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Best Football Plays

Best Football Plays 2009

I wanted to list my revised best plays of 2009 after posting my “Amazing Football Plays” of the 2009-2010 NFL Season, after yesterday’s big Superbowl win by the New Orleans Saints over the Indianapolis Colts. This was the matchup everyone (outside Chicago) wanted to see three years ago when the Bears smoked the Saints in the NFC Championship Game, and then Peyton Manning beat the Bears in a rain-soaked disappointment. I guess we just had to wait a little longer than expected.

Before we get to the best plays of the football season, I wanted to address Superbowl XLIV. The game wasn’t as high scoring as I would have expected, because I definitely would have taken the 56 point over/under. Both teams moved the ball more effectively than the 31-17 score might have indicated, but both teams used long drives and underneath routes throughout the game, perhaps trying to keep the opposing offense off the field most of the night.

There weren’t many “big plays”, so to speak, but a lot of little, pivotal plays. In the end, this led to the Saints only having 9 offensive series.

Tracy Porter 74-Yard INT TD vs Colts

The only really big play of Superbowl 44 was the 74-yard interception return by Tracy Porter that put the Saints up 14 points with 3 minutes left, and provided the game with its final score.

I called it, after the Colts called Peyton Manning-to-Reggie Wayne underneath passes twice on that interceptin drive. Superbowl defenses are eventually going to sit on a route like that, so Tracy Porter was waiting the third time he saw Reggie Wayne breaking off a pattern to hit the Saints underneath on a slant/short in pattern.

To show you what I’m talking about, here’s a 2+ minutes stretch of the 4th Quarter of yesterday’s game: the drive I’m talking about. The drive almost began with an interception on an out pattern to Reggie Wayne, but notice the Colts threw to Wayne on a square-in to get to the 31 two plays before the touchdown interception by Tracy Porter.

The earlier Wayne pass was a wide receiver screen, but the Colts didn’t appear to be willing to throw downfield. Maybe it was Darren Sharper lurking in the backfield. Maybe it was the fear of giving Drew Brees the ball with too much time. But it was unlikely they were going to take off another 3 minutes, so it was probably best to score early and hope to get the ball back again.

Either way, the Colts playcalling was underwhelming at times yesterday.

Pierre Thomas Screen Pass Touchdown

Pierre Thomas had a touchdown on a brilliantly executed screen pass. There are few plays more beautiful in a football game than a well-blocked screen pass. Notice the fourth play featured on this clip of big Pierre Thomas plays in the Superbowl, with 3 or 4 big blocks from offensive linemen and tight ends. I wish my Cowboys could execute screens like that, but their huge linemen simply can’t get out in the flat like that.

Reggie Bush Touchdown Leap

Speaking of which, on my post the other day of “Amazing Football Plays”, I forgot to add Reggie Bush’s crazy leap vs the Dolphins earlier this year. That’s one that shouldn’t be overlooked, especially in light of the New Orleans Saints Superbowl victory.

Chris Johnson vs Houston Texans

Another one I shouldn’t have forgotten was Chris Johnson, who started his quest for 2,000 yards in earnest with his amazing performance against the Houston Texans, with 2 long touchdowns runs and one long touchdown reception. Look at the speed of Chris Johnson on the 95 yarder, which was just under 5% of his season total that got him to 2000 yard season.

Ray Rice

Ray Rice had a breakout year in 2009. Though Rice had been effective in the first four weeks of the season, it was his Week 5 performance against the Cincinnati Bengals that opened the floodgates. Too bad the week before this amazing Ray Rice touchdown run, I traded Rice in my dynasty league. In my defense, Willis McGahee was leading the NFL with 7 touchdown runs i the first four weeks of the season and Rice hadn’t had a TD on the year yet. Just about my luck. At least I have Chris Johnson in the same league, but it would be nice to have both going into next year.

Donald Driver One-Handed Catches

Another one not to overlook was Donald Driver, who had a pair of amazing catches in 2009: Donald Driver’s one-handed catch against the St. Louis Rams and Driver’s 1-hander against the Detroit Lions.

I don’t care that it’s against the Rams and Lions, those are impossible receptions. Big year for the veteran, who I frankly thought was on his last leg coming into the year.

Andre Johnson vs Cardinals

Also, if you want to see why Andre Johnson is one of the NFL’s best wide receivers right now, look at the physical domination shown by Andre Johnson vs the Arizona Cardinals. Andre Johnson just wills himself into the endzone, using his size to bowl over Cardinals defensive backs like he’s a fullback. By the way, AJ is also on my dynasty roster. (Too bad I keep burning out in the playoffs, in case you think my boasting is unseemly.)

Best Plays of 2010

Come back to Football Babble next year to see the Best NFL Plays of 2010. Meanwhile, we’ll be starting our coverage of the NFL offseason, the NFL Combine in a few weeks and the upcoming draft later in the spring. I’m really starting to hope these guys aren’t going to screw up a good thing and have a lockout in 2011. The NFL leadership really can be that dumb, can they?

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This entry was posted on Monday, February 8th, 2010 at 4:46 pmand is filed under Football, NFL. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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