Looking back at goats and gaffes

February, 10, 2010
2/10/10
10:23
AM ET
After re-watching most of Super Bowl XLIV, I was left wondering whether the goats and gaffes beyond Peyton Manning's late interception got off a bit easy. So let’s revisit a couple:

[+] EnlargeHank Baskett
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesHank Baskett, right, was unable to come up with the onside kick that started the second half.
Hank Baskett mangled the onside kick. He was wide to the side that Thomas Morstead sent the surprise second half kickoff to and took a giant step and a half back before realizing what was going on. Cody Glenn, who was beside him, and Ramon Humber, who was central, also reacted poorly. But Baskett’s the hands guy of that trio. He recovered and got a clean look at the kick before any Saints player arrived, sprawling forward and letting the ball bounce off his face mask. A horrific effort.

Another special-teams error came from Chad Simpson. The guy is not an explosive returner. If he’s not positive he’s getting to the 20 or beyond, he better take a touchback. So what is he doing at the end of the third quarter bringing out a kickoff from 4 yards deep when the best he could manage was the 11-yard line?

Reggie Wayne’s effort on two big passes seemed questionable. He and Manning can praise Tracy Porter endlessly, but Wayne seemed to give up on the route. He allowed Porter to gain position on a pattern analysts say he’s got to be sure continues and crosses the corner who’s in coverage. The move he made before he made his break didn’t look like much and the cut wasn’t very sharp. TV only showed it for a quick second, but Manning went to Wayne before walking off the field, head down, and said something to Wayne who kind of shook his head no and shrugged.

The Colts would have had to retrieve an onside kick and scored another touchdown, but Wayne also botched a TD catch near the end of the game. I asked him what happened there and he said he wasn’t in the end zone and was trying to ensure he had proper depth as he made the catch to make sure it was a score.

Maybe he was slow playing it, but Wayne seemed almost disinterested in his crossing route from wide to the left to between the hashes, and as the ball went through his hands, I didn’t think he was worrying about his depth, I thought he was worrying about Scott Shanle preparing to pop him.

Two other things of interest at this point in the game: On the first timeout, Manning signaled for it, then tried to change his mind. I was surprised by his indecision. And the third-down run call at 1:10 is just silly. The Colts couldn't afford the 21 seconds they lost when Joseph Addai was stuffed.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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