AFC South: Super Bowl 44
Of course he downplays his first chance at the ball, which he had a clean shot at even after being surprised -- it bounced off his face mask.
A few days after the game, I tried to get Baskett to talk about it, but his agent passed.
Courtesy of the Eagles PR staff, here’s that snippet of his interview after rejoining the Eagles:
On whether he caught any flack for losing the onside kick in the Super Bowl:
“I thought everybody was going to come down on me for it. As everybody knows, anybody who follows football, one play does not change the game. It sucks that the first onside kick in history before the fourth quarter had to happen to me. It was a battle underneath the pile, but I actually haven’t been just beaten down about it. I knew I was probably going to catch some grief. Of course, it’s the biggest game of the year, but not what I was expecting or anybody else was expecting.”
On whether he knew that the onside kick was coming:
“I took the step, I took the steps back and then I saw it coming. I went and it took a bad bounce and I don’t know how I had a second chance. I crawled under everybody and got back on it. It was a long time underneath there. Guys on our team attested that they heard it was ‘blue ball’ so when I started getting up, another guy poked it out and that’s how the guy got it. It was a long battle. I’ll tell you, it seemed like we were down there for a good half hour.”
DAVIE, Fla. -- Veteran left guard Ryan Lilja missed the second day of the AFC Champion Indianapolis Colts’ practice week Thursday with what coach Jim Caldwell called a back injury that he did not think would jeopardize the six-year-veteran’s status for Sunday’s Super Bowl match against the New Orleans Saints.
“I suspect he’ll be ready to play,’’ Caldwell said as night fell in south Florida, after the Colts’ two-hour, 15-minute practice that ended under the lights.
The severity of the injury to Lilja, who was one of 20 Colts listed on the injury report, was unclear. Seventeen of those 20 players practiced without restriction Thursday, with only defensive end Dwight Freeney (ankle) and cornerback Jerraud Powers (foot) missing any portion of practice. Both missed the entire workout while receiving treatment inside the Dolphins’ practice facility, Caldwell said.
Asked about the health of Freeney and Powers, Caldwell said: “They’re both improving rapidly.’’ Freeney said earlier in the day he may try to test his grade-three ankle sprain in Friday’s practice or during Saturday’s walkthrough.
Caldwell said this was a typical Colts’ Thursday practice, though almost all of the team’s gameplan was installed last week in Indianapolis. He said the team “wasn’t as sharp as we’d like to be,’’ though you couldn’t tell by the effectiveness of the first-team offense. In four nickel and two-minute offensive sessions in the last hour of practice, Peyton Manning completed 25 of 28 throws against a crew of Colt backups posing at the Saint scout. His last throw in one of the two-minute sessions was a perfectly thrown rollout to Dallas Clark in the end zone. It was the second straight sharp practice for Manning, prepping for his second Super Bowl start in four seasons.
“If you watch us practice,’’ Caldwell said, “the thing you notice with Peyton is the ball is not on the ground very often. The way he threw today was typical Peyton.’’
The highlight for the defense was an interception off scout-team quarterback Curtis Painter by linebacker Clint Session on a deflected pass off the hands of backup receiver Hank Baskett. To the cheers of his defensive mates, Session picked the ball off and ran up the left sideline.
For the second straight day, the Colts seemed loose and businesslike on a perfect day for football -- 71 degrees, mostly sunny with a slight wind from the east. Manning finished the last offensive drive of the day as dusk fell on the complex with a short touchdown strike to Clark.
The Colts resume practice Friday at the Dolphins complex at 2:15 p.m., with a final walk-through tuneup here Saturday.
1. Two Big Dogs, no big underdog. Looking for Cinderella? The Colts were 14-0 this year and are led by four-time MVP Peyton Manning. Because of their history, the Saints will likely be cast in the underdog role, but Indianapolis isn’t going to buy it. Like Indianapolis, New Orleans came into the playoffs as a No. 1 seed and won two home games to qualify for the Super Bowl.
But the Saints, known as lovable losers for so long, are the fresh story. A city, still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, gets a huge boost from the team’s first trip to the title game. Might the Saints be in position to be overwhelmed by the experience while the Colts, who won the game just four years ago, benefit from the experience?
2. Hey kids, do you like the passing game? The Colts (second in NFL) and Saints (fourth) live by the pass. They’re centered on top-flight quarterbacks. That will make for a lot of prognostications about an aerial assault and a big shootout in Miami.
Trouble is, it’s pigeonholing either club to suggest it’s all about Peyton Manning or Drew Brees.
The Saints are a balanced offense, with a run game that was sixth in the league keyed by Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas. The Colts have a stingy scoring defense that’s allowed only 18.2 points a game and limited opponents in the regular season to seven passing plays of 30 yards or more.
Turnovers, always a key, are a New Orleans forte. The Saints were third in the NFL with a plus-11 differential, while Indy was plus-two.
3. Manning against the team of his youth. Manning is from New Orleans, where his dad, Archie, starred for the Saints. Cooper Manning, Peyton’s older brother, admitted Sunday it’d be awkward for him and some of the family, but they looked forward to sorting through it all.
The Colts are 5-5 all time against New Orleans. Manning lost his first two games to his hometown team, but has won the last two by scores of 55-21 in 2003 and 41-10 in 2007.
The Colts are also 2-1 all-time in Super Bowls in Miami, where they’ve played all three times they’ve advanced. Baltimore lost Super Bowl III to the Jets and won Super Bowl V over Dallas in south Florida. The Indianapolis Colts beat Chicago in Miami in Super Bowl XLI.