NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The New Orleans Saints are marching to the Super Bowl for the first time in their 43-year history. Garrett Hartley boomed a game-winning 40-yard field goal in overtime to give the Saints a 31-28 victory over Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings.
The team that had no home five years ago after Hurricane Katrina ravaged its city and the Superdome overcame a slew of mistakes in the biggest game the Big Easy has ever seen.
The Saints won the coin toss in overtime, Drew Brees guided them to the Minnesota 22 and Hartley won it. The kicker was suspended at the start of the season for using a banned stimulant. But he became New Orleans' newest hero by splitting the uprights 4:45 into OT.
Brees tossed three touchdown passes while completing 17 of 31 for 197 yards. His opposite number, the 40-year-old Favre, was 28 of 46 for 310 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. One INT came at the end of regulation and cost the Vikes a chance at a game-winning field goal. The Vikings self-destructed with five turnovers.
Winning coach Sean Peyton, remembering the disaster that Hurricane Katrina caused, said: "This stadium used to have holes in it and used to be wet. It's not wet anymore. This is for the city of New Orleans."
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Four-time MVP Peyton Manning tossed three touchdown passes and the Indianapolis Colts rallied from an 11-point first-half deficit to beat the New York Jets 30-17 in the AFC championship game.
The 16-and-2 Colts are now headed back to Miami for the second time in four years and their fourth Super Bowl in franchise history.
Manning finished 26 of 39 for 377 yards. He became the first player in league history with seven 300-yard postseason games. That broke a tie with Kurt Warner and Joe Montana.
After falling behind 17-6 late in the first half, Manning finally responded. He took the Colts 80 yards in four plays, hooking up three straight times with rookie Austin Collie, including the 16-yard TD pass that made it 17-13 with 1:13 to go in the half. He hit Pierre Garcon (gahr-SOHN') in the back corner of the end zone to make it 20-17 with 8:03 left in the third quarter. Manning sealed the deal midway through the fourth when Dallas Clark caught a 15-yard TD pass to make it 27-17.
Jets coach Rex Ryan says the difference was Manning: "With Peyton Manning, if you don't disrupt his rhythm, he's going to kill you," Ryan said. "And we didn't disrupt him enough."
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Has Brett Favre played his last NFL game? Could be.
Favre, who unretired to get a shot at the Super Bowl with Minnesota, seemed to act as if this were his finale after his Vikes lost 31-28 in overtime to New Orleans. The Saints capitalized on a big Favre mistake near the end of regulation with the score tied.
The 40-year-old quarterback threw away Minnesota's chance for its first Super Bowl trip in 33 years with an interception deep in Saints territory in the final seconds of regulation. In hindsight, Farve said he "probably should have run the ball" to get into field goal range.
The final pick was Favre's 20th career postseason interception, which led to Minnesota's fifth straight loss in a conference championship. The Vikings have never won a Super Bowl.
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Las Vegas is making Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts early four-point favorites to beat New Orleans in the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 in Miami.
That was the line provided by oddsmaker Sean Van Patten of Las Vegas Sports Consultants, which provides betting lines for roughly 90 percent of sports books in Nevada.
Patten says oddsmakers like that Indianapolis has succeeded against two top NFL defenses in consecutive games and the Colts' experience in big games.