15 observations: Baskett, Payton and more

1. The play you will remember when you think about this Super Bowl 20 years from now is the onside kick to start the second half. With the Saints trailing 10-6, Sean Payton decided to gamble, and of all people, it was Hank Baskett who could not handle the kick. New Orleans recovered and went 59 yards for the touchdown to take a 13-10 lead.

2. Two more things about that kick. What a scrum for the ball. I'm surprised everyone came out alive (I think). I demand that every player involved be interviewed about what actually went on at the bottom of the pile some time this offseason. I feel like there are some great stories there. And number two, what a performance by the Saints kicking unit. Garrett Hartley nailed three field-goal attempts -- all from 44 yards or greater. And the game-changing onside kick by Thomas Morstead.

3. Underrated key moment: The Colts going three-and-out at the end of the first half. The Saints had just come up short on a fourth down at the Indy 1 yard line. The smart money was on Peyton Manning and the Colts to go down the field and put more points on the board. Instead, they went three-and-out and had to punt. The Saints got the ball back and picked up a field goal before halftime.

4. Drew Brees never forced the ball deep. Smart, efficient throws and decisions throughout. Intermediate throw after intermediate throw. And it was the perfect method for what the Saints were trying to do. They kept Manning off the field at crucial times. They sustained drives. And they avoided turnovers. Overall, Brees was 32-for-39 and Super Bowl MVP.

5. By the way, the Saints threw on 68 percent of their offensive plays. So much for balance, huh? I know it was only one game, but you can win games, move the ball effectively and play efficient offense by leaning heavily on the passing game. You just have to have the right personnel and great execution.

6. At 9:23 p.m. in our live chat, I wrote: Is there any chance Manning DOESN'T lead them to the end zone here? At 9:30, Tracy Porter was taking a Manning interception to the house. Did not see that one coming. I thought we were headed for overtime.


Who has the best chance of leading the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory?

7. I did not like the call by Jim Caldwell to attempt a 51-yard field goal with Matt Stover at the start of the fourth quarter. Stover was 0-for-3 on attempts from 50-plus the last three seasons. The last time he hit one from that range was 2006. New Orleans got the ball at its own 41 after the miss and drove 58 yards to take a 24-17 lead. By the way, great play by Lance Moore on the 2-point conversion.

8. At 6:44 p.m., with eight minutes left in the first quarter, chatters had officially taken jabs at Donovan McNabb, Andy Reid, Joe Banner and Jeffrey Lurie. And there were some funny comments throughout that I had to share.

A sampling:

When I mentioned in the fourth that the Colts needed to score, but also didn't want to give the Saints' offense the ball back with a chance to win it:

[Comment From Andy Reid: ] If they need help managing the clock, I am available.

After the Joseph Addai 4-yard touchdown run in the third:

[Comment From Andy Reid: ] I would've used the shovel pass there.

And after the Colts took a 17-13 lead:

[Comment From Joe Banner: ] With our roster, we'd be winning this game 31-3 right now and etching our names on the trophy.

9. Manning made some unbelievable throws, but his performance will be identified by the interception at the end. That's just how it goes. And if it were the Eagles, you can be sure that Donovan McNabb would be the one getting killed Monday morning.

10. The Saints' defense really competed. In the fourth quarter, with Indy up, 17-16, Manning had the offense rolling. The Colts faced a 4th-and-2 from the New Orleans 46, went for it and kept their drive alive after a completion to Reggie Wayne. It was the kind of play that could deflate a defense, but the Saints rebounded, forcing Indy into the long field-goal attempt.

11. I liked Payton's decision to go for it at the end of the first half. If they convert there, it's huge. If they don't get it, they still pin the Colts near their own end zone. But if they kick the field goal, the Colts would have had plenty of time to get better field position and score before halftime. I just didn't like the calls. Brees had completed six of seven passes on the drive. Gotta let him make a play there instead of running the ball twice in a row.

12. Clean game all around. Eight total penalties and just one turnover. I think these were the two best teams in the end, and I thought it was a well-played, entertaining game. Great pace throughout.

13. Outstanding blocks on the 16-yard screen to Pierre Thomas for the touchdown in the third quarter. Maybe now we won't hear announcers call the Eagles the best screen team in the NFL next season.

14. By my count, no Kim Kardashian shots the entire game. Her lack of camera time was one of the great mysteries of this postseason. Let's hope Real Sports or E-60 is already investigating this. On the other side, we saw Archie Manning once. Both prop bets went under, if you were wondering.

15. Hate to end with this one, but did I really see two straight commercials with guys in tighty-whities? Or was I imagining things? Either way, very disturbing couple of minutes there.