Will the Saints or Colts Go All The Way?
It only makes sense that the two teams with the best regular season records will be facing off in this year's Super Bowl. Sure we've already seen the Indianapolis Colts (14-2) in this position a few years ago, even winning Super Bowl XLI, but this is also the first time we've seen the New Orleans Saints (13-3) reach the Big Game. Needless to say we cannot call them the Aints any longer.
Now while this weekend is the Pro Bowl, I figured I'd get a head start on all the other pundits out there and provide my insight on who will win. Will Peyton Manning lead the Colts to their second Super Bowl ring in four years, or will he throw one interception too many and allow the Saints to finish their best franchise year ever?
Now before I get started, I need to provide the guidelines on how this simulation is performed. These settings have been tested in previous runs to provide the most accurate results possible:
1)The game being used for simulation is Madden NFL 10 on Xbox 360.
2)AI Difficulty is set to All-Madden.
3)Quarters are 12 minutes in length, with a 20 second runoff between plays.
4)The rosters used are the most recent, downloaded from Xbox Live on 1/27/10
5)Stadium used is Sun Life Stadium (Dolphins Stadium in the game,) Super Bowl XLIV setting. Time set is 8pm (closest that can be selected to the actual 6:18pm kickoff time.) Weather is set to Weather Channel feed, which shows fair skies at 63 degrees.
6)To prove there is no tampering with the stats in any way possible, video highlights of this game will be placed on my Youtube page for everyone to view.
With all that out of the way, let's get started. The Colts have won the toss and will receive.
TJ Rushing returns the opening kickoff to the IND 38, and Manning comes out on the field.
First play hands off to Joseph Addai for no gain, but is successful on the following run, for 13 yards and a first down. Pierre Garcon then receives a pass from Manning to take the ball to the NO 28. The following pass is nearly a Peyton Manning special, aka an interception, but is dropped. Garcon catches the next pass but it's only for a single yard. With 3rd and 9 coming, Manning throws again to Garcon, but is short by two yards, and Matt Stover comes out for a 37 yard field goal attempt. It's long enough, but the kick is wide right.
Drew Brees comes out for his first attempt on offense at the NO 27. The first pass is thrown into traffic but incomplete. Pierre Thomas then runs for three yards. A trick play pass to Heath Evans is good for 16 yards and a first down. Jeremy Shockey gets the next pass for 16 more yards. A Thomas handoff loses a yard, and is not as successful in the second run, leading to a 3rd and 10. Brees throws in traffic to Reggie Bush, who fights for 6 yards. NFC Championship hero Hartley comes out. Garrett Hartley attempts from 50 yards, but this time is wide left, so we are left with no score and the Colts come out with 4:49 left in the first.
From shotgun formation, Manning throws into coverage, hoping to hit Reggie Wayne, but is incomplete. Addai gets a 7 yard gain, and on the next play receives a 10 yard first down catch. Manning throws to Dallas Clark for 6 more yards, followed by a run by Addai which requires a measurement"it's a first down! Manning is nearly sacked but finds Austin Collie for a gain of 5. Another pass to Addai causes a first down in the red zone, but another run only gains one yard. Dallas Clark makes another catch at the 4 yard line. This will be the last play of the quarter. Manning throws it away in what might be a defensive battle. NO SCORE.
Second and Goal at the NO 4. Gijon Robinson receives a screen pass but it actually causes a one yard loss. Manning goes for the end zone, bounces off of Randall Gay's hand"and in typical Peyton Manning fashion, is PICKED by Darren Sharper. Only a tackle by Reggie Wayne stops Sharper from getting a pick-6.
1st and Goal at the 5, a perfect opportunity for the Saints, who hand off to Thomas, who breaks off a few tackles and runs it in. TOUCHDOWN SAINTS! Hartley's kick is good. NO 7, IND 0.
Garcon receives the kickoff and is stopped at the IND 29. Manning comes back to redeem himself, throwing to Collie for 8 yards. Play action to Garcon for another first down. The ball is on the NO 42. Collie gets another pass but only for 4 yards. Manning is under pressure and barely gets the ball away to avoid a sack but it looks like a fumble. I'm surprised that Sean Payton didn't throw the challenge flag on that one. 3rd and 6 coming up. Manning throws to Reggie Wayne for the first down at the 26. Wayne is the intended receiver for the next pass but it pops out of his hands incomplete. Addi gets the handoff for 6 yards. The Colts are back in the red zone where they are 0 for 2. Reggie Wayne catches the next pass for a gain of 14. 1st and Goal at the 6. Manning again throws in traffic, but lucky for him, it's incomplete. He's taking way too many risks. The next pass is complete to Dallas Clark"TOUCHDOWN COLTS! Extra point is good. IND 7, NO 7.
Courtney Roby receives the kickoff and takes it to the NO 33. Thomas gains two with the first run. His next run only draws one yard. Reggie Bush gets the screen pass for a first down. With 5 minutes left in the 2nd, Thomas sweeps right and gets about 20 yards until Robert Mathis takes him down. The ball is on the 30, where Brees nearly throws a pick. Another near pick intended for Marcus Colston. It's 3rd and 10, and Brees does another screen to Reggie Bush who makes it 1st and Goal at the 8. Thomas gets a draw play to take it to the 4. Evans gets the next run to take it to the 1. On the 10th play of the drive, Brees throws but it is incomplete and Hartley comes in to make the chip shot. NO 10, IND 7.
Garcon again takes the kickoff and runs it to the 29. He is the intended receiver for the first pass but is incomplete. Addai gets the screen for a gain of three, leading to the 2 minute warning. Manning goes deep to no avail, leading to 4th and 7 and our first punt of the game. Reggie Bush takes it and gets to the NO 31.
1:39 left in the half, and Brees comes out. Thomas gets 6 yards to start. Another run by Thomas gains 2. Bush gets the run this time but it's a loss. Timeout called by the Colts at 4th and 4. Morestead punts to Rushing who is hit at the IND 23.
59 seconds left. Manning takes the pass and throws deep to an open Reggie Addai who takes it to the NO 47. Manning is hit while passing but Dallas Clark catches it for 7. Timeout Colts. Another pass to Reggie Wayne takes it all the way to the 6 for 1st and Goal. The Hurry Up offense is used and Garcon makes the catch, but he is short. The ball is on the 1 with 22 seconds left. Manning throws but again is PICKED by Roman Harper in the end zone for a touchback with 17 seconds left in the half.
Brees hands off to Thomas for 6 yards and that looks like the last play of the half. NO 10, IND 7.
Roby receives the kickoff and takes it to the NO 28. Brees throws to Thomas who gains 17 for the first down. He gets the ball again and runs it for 4. Play action pass to Robert Meachem gains 23 yards and takes it to the IND 30. Bush gets the run but loses 2. Another run to Bush, another loss. 3rd and 12 coming up. Brees throws to Bush this time, there is a question of whether he was inbounds or not. He was. Hartley comes out for a 44 yard attempt. It's wide right.
Manning is back. Will he throw another pick? Not on the first play, as Addai takes it for 3 yards. A play action pass to Garcon gives the Colts another first down. Manning throws again to Reggie Wayne for his fourth catch and a first down. Ball is on the NO 32. Wayne receives again via play action for a gain of 8 and his fifth catch. Addai gets the run but doesn't gain anything. Incomplete pass by Manning leads to a 41 yard attempt by Matt Stover. He hits the upright and it goes in! IND 10, NO 10.
5:10 left in the 3rd quarter. Roby again returns it, this time to the NO 30. Thomas gets a good run of 6, breaking some tackles. The following pass goes to Devery Henderson, his first catch, for a gain of 22. Meachem catches the next pass for 9 yards. Jeremy Shcokey makes the following pass and is wide open"TOUCHDOWN SAINTS! The extra point is good. NO 17, IND 10.
Garcon takes the kickoff to the 32. Addai stiff arms for a gain of 5. Another run by Addai results in no gain. The following pass is thrown to Donald Brown, but is close to the line. The officials give him the first down. Reggie Wayne makes the next catch and gets another first down. We're in the final minute of the 3rd quarter. Reggie Addai gets some running room and gains 9. The last play of the quarter has Manning getting a screen pass to Reggie Addai for yet another first down. NO 17, IND 10.
This is it. The final quarter, barring overtime. Manning throws another PICK to Darren Sharper. This time there is no gain.
Brees hands off to Thomas for a gain of 2, followed by another 2 yard run. At 3rd and 6, Reggie Bush finally gets a big run, gaining 20 yards for a first down. Meachem reaches out for the catch and gains 6 before going out of bounds. On the IND 46, Thomas gets the catch and gains 2. Brees is 13 for 17 so far. A screen to Henderson doesn't pan out, resulting in 4th and 6 and another punt, which ends up out of bounds at the IND 28, a pretty poor punt and a good chance for the Colts to tie it.
8:12 remaining in the game. Addai sweeps right for a single yard, then goes up the gut and loses a yard. The 3rd down conversion is successful, as Wayne catches an 11 yard pass, but take a wild guess what Peyton does next? That's right, he throws another INTERCEPTION to Jabari Greer, his third of the game with 6:25 left.
The Saints are now in control of their own destiny. A screen pass to Jeremy Shockey results in a 17 yard gain. The next pass intended for Marcus Colston is tipped away. Thomas takes the run but loses 2, causing 3rd and 12 at the NO 41. Brees is under pressure and FUMBLES the ball! A scrum ensues, but the Saints recover. Either way it's still 4th and 17, and they are forced to punt. The punt goes into the endzone for a touchback.
Once again it's do or die time for Peyton. It starts off well, passing to Garcon for 10 yards and 2nd and Inches. Collie takes the next pass"but is out of bounds. Addai runs it and they measure"first down! Austin Collie gets another pass in cover and the ball is at midfield with 2:39 left to go. Addai gets a run for 4 yards. This will be the last play before the 2 minute warning, an incomplete pass leading to 3rd and 6. The pass falls out of Garcon's hands and it's 4th and 6, but what's this? The Colts are PUNTING? With 1:54 left in the game? Are they out of their minds? If they lose, then Jim Caldwell should be fired for this call, even more since McAfee's punt results in a touchback.
Brees is back and a first down should win it. Robert Mathis stops Thomas after a 4 yard gain and the Colts call their first time out. Thomas runs it again and gets the first down! The Colts call their second time out. 1:39 left in the game, and one time out left. Thomas draws for 2 yards, and the Colts call their last time out. The next first down will win it. Thomas gets the run again but loses 2. Needless to say the Saints are going to run the clock all the way down. 3rd and 10, tick, tick, tick, tick. Reggie Bush runs it"FIRST DOWN! Brees takes a knee and time runs out.
The game is over, and the New Orleans Saints win their first ever Super Bowl in franchise history! NO 17, IND 10. Darren Sharper is chosen as the Super Bowl XLIV MVP for his two interceptions, one that almost scored a touchdown.
So it looks like the Saints miracle year turns out to be a reality. At least that's what Madden 10 says. We'll just have to see how it turns out in Miami on the 7th. And remember, the video highlights will be posted on my Youtube page after this is posted.
Currently Playing: Mass Effect 2
Waiting For: Bioshock 2