Monday, February 8, 2010

Pierre Garcon, Colts come up short of title

MIAMI GARDENS — A breakout season capped by a touchdown in a Super Bowl in his backyard.

Pierre Garcon probably would have jumped at that script before this season.

He wasn't Sunday night.

Super Bowl XLIV was only over for a half-hour when Garcon, an Indianapolis Colts second-year receiver from John I. Leonard High, already was thinking about what he had to do to improve for next season, and what it would take for that season to end unlike this one.

Not only had the Colts had dropped a 31-17 decision to the New Orleans Saints at Sun Life Stadium, but Garcon had two dropped passes, including one that could have put the Colts in position to take a two-touchdown lead in the second quarter.

"It could have made the difference in the game," Garcon said.

Garcon finished with five catches for 66 yards, well short of the record 11receptions and 151 yards he had two weeks prior in the AFC Championship Game. But for the second consecutive game, Garcon had a role in rewriting the record books, catching a 19-yard scoring pass from Peyton Manning in the first quarter to complete a 96-yard drive, the longest in Super Bowl history.

"It gave me confidence that we'd do well," Garcon said. "We were playing well."

Smart, too. Manning realized that cornerback Jabari Greer had left briefly with an injury and was replaced by third-year backup Usama Young. Garcon took an inside route to fly past Young. By the time safety Roman Harper drifted over to help deep, it was too late. The only thing stopping Garcon was the guardrail beyond the end zone, which he ran into after easily catching the pass.

"We just took advantage of the coverage," Garcon said.

Garcon was engulfed by center Jeff Saturday, watched a replay of himself on the video boards, and might have been on his way to the storybook finish he dreamed of that would have included parading off the field with the flag of Haiti. All week, Garcon, whose family is from Haiti, talked about attempting to lift spirits following the earthquake.

Indianapolis' next series showed that on this night, not everything would go Garcon's way. On third-and-4 from the Colts' 28, Garcon drifted into the clear over the middle and was spotted by Manning ... but the ball fell off Garcon's fingertips to the ground.

"I saw it late," Garcon said. "I should have made the catch. It was right there."

The big stage had nothing to do with it, Garcon said.

"It's just another football game to me," he said. "I don't buy into all that hoopla and the media stuff. It's just trying to score touchdowns and win the game."

Although he didn't do that, Garcon did keep alive a scoring string for wide receivers from the area in Super Bowls. Garcon lived in Belle Glade and dreamed of playing in the Muck Bowl before his family moved to West Palm Beach. Santonio Holmes did just that as a Glades Central standout before earning Super Bowl MVP honors last year with his tip-toe touchdown for Pittsburgh's winning score with 35 seconds left.

That's the kind of ending Garcon will seek in his third year after making four receptions as a rookie, then following it with a 765-yard season that ended just shy of a ring.

"I still have a long way to go," said Garcon, 23. "It's very emotional.

You've got to deal with it and use it for motivation for next year. It's part of the game. You've got to learn how to lose. We'll make a run for it next year."


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