Strategy is nice, of course, but you still need heroes to make the magic happen. And Williams relied on his underrated crew of players.
“To be an aggressive playcaller, you have to have players that can play,” Porter said afterward, still beaming. “And to have the guys the guys on defense that can make the plays that we make, Gregg’s philosophy and the players on our team, it’s like a match made in heaven.”
Williams got an assist on that call from some of his heady players.
“Our linebackers did a great job of convincing me that the next time we got in that situation to call that pressure … they suggested to me about three or four plays before that to make sure I come back to that on that down and distance again,” Williams said.
The smarts of the linebacker crew also showed up earlier in the fourth quarter. The Colts had a 17-16 lead and faced a third-and-11 from the Saints’ 33. Middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma was set to blitz, but changed the play at the last minute.
Drew Brees deserves all the praise he gets Monday, but the Saints’ defense had a huge part in this win. The Saints were the league’s highest scoring team this year, but it wasn’t all about the offense. The team’s defense had an uncanny knack of converting turnovers into points.
The Super Bowl hype began with Williams’ call for his players to record some “remember me” hits on Manning. They didn’t get to the quarterback as much as they hoped, but they maintained a bloodthirsty attitude throughout the game.
“We wanted to get hitting Manning and throw off his timing,” Darren Sharper said. “We thought we forced two first ballot Hall of Famers into retirement — we’ll see about Brett — our goal was to try to get a third.”
Manning certainly isn’t going to retire, but he will remember this game for the rest of his life as the title that got away. But if he’s honest with himself, he’ll realize the Colts didn’t lose this one.
The Saints took it from him.
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