- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 7, 2010

MIAMI — A record-tying 96-yard drive and a goal-line stand gave the Indianapolis Colts a 10-6 halftime lead over the New Orleans Saints in the Super Bowl.

The Colts matched the longest touchdown drive in Super Bowl history, capped by Peyton Manning’s 19-yard scoring pass to Pierre Garcon in the final minute of the first period for a 10-0 lead.

The Saints kicked a field goal, then drove 71 yards to the 1 late in the half. But on third down, Mike Bell was stopped for no gain, and Pierre Thomas had the same result on fourth down.

Gary Brackett hit Thomas first, and Clint Session finished off the tackle.

New Orleans’ Garrett Hartley kicked field goals of 46 and 44 yards, the latter on the final play of the half. It was a surprisingly low-scoring half by the NFL’s two most potent offenses and two most accurate quarterbacks.

The Colts, bidding for their second Super Bowl title in four years, drove 53 yards for a field goal on their opening possession, while the Saints totaled only one first down in their first two series.

The touchdown drive began after a punt pinned the Colts back at their 4. Manning threw from his end zone on the first play for a gain of 11. Joseph Addai ran for 16, 11 and 26 yards during the sequence. On third-and-6 at the 19, Manning hit Garcon in stride in the end zone on a simple go route.

In the 11-play drive, 61 yards came on the ground. The TD march matched the longest in Super Bowl history by the Chicago Bears against New England in 1986.

The Saints had a 179-169 edge in yards at the half. Manning was 10 for 16 for 97 yards, and Drew Brees was 16 for 22 for 164. Addai carried seven times for 60 yards.

All-Pro defensive end Dwight Freeney started for the Colts despite a sprained right ankle that left his status in question all week. His presence gave the defense a boost, and Indy dug in early against the NFL’s highest-scoring offense.

New Orleans, playing in the Super Bowl for the first time, was outgained 154-36 in the first quarter while running only 10 plays.

The Saints began to move the ball early in the second period, marching from their 11 to the Colts 22. But Freeney sacked Brees on third down, and Hartley kicked a 46-yard field goal.

The Saints took the opening kickoff, but went three and out. The Colts’ first play was an 18-yard completion from Manning to Dallas Clark.

Manning hit Austin Collie for 14 yards on third-and-7. But three plays later Manning overthrew Garcon on third down, and Indy settled for Matt Stover’s 38-yard field goal.

The 42-year-old Stover became the oldest player ever in a Super Bowl.

Courtney Roby fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, but the Saints’ Chris Reis recovered. New Orleans picked up one first down before punting again.

The Saints came in 15-3, while the Colts were 16-2, with Indy a five-point favorite.

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