February 7, 2010

Hartley, Porter, Brees complete unbelievable postseason performances

These three players were among the best for the Saints in the postseason, though countless others rose to the occasion for huge plays in the playoffs.

Kicker Garrett Hartley is in just his second season as a kicker in the NFL, and the Superbowl he was rock solid - cleanly connecting on field goals of 46 and 44 yards in the second quarter and adding a 47 field goal on the slick grass of Sun Life Stadium.

Hartley completes a perfect post-season for his team that stuck with him through a four-game suspension - connecting on all five field goal attempts, all from 40 or more yards, and 12 extra points. It adds up to one of the single best post-seasons for a kicker in league history, the best since Eddie Murray was a perfect 6/6, 11/11 for the 1993 Superbowl Champion Cowboys, but two of those field goals were from less than 25 yards.


Second year CB Tracy Porter, a native of Port Allen, La., had game-clinching interceptions in both the NFC Championship (intercepting Brett Favre's ill-conceived pass with seconds left in regulation) and in the Superbowl (picking Manning with minutes left and returning it for a coffin-nailing touchdown). He picked off two first ballot Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Favre and Manning, and may have caught Favre's final pass in the NFL.

Porter's two interceptions are next to three passes defensed and 17 tackles. He and Jabari Greer, who was also outstanding during the playoffs, gave the Saints the ability to handle some of the league's premiere receivers: Larry Fitzgerald, Bernard Berrian, a red-hot Sidney Rice, Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon all went up against the 2009 Saints defense and lost.

The Saints defense defeated all five Superbowl winning quarterbacks they faced this season: defeating Eli Manning and Tom Brady in the regular season, and Kurt Warner, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning in the playoffs. (Porter sat out the victory over Brady with a knee injury.)


QB Drew Brees' postseason was the most outstanding. Brees took the worst of what the Vikings defense had in the NFC Championship game and he took a vicious hit from Dwight Freeney in the Superbowl. But Brees didn't turn the ball over a single time in their three-game playoff run. He completed an unbelievable 82.1% of his Superbowl passes and 70.6% of his passes in the playoffs.

His pass completion percentage was the second most in Super Bowl history behind Phil Simms in Super Bowl XXI, who completed 22 of 25 passes.

Brees' three game 2009-10 postseason numbers: 72 of 102, 732 yards, 8 touchdowns, zero interceptions, zero fumbles lost, only two sacks and 117.0 QB Rating. That's good for the seventh best Super Bowl winning QB postseason of all time, behind only these names: Joe Montana (1989), Bart Starr (1966), Phil Simms (1986), Troy Aikman (2002), Steve Young (1994), and tied with Montana (1988).

Brees was named the Super Bowl MVP and tied the game record with 32 completions for 288 yards and two touchdowns. He finished the game by completing 10 consecutive passes, including all his attempts in the fourth quarter, the second longest streak in Super Bowl history.

Brees' career postseason QB rating is 103.7, second only Bart Starr (104.8).

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