The Colts were living on borrowed time and their luck finally ran out Sunday.

The Colts had no miracle finishes left Sunday as they ran into a Saints team that was flat out better.

After masking a depleted, inexperienced secondary with a ferocious pass rush all season, a hobbled Dwight Freeney had nothing left.

After fitting pass after pass into impossible windows all year long, the Saints finally slammed it shut on Peyton Manning.

Each week the Colts found new ways to complete fourth-quarter comebacks, but they ran out of tricks.

After one of the easiest paths to a Super Bowl in recent history, the Colts met their match, and stumbled against the best team they faced all season.

The Saints beat the Colts at their own game, playing the come-from-behind role perfectly.

New Orleans trailed 10-0, but outscored the Colts 31-7 the rest of the way.

Perhaps the Colts didn’t know what to do with a lead. Up 10-0 heading into the second quarter, the Colts lost their killer instinct.

After a huge goal line stand that preserved a 10-3 lead late in the second quarter, the Colts became what they aren’t – conservative.

The Colts uncharacteristically tried to burn the clock and get into halftime, running up the middle three straight times. As a result they were forced to punt back to the Saints, who capitalized with a field goal before halftime. The Saints not only trimmed the Colts’ lead to four, but also stole the momentum.

While Jim Caldwell and the Colts got conservative, Sean Payton and the Saints went after the victory.

On the opening play of the second half the Saints took the game into their own hands. An onside kick hit Hank Baskett right in the – wait for it – breadbasket. He couldn’t hang on and even worse, he couldn’t come up with the ball at the bottom of the pile when he had the first crack at it.

The Saints marched down the field, went ahead 13-10, and changed the tone of the game. The Colts still managed to reclaim the lead, but with a 17-16 advantage they made another terrible decision.

Facing a fourth-and-11 from the Saints’ 33-yard line Caldwell made an inexplicable move, trotting out 42-year old kicker Matt Stover for a 51-yard field goal attempt.

Not surprising to anyone, except Caldwell apparently, Stover didn’t have the juice to push it through and it floated helplessly wide.

The missed field goal gave the Saints the ball at the 41-yard line and they quickly gashed the Colts’ secondary and took the lead for good.

Ultimately, the Colts’ bend but don’t break defense broke in the second half. Freeney gave a valiant effort on a bum ankle in the first half, but had nothing left down the stretch. Without a pass rush the Colts’ secondary was ripe for the picking and Drew Brees picked.

The Colts still had a chance to tie things up with time winding down, but Manning made his first big mistake of the game and fired a pass into the gut of Saints’ defensive back Tracy Porter, who took it to the house to clinch the win for New Orleans.

With everything on the line, Manning made a big play. Unfortunately for the Colts it was a terrible one.

In the end, the Colts didn’t have another miracle in them.

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