February 11, 2010
Reggie Bush(notes) may have finally grown up in the 2010 playoffs, typified best by this effort against the Cardinals. The lateral cut he makes at the Cardinals' 44 is just sick. It's the kind of thing we've been waiting to see from Reggie Bush since he was drafted. The maturation came just in time for the Saints.
It deserves to rank higher in terms of importance and the pure joy of the moment, but it's an entire playoff season, and we can rank field goals only so high. Still, in a playoff season that was plagued by gagging kickers, young Garrett Hartley(notes) stepped up and made the biggest field goal in Saints history.
On the first play from scrimmage in this divisional round game, Tim Hightower(notes) took a handoff from Kurt Warner(notes), picked his hole, made one cut and was gone. It was an exciting moment for the Cardinals ... and then the rest of the game happened.
No one can say that Tony Romo(notes) can't win a playoff game anymore. In the wild-card round, Romo and the Cowboys decided to go ahead and move in with the Eagles, after making them their girlfriends in Week 17.
With Darrelle Revis(notes) firmly entrenched inside Reggie Wayne's(notes) jockstrap, Peyton Manning(notes) needed to find other targets against the Jets in the AFC championship game. Pierre Garcon(notes) was that guy. Garcon, the Haitian sensation, finished the game with 11 catches, 151 yards and a touchdown, and it was pretty sweet to see the Haitian flag draped over him as he held the Lamar Hunt trophy.
While the defense, Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez(notes) have gotten plenty of well-deserved credit, it was a 53-yard run from Shonn Greene(notes) that broke the backs of the Chargers. His offensive line opened up a small crack, and Greene burst through it and was off to the races. The Chargers couldn't come back from it.
Another first-play-from-scrimmage job, this Ray Rice(notes) run set the tone against the Patriots. He found a hole through the middle of the line, made a cut on the safety, and 83 yards later, the Patriots were in trouble.
The Colts were in the midst of a methodical, defensive win against the Ravens when Peyton Manning made what could have been a crucial mistake. Ed Reed(notes) jumped in front of one of his passes, but in the process of one of his patented returns, was caught from behind by Pierre Garcon, who knocked the ball loose and saved possession for the Colts.
Karlos Dansby(notes) found a way to give a defensive ending to a classic playoff game that was otherwise 100 percent offense. The Packers and Cardinals racked up a combined 1,000 yards of offense, but it was Dansby who picked up an Aaron Rodgers(notes) fumble and took it in for six to win this one, 51-45.
A gutsy call from head coach Sean Payton worked out perfectly, and from then on, the Saints rode that momentum like Seabiscut. Thomas Morstead(notes) executed the short kick, Hank Baskett(notes) couldn't wrap his hands around the football, and Chris Reis(notes) came out of the pile with the pigskin. A legendary moment in Super Bowl history.
It looked like Brett Favre(notes) and the Vikings would cruise into field-goal position and put the Saints away to advance to the Super Bowl, but evil Brett couldn't help but surface one more time. Favre rolled to his right, opted not to pick up the yards he could've had on the ground, and threw across his body right into the chest of Tracy Porter(notes). The game went to overtime, No. 11 on this list happened, and the Saints were headed to the Super Bowl.
Another huge moment for another legendary quarterback ... and it turns into another interception for "Legend Killer" Tracy Porter. It sealed the Super Bowl for the Saints and started a party on Bourbon Street that's probably still going. This one, too, will go down as one of the great moments in Super Bowl history.
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