New Orleans Saints Kick Past Vikings to Advance to Super Bowl XLIV

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New Orleans Saints Kick Past Vikings to Advance to Super Bowl XLIV
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Dec. 30, 2000. Saints vs. Rams: New Orleans wins its first playoff game.

Jan. 24, 2010. Saints vs. Vikings: New Orleans advances to its first Super Bowl.

The two most important wins in Saints' history have been by the same score: 31-28.

Minnesota was the best team and defense New Orleans faced all season and were quite possibly the better team on Sunday.

The Vikings out-gained the Saints by over 200 total yards, ran 27 more offensive plays, and possessed the ball for nearly 37 minutes in regulation.

None of that mattered.

There was no denying the black and gold Sunday night.

 

Three Reasons the Saints are Miami-bound:

1) Fumbles

You can talk about Favre's two interceptions all you want, but he doesn't even throw the last one if the Vikings don't fumble the ball SIX times.

Sure, one of those fumbles was technically charged to Favre, but that gaffe was clearly Adrian Peterson's fault. If the Vikings cashed in after Reggie Bush's muffed punt, all we're talking about is how Favre carried this team to an NFC championship.

However, don't say the Saints got lucky. They were second in the league in takeaways and punched out each of those six fumbles, except for the botched hand-off.

 

2) Resiliency

The Saints' second playoff game of the season started out much like the first one: with the opponent scoring a touchdown on the first drive.

New Orleans marched right down the field and tied the game on a screen pass to Pierre Thomas. They gained and lost the lead twice in the second half, and yet they seemed to always come up with the big play.

When Tracy Porter intercepted Favre with about 15 seconds left, the Saints went from "There's always next year," to "This is the year!"

 

3) Garrett Hartley...Money

A game that saw eight touchdowns was decided by its sole field goal.

Lots of noise was made about Hartley's inexperience and for good reason. He missed the game-winning kick this year against the Buccaneers and later admitted to rushing the pressure-packed kick.

The chance to learn from a mistake in a meaningless regular season game paid huge dividends in the biggest game in franchise history.

 

The Saints will face the Colts in the Super Bowl. Who does Archie Manning root for?

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