PASSING OFFENSE: B
The Colts were able to move the football through the air against New Orleans as quarterback Peyton Manning completed 31-of-45 passes for 333 yards and one touchdown. But Manning had a pass picked off and returned for the game-clinching touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Indianapolis could not make enough big plays throwing the football, though. WR Reggie Wayne only had five catches for 46 yards. WR Austin Collie added six receptions for 66 yards and WR Pierre Garcon had five receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown. TE Dallas Clark was limited to seven catches for 86 yards.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B-plus
Indianapolis outrushed the Saints as RB Joseph Addai had 77 yards in 13 carries. Backup Donald Brown added 18 yards in four rushes. Addai also scored a rushing touchdown. The Colts running game may have been ranked dead last in the NFL during the regular season, but Indianapolis was able to turn it up a notch during the playoffs.
PASS DEFENSE: C-minus
Yes, the Colts had one sack of Saints quarterback Drew Brees. But it was far from enough as Indianapolis allowed Brees to complete 32-of-39 passes for 288 yards and two touchdown passes. DE Dwight Freeney was slowed by his third-degree right ankle sprain that he suffered two weeks ago, but he was able to start the game. Freeney played throughout but was visibly slowed by the injury. DE Robert Mathis did not have a sack or record a tackle.
RUSH DEFENSE: B-plus
Perhaps the best part of the Colts defensive game plan against New Orleans. Indianapolis limited the Saints to 51 yards in 18 total rushing attempts. Pierre Thomas had 30 yards in nine carries while Reggie Bush added 25 yards in five rushing attempts.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C
As good as the Colts' special teams has been all year long, they didn't produce enough plays in Super Bowl XLIV. A missed 51-yard field goal by PK Matt Stover, a mishandled recovery of a Saints' onsides kick to begin the second half, poor decision making on kickoff returns. Rookie P Pat McAfee averaged 43 yards in two punts, but his kickoffs weren't as consistent as they had been during the regular season. The Colts allowed 25.5 yards on four kickoff returns. Stover did have 38-yard field goal to begin the game.
The Colts played well for portions of Super Bowl XLIV but couldn't make the big play when needed the most. The decision to go for a 51-yard field goal in the second half backfired as New Orleans was allowed to have good field position to begin a drive. Indianapolis' inability to take advantage of a goal-line stand late in the second quarter gave the Saints the opportunity to still kick a field goal before halftime. The biggest question mark concerned the Colts' inability to devise a way to put more pressure on New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees with all the questions regarding DE Dwight Freeney's ankle injury.
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