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Saints' Porter jumps Wayne's route, runs into Super Bowl history

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- For more than three quarters on Sunday, the New Orleans Saints' defense waited for that opportunity.

The Saints stayed aggressive -- which has been their calling card all season -- and when the opportunity came, cornerback Tracy Porter ran with it.


On a third-and-5 play, with New Orleans leading by seven points and Indianapolis driving, Porter saw Austin Collie in motion, read the Colts' formation and knew the ball was going to Reggie Wayne on a short in-route.

"We knew that Collie was a guy that they usually put at No. 1," Porter said. "Once he motioned down, we knew (Wayne) was going to run to the sticks. I saw him do that. I jumped the route, and the ball came to me."

Porter trusted his instincts and made the interception, returning it 74 yards for the touchdown that sealed the Saints' 31-17 Super Bowl victory with just over 3 minutes remaining.

According to Porter, his game-changing interception began back in the film room.

"I'd seen it over and over -- third down," Porter said. "That was a big route for them to convert on. Through the numerous amounts of film study that we've done all week in preparing for the Super Bowl, and it all happened just like I was watching it on film. I made the break on it, and here comes the end zone."

Wayne couldn't help but give credit to Porter's awareness.

"We ran it earlier in the game," Wayne said. "Tracy did a good job of recognizing it and made a good play."

Porter's pick-six wouldn't have been possible without the pressure provided by the Saints' blitz.

"It wasn't a cover zero, but we put a lot of pressure," Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said. "Tracy believed and knew that the ball had to come out quick. He saw the formation, and he knew that it wouldn't be a deep route. He jumped the route, and that's what we wanted to do."

Williams' game plan, which involved continuously changing the defense's looks and increasing the pressure on Colts quarterback Peyton Manning throughout the game, finally paid off in the fourth quarter.

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"At the end of the ballgame, we came with a lot of pressure," Williams said. "We said this on Day One after the championship game: If the game's close in the fourth quarter, we're going to be who we are, and that's my reputation. That's our reputation. They're going to have to earn the ballgame."

Ironically, Porter said he nearly missed the bus from the team hotel because of a last-minute hair cut before the game. Sitting on the podium afterward, Porter proudly displayed the image of the Lombardi Trophy, the Louisiana Superdome and "SB44" etched into the sides and back of his head.

"The Superdome is the road to the Lombardi Trophy" Porter said. "And now you can look at the Lombardi Trophy and the same road back to the Superdome."

Late to the bus, early on the route. The formula proved to be a good one for Porter, who only months earlier wasn't even sure he would be able to play after a knee injury sidelined him for four games.

"It was a bad knee injury," Porter said. "During that time, I was real down, thinking I wasn't going to come back. Second year in a row, thinking maybe I was jinxed. I was going to be labeled that player that wasn't durable. I came back four weeks out, and here I am today."

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