Sunday, 21 January 2007

Super Bowl: Colts vs. Bears

Offense vs. Defense. The Super Bowl will be a matchup of opposites... the Bears won today with defense, the Colts won with offense. A quick look at each of the games:

Bears 39, Saints 14
This one was all about the Bears defense. Drew Brees helped them out a little by having a pretty poor game, but that was mostly just due to the relentlessness of the Bears defense. The front line with Ogunleye, Anderson, and the rest were tremendously effective in getting pressure on Brees and forcing him to get rid of the ball. The Bears were great covering the receivers, putting pressure on the QB, and causing plays. They went for strips, INT, and everything else and it paid off in a big way all game.

Offensively, still not a good game by Grossman. Rex Grossman had one good drive all day, and a lot of that was largely the result of throwing against a bad CB in Fred Thomas. (and as a sidenote, great play by Bernard Berrian on the TD catch). However, he didn't really need to be that good, because the running game for the Bears was very solid. Benson and Jones each got at least 19 carries, and this allowed the Bears to control the clock. Bears just outplayed the Saints, especially with the great play of the defense.

Colts 38, Patriots 34
Wait, Peyton Manning led his team on the clutch TD drive while Tom Brady threw an INT to seal the game? I wonder how the media will take this one. Regardless, just an outstanding football game all around, and basically everything I thought it would be and more.

For the first half, it looked like it would be the same old song and dance for Peyton Manning against Bill Belicheck in the playoffs... after the INT return for TD by Asante Samuel, the Patriots had a 21-3 lead and were in complete control of the game. A late Indy FG in the first half made it 21-6, but surely Brady and Belicheck wouldn't let the Pats blow an 18 point lead?

Well, in the 2nd half the Colts were simply unstoppable. Well, not literally, but almost. Here were their 2nd half possessions: TD, TD, TD, Punt, FG, Punt, TD. 32 points in 30 minutes against a Bill Belicheck coached defense. Astounding.

It was a game that featured a lot of wild things... such as 2 fumbles recovered for TDs by offensive lineman, which isn't exactly an everyday occurrence. But the weirdest thing of all was the late 4th quarter, where for once we saw the Pats let a playoff game against the Colts slip away. Brady couldn't move the chains to put the game away, forcing the Patriots to punt it back, and Peyton Manning drove them right down the field for the game-winning TD.

For all of the bad commercials over the year, it's hard not to feel good for Manning. By all accounts he's an incredibly hard worker, and so it's nice to see him climb the mountain a little more to reach the Super Bowl. Now in 2 weeks we'll see if he can reach the top.