mistake... and the last possible guy that you thought would do it, Peyton, did. Check out these stats to prove my point of how these two teams were literally the same team.

Time of Possession:
Saints - 30:11
Colts - 29:49

Red Zone:
Saints - 2 for 3
Colts - 2 for 3

First Downs:
Saints - 20
Colts - 23

Avg. Yards per pass:
Saints - 7.4
Colts - 7.4

Leading Receivers:
M. Colston - 7 Rec, 9 Targets, 83 yards, Longest Rec: 27 yards
D. Clark - 7 Rec, 9 Targets, 86 yards, Longest Rec. 27 yards

The Colts actually had 100 yards more total offense than the Saints, and still lost. 

Now, you're probably starting to ask yourself... how is it not Manning's fault? He threw the interception that lost the game (put the game out of reach with a little over 2 minutes left in the game). He made that ONE mistake that lost the game, right? Well, as you know, football is a team game, and Peyton throws the balls... it's up for the receivers to catch them.

Check out the comparison between the two receiving cores:
Colston 7/9
Henderson 7/7
Thomas 7/7
Bush 4/5
Moore 2/2
Rest of team 6/8

Clark 7/9
Collie 6/9
Garcon 5/7
Addai 7/7
Wayne 5/11

Wait... Reggie Wayne only caught 5 balls out of 11 attempts? Oh, and yes, that was him who dropped the sure touchdown pass with a little over a minute remaining in the game to get the Colts within one score to tie. Yes, Manning's pick was very uncharacteristic of him and hurt his team's chances of winning more than any other player on the field.... but if your receiving core runs the wrong routes (which was the case in the interception) and does not make the catches throughout the game, especially your star receiver, your chances of winning are very slim. By the way, don't forget Stover's missed field goal.. that's 3 points and field position that could have changed the momentum of the game.

I am not taking anything away from the Saints, because they made the least mistakes and won the game fair and square. Congratulations to the city of New Orleans and Drew Brees for reaching the next level of quarterbacks in the NFL. 

In conclusion, based on the stats and other occurrences in the game... yes, Manning and the Colts lost, but I am finding it impossible to believe that Peyton Manning lost Super Bowl 44... his team as a whole did because of missed and dropped opportunities, pun surely intended.

Lights out. Guerilla Radio.

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