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Saints upset Colts in Super Bowl

Highlights - Saints 31-17 Colts (UK users only)

By Martin Gough

The New Orleans Saints won their first Super Bowl with a surprise 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts in Miami.

Drew Brees hit a record-equalling 32 passes for 288 yards, with touchdowns to Pierre Thomas and Jeremy Shockey.

And cornerback Tracy Porter returned an interception from Colts quarterback Peyton Manning 74 yards for another score to seal victory.

Garrett Hartley kicked three field goals of over 40 yards as the Saints came back from 10-0 down early on.

Indianapolis, who won the NFL title in Miami just three years ago, went into the game as favourites.

We knew we had an entire city and maybe an entire country behind us

Drew Brees

They were soon up by 10 points, after kicker Matt Stover, the oldest player in Super Bowl history at 42 years and 11 days, hit a 38-yard field goal and Manning found receiver Pierre Garcon for a touchdown after a withering 96-yard drive.

But the Saints hit back with 13 unanswered points, 23-year-old Hartley slotting kicks of 46 and 44 yards before half-time as New Orleans dominated the second quarter.

Coach Sean Payton then wrenched the initiative with an audacious gamble for a short kick-off to start the second half.

Sights & sounds of the Super Bowl (UK users only)

New Orleans came out with the ball from the ensuing melee and Brees - voted the game's Most Valuable Player three years after he was allowed to leave his old team San Diego as a free agent - hit Pierre Thomas for the go-ahead score.

Denied the ball for 70 minutes, including a lengthy half-time that included a performance by The Who, Indianapolis looked sharp as they drove for a touchdown on the ground from Joseph Addai.

But veteran Stover could not match Hartley's exploits, fading wide left with an attempt from 51 yards early in the fourth quarter.

New Orleans went up by seven with the score by tight end Shockey, followed up by a two-point conversion from Brees to Lance Moore.

Porter's 74-yard interception touchdown (UK users only)

And Porter secured the victory by punishing a poor decision by Manning, who tried to force a throw to favourite target Reggie Wayne in the face of heavy pressure.

Manning, who grew up in New Orleans as the son of former Saints quarterback Archie Manning, left the field disconsolate after tasting Super Bowl defeat for the first time in his storied career.

It was an emotional victory for the Saints, a team who went 20 years before recording their first winning season and a further 23 before appearing in this, their first NFL title game.

The team's resurgence has been seen as a mirror of the rebuilding of the city of New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

"We just believed in ourselves," said Brees. "We knew we had an entire city and maybe an entire country behind us."

As he lifted the Vince Lombardi Trophy, New Orleans owner Tom Benson said: "Not only the city but the whole state of Louisiana is back and this shows the whole world."

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see also
Katrina tragedy 'inspired Saints'
08 Feb 10 |  American Football
Super Bowl XLIV as it happened
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Super Bowl XLIV photos
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Saints march to Super Bowl
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Saints and Colts reach Super Bowl
25 Jan 10 |  American Football
Super Bowl semi-finals as they happened
24 Jan 10 |  American Football
American football on the BBC
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