Sunday, February 04, 2007

Indy Star Recaps the Super Bowl XLI [J. Mark English]

The home town paper of the Colts recaps the victory for the Colts. Jeff Rabjohns of the Indy Star writes:

The rain came down in South Florida. Now the reign begins in Indianapolis.

Peyton Manning climbed to the pinnacle of professional football, and Tony Dungy secured a place in history as the Colts beat the Bears 29-17 Sunday night in Super Bowl XLI.

Manning's long-chronicled question for a championship was fulfilled under a steady rain at Dolphin Stadium.

Dungy became the first black head coach to win a Super Bowl after he and Chicago's Lovie Smith became the first black coaches to reach the Super Bowl.

The Colts fell behind 14-6 but reeled off 16 unanswered points to go ahead 22-14. Kelvin Hayden returned a Rex Grossman interception 56 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, and the Bears never threatened again.

Dominic Rhodes, an undrafted free agent in his sixth year in the NFL, rushed for a game-high 113 yards.

Rookie Joseph Addai, drafted after the Colts let Edgerrin James go to free agency, had 77 yards rushing and led the Colts in receiving with 10 catches for 66 yards.

In the playoffs for the seventh time in the past eight years after only three postseason appearances their first 13 years in Indy, the franchise that didn't win a home playoff game in Indy until 2003 is on top of the NFL.

It is the first major professional sports championship for Indianapolis since the Pacers won the final of three ABA titles in 1973.

There were six turnovers in the first half, four coming in a 49-minute first quarter that also included the first touchdown return on an opening kickoff in Super Bowl history. The Bears finished with five turnovers to the Colts' three.

The Colts allowed Devin Hester to return the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown, and Manning was intercepted by safety Chris Harris on the Colts first possession.

Manning, deftly avoiding the rush, found Reggie Wayne wide open for a 53-yard touchdown with 6:50 left in the first period. The extra-point snap slid through holder Hunter Smith's hands, leaving the Colts down 7-6.

The Colts squibbed the kickoff, and Tyjuan Hagler, who over ran Hester on the opening kickoff, jarred the ball loose from Gabe Reid and Robert Mathis recovered. The Colts gave the ball back on the next play when Alex Brown hit Joseph Addai on the handoff.

Thomas Jones ran for 52 yards, the Bears only significant gain of the first half. Three plays later, Rex Grossman threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Muhsin Muhammad and Chicago led 14-6.

Adam Vinatieri hit a 29-yard field goal and Dominic James followed with a 1-yard touchdown run that put the Colts up 16-14.

Vinatieri missed a 36-yard field goal at the end of the first half, but connected on field goals of 24 and 20 yards to put the Colts up 22-14 late in the third quarter.

After the Bears got a field goal, Hayden picked off Grossman, narrowly avoiding going out of bounds, and put the exclamation point on the Colts' season by diving into the end zone for a touchdown with 11:44 left.

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