Biggs: Gutsy call could have gone either way for Payton
Sean Payton showed faith in his players when he went for it on fourth-and-goal near the end of the first half only to watch the Saints get stuffed.
He gambled on them then, knowing his team had to kick off to open the second half, and he doubled down on them when the third quarter began, ordering up the onside kick by punter Thomas Morstead, maybe the gutsiest call in Super Bowl history. You can label it that because had it not worked – had Indianapolis recovered the ball with a four-point lead and a short field for Peyton Manning – it would have been decried as one of the dumbest calls in Super Bowl history.
As it is, Payton stands a genius today, one day after he delivered the first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history. The Saints recovered the kick, Jonathan Casillas wrestled for it and won, and six plays later Pierre Thomas plunged into the end zone for a touchdown that gave New Orleans its first lead of the game. The Colts were on their heels and they never really recovered.
"Every week we practice that onside kick, " Payton said. "At halftime, I just told those guys, 'You've got to make me look right here.' It was something we'd seen and had practiced all week.
"You get a little nervous -- there's a lot going on the week of the Super Bowl. The key was the kicker; Thomas hit it good."
Morstead did hit the ball good. But the call was absolutely perfect and just what the Saints’ sideline needed at the time. They took the game to the Colts and that – and an MVP quarterback in Drew Brees – was all New Orleans needed.
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