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Saints go marching

NEW ORLEANS, January 25- Garrett Hartley kicked a 40-yard field goal in over-time to lift New Orleans past Minnesota 31-28 and send the Saints to their first Super Bowl, where they will face Indianapolis.
National Football League icon Brett Favre, the 40-year-old all-time passing leader who came out of retirement twice, saw his dream run fall short thanks to an interception in the final seconds of regulation on Sunday.

New Orleans, still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, has been inspired by the Saints, who were formed in 1967 and will finally play for a crown when they meet the Colts on February 7 in suburban Miami.

"This stadium used to have holes in it. It used to be wet. It’s not wet anymore," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "This is for the city of New Orleans."

The Saints next face a Colts team led by Peyton Manning, whose father Archie was the first star quarterback for the Saints.

Manning threw for 377 yards and three touchdowns to rally Indianapolis from an 11-point deficit to beat the visiting New York Jets 30-17.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw three touchdown passes and guided the Saints on their final drive.

"It’s a moment I’ve been waiting for for a long time," Brees said. "The job is not done yet but obviously we’re going to enjoy this. Now we’ve got to finish it in Miami."

Favre completed 28-of-48 passes for 310 yards and Adrian Peterson ran for three touchdowns but it was not enough to lift the Vikings into their first Super Bowl since 1977.

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"Brett did a good job of preparing us for Peyton," Saints star defender Darren Sharper said.

The Saints, with NFL’s best offensive unit, began sudden-death over-time on their own 39-yard line and were aided by two first downs by penalty and another on a fourth-down dive that withstood video review.

Minnesota, one of the NFL’s best at avoiding giveaways, committed five against the Saints, two within 10 yards of the Saints’ goal line and the last when Favre was picked off by Tracy Porter in the dying seconds of regulation to snuff out a scoring threat and force over-time.

Adrian Peterson’s third touchdown run, a two-yarder with 4:58 remaining in the fourth quarter, pulled Minnesota level at 28-28 and set the stage for the tense final drama.

Favre had suffered a left ankle injury late in the third quarter but returned to start the fourth, only to see Percy Harvin lose a fumble that allowed the Saints to seize the lead.

Brees flipped a five-yard pass to Reggie Bush that was first ruled out of bounds just shy of the goal line, but a video replay reversal ruled Bush had the ball in the end zone and New Orleans took a 28-21 lead with 12:39 to play.

The Saints grabbed their first lead at 21-14 on a nine-yard touchdown run by Pierre Thomas just 2:04 into the third quarter but the Vikings answered midway into the quarter on a one-yard Peterson touchdown run to even the score.

A muffed punt by Bush gave Minnesota the ball at the Saints’ 10-yard line in the final seconds of the second quarter but Peterson lost a fumble and the teams reached half-time deadlocked at 14-14.

Favre flipped a five-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice to give the Vikings a 14-7 lead with 2:11 remaining in the first quarter but New Orleans equalized just 6:41 later on a nine-yard pass from Brees to Devery Henderson.

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Peterson opened with scoring on a 19-yard touchdown run just 5:25 into the game but Pierre Thomas took a pass from Brees and completed a 38-yard touchdown play just 3:05 later to pull the Saints level at 7-7.

In Indianapolis, Manning completed 26-of-39 passes, 11 of them to Pierre Garcon for 151 yards and a touchdown, and was the first passer this season with three touchdowns against the Jets’ NFL-best defense as the Colts scored the final 24 points.

"We talked about being patient against these guys. It took some time to figure out what their plan of attack was," Manning said. "We stayed patient, didn’t panic, got a bead on them and beat them with the passing game."

Since moving from Baltimore to Indianapolis in 1984, the Colts’ only NFL title came in 2006, when Manning sparked a 29-17 victory over the Chicago Bears in the same stadium where they will play for a championship in two weeks.

Manning threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Austin Collie with 73 seconds remaining in the second quarter, lifting the Colts within 17-13 at half-time.

Manning used precision passing to march the Colts downfield to seize the lead for good early in the second half, connecting with Garcon on a four-yard touchdown pass that gave Indianapolis a 20-17 lead 6:57 into the third quarter.

"Peyton had an outstanding game. Once he had a bead on them he did extremely well," Colts coach Jim Caldwell said. "This has always been a confident bunch of guys. They don’t panic. They hung in there and played really well."

Manning threw a 15-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Dallas Clark with 8:52 to play, boosting the Indianapolis edge to 10 points.

"When you struggle against Peyton Manning, he will eat you alive," said Jets coach Rex Ryan.

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Colts kicker Matt Stover, who at 42 will be the oldest player in Super Bowl history, added a 21-yard field goal with 2:29 to play for the final points.

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  1. Qwani

    November 14, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    Can one really expect the ICC to reform?? Lets wait and see, but don’t hold your breath!

    • MuthiigiWaithekanyi9

      November 18, 2013 at 3:45 pm

      It will reform as it has little choice than to do so. The only question is whether it can reform to the extent that an ordinary citizen of Libya can take NATO to the Hague for the thousands of civillians who died in Tripoli during the Gadhafi regime change. Or a Syrian to take Assad or the Al Nusr Front to the Hague for the use of chemical weapons without inviting a veto from Russia or France.

  2. Anduuru Aggrey

    November 16, 2013 at 10:16 am

    While in agreement with your postulation-we may need to also relook at Africa, more specifically Kenyan motivations for pushing for reforms at the International Criminal Court. The signatories to the Rome Statute were not blind to the powers of the instruments, organs, and agents of the International Criminal Court; and that is why before the election of President Kenyatta and with it the implicit endorsement of the deputy president Ruto as a consequence thereof of that election; both Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto lobbied hard for their cases to be heard on the more equitable platform of the ICC.
    Surely it cannot be that following their election and the fastracking of their cases before the ICC by the Office of the Prosecutor, that now the ICC is applying selective justice to them. They wanted their cases heard at the Hague.
    All Western powers pushing for the cases to be heard before the Hague had their own misgivings about the jurisdiction of the ICC and sought instead to empower their local courts to hear cases brought against their citizens engaged in the international theater of geo politics. This is the reason why the US, Britain, and France are not signatory to the Rome Statute- they have put their own judicial mechanisms in order to try crimes against humanity. Whether these mechanisms are fair or not is not the crux of the matter today.
    The crux is…wasn’t Kenya granted this opportunity to form an local mechanism to try these cases and the offer flatly rejected by the Legislature, under the onus of Don’t be vague it is the Hague. Africans have to learn to stop [email protected]%ting on their plates today then complaining about the smell tomorrow.

    • MuthiigiWaithekanyi9

      November 18, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      Factually inaccurate: Britain and France ARE signatories to the Rome Statute. It is the US, Russia and China that are not.
      Regarding the local mechanism, the MP’s who supported the Hague option did so for the same reason that ODM refused to challenge the 2007 elections in court: namely, that they did not trust the existing judiciary.

      • Anduuru Aggrey

        December 3, 2013 at 5:45 pm

        As regards the issue of accuracy of information I stand corrected on the membership of the ICC. However as to the issue of duplicity by the Pro Hague Dont be Vague campaigners who have now turned and gotten cold feet…the issue remains the same.

        The local judiciary still has not changed…even with the provisions of a new constitution.

        What is being questioned here is the integrity of the Pro Hague Dont be Vague campaigners. The insult to the justice system when they voted for the Hague process was real and not apparent, and rebuttal for a local tribunal was not the product of the ideological struggle between ODM and PNU as you may be trying to allude.

        The Pro Hague Dont be Vague campaigners just did what every body in a legal battle seeks to do and that is find a system that is sympathetic to their case and that is still the game plan.

  3. Kwessi Pratt

    November 21, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Currently there is no basis to reform ICC. Demands for reform are singularly being made to protect Kenyan suspects. More importantly, African despots have found voice against ICC simply because they are future ICC candidates, or fear all the same, they would be brought to account. Changes cant be effected purely on the whims of suspects or prospective suspects. And ICC didnt invite reforms simply because Kenyan individuals abused their own constitution to run for very offices they now want to enjoy international seal of approval! That chapter 6 of Kenya’s constitution barred them from running for these same same offices they want to be protected speaks volumes. Certainly push to have impunity reign supreme is underway.
    No wonder Africa is pointing crimes in other parts of the world to up its case! In other words, we are saying despots in Africa should not be punished untill cases else where are dealt with! Thats illogical and unworthy listening to. Genuine cases demand clear morals not just pointing fingers! African dictators are telling the world they should be left alone to continue killing Africans. Thats not acceptable at all …. at all!
    In countries like Iraq, these dictators are not telling us a whole leadership was brought to account. Most of the guys were hanged and others are serving long long prison terms! The remaining violence in that country is essentially guerrilla warfare. And untill leaders involved are identified, there is little the world can do. In Sri lanka, bitter civil war was won by government. It later emerged crimes against humanity might have been committed. Investigations are already underway. And once its established indeed unusual happened, swift indictments would certainly follow. Therefore, no African cases are anywhere close to these other places mentioned.
    Dictators in Africa need to stop killing their people before they shout race hunt. Is it a coincidence ruthless blood thirsty dictators are mostly found in Africa? This is the question that needs to be addressed without pointing fingers! Why compare your crimes with others if you deserve to be listened to? We should be pointing out our innocence to demand reforms. That way, no one would accuse us of double standards. In any case, once president and his deputy are removed from ICC search light, the court would lose its very purpose! Killings are supposed to be stopped before or when they start. However, if dictators are granted immunity in course of their atrocities, they might as well kill all their respective citizens! They might elect to leave only their tribesmen to run the show and then, commit suicide before they face justice!!!!

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