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Week 1 vs. MIN
Passing: 27 - 36, 237 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 4 / -6 / 0
Like a maestro conducting a talented orchestra, Saints QB Drew Brees, had the New Orleans offense playing together in perfect rhythm early on in this game. It appeared that the Saints would come out and stretch the thin, depleted secondary of the Vikings all night long, and they had some success doing so early on. After the first few drives however, the symphony took a dramatic turn and resembled more of a slower paced score. The 2nd half saw a complete change in game plan, mostly comprised of Brees handing the ball off to Pierre Thomas on cut back plays. Brees hit nine different receivers with the leading receiver tallying a pedestrian 62 yards. His only TD came on a 29 yard pass to Devery Henderson in the first quarter. Robert Meachem dropped a would be 2nd TD in the 4th quarter, leaving Brees' fantasy owners disappointed in his opening performance.
Week 2 vs. SF
Passing: 28 - 38, 254 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Receiving: 1 / 7 / 0 on 1 targets
Whether it was the nasty winds of Candlestick Park or excellent downfield coverage by the 49ers, the star QB ran a much more conservative game-plan on Monday night. Of course in the end it really didn't matter because when the Saints needed to move the ball late in the 4th, Brees completed multiple downfield throws to put his team in position to win. Still Brees threw a ton of check down passes, hitting his RB's & TE's for combined 19 passes. Very typical of Brees was the completions to 8 different players (including a 7 yarder to himself). Conservative but nearly flawless in his execution on this night.
Week 3 vs. ATL
Passing: 30 - 38, 365 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT
Brees was more or less his typical self save for one of his two interceptions being due to an uncharacteristically dumb decision. Brees was about to be sacked in the second quarter and instead of taking the sack he attempted an underhand/underthrown shovel pass right into the hands of a sidestepping Thomas DeCoud. Brees' other interception came on a deep bomb to Devery Henderson that was beautifully picked off by Brent Grimes. Other than these two mistakes Drew Brees was more or less Drew Brees, completing a ridiculous 83.3% of his passes for another-day-at-the-office 365 yards. If it weren't for Saints kicker Garrett Hartley's overtime field goal kick miss, Brees' masterful performance would have been for a winning effort. The man's accuracy is just unreal --- especially when thrown deep. He either threw a laser or a rainbow and both of them were absolutely beautiful. He stayed in the pocket and remained calm and collected from the first quarter all the way to his potentially-game-winning drive in overtime. All that really needs to be said about his overall performance Sunday is that his yards-per-passing-attempt was an absolutely asinine (in a good way) 9.6. When you combine this with the fact that he went 30/38 with 365 yards... this man truly is the Picasso of quarterbacks. But he is human, which is good to see sometimes.
Week 4 vs. CAR
Passing: 33 - 48, 275 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 1 / -1 / 0
Brees came out early and efficiently executed a varied gameplan that got all of his receivers and both primary running backs involved, but the first drive was rendered fruitless with Lance Moore fumbled at the goal line. He moved the offense well on the second drive, and this time Moore held on to the ball as he entered the end zone. A third drive into Carolina territory was ended by a Chris Ivory fumble, and a fourth first-half drive into Panther territory stalled out inside the 20 and only yielded a field goal. Brees was not finding open wide receivers downfield mostly because of good Panther coverage. Instead, he settled for numerous short route and checkdown targets to the tight ends, RB Ladell Betts, and WRs Lance Moore and Devery Henderson. Brees also went cold early in the second half, making uncharacteristically bad throws to let the Panthers regain momentum, but he made all the necessary plays to get the Saints in position for what would become the game-winning FG. It wasn't a performance his fantasy owners will love, but Brees did more than enough for his team to win on Sunday.
Week 5 vs. ARI
Passing: 24 - 39, 279 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: 2 / 2 / 0
He played alright through the first three quarters of the football game and then he had to push things in order to try and get the Saints back in the game and that's when Brees started making mistakes. 2 of his interceptions came in the 4th quarter after the Saints fell behind 23-13. It should be noted also that John Carney missed an easy chip shot FG that would have ended up being the game tying FG and Brees likely would not have thrown the last interception which was returned for a touchdown and instead the game would have headed into overtime. The lack of a running game and a true weapon at the position is hampering the Saints and making them much easier for defenses to sit back and defend. I was looking for signs of the injury to Brees near his knee but didn't really see anything that was conclusive that he might be suffering more than we know. He moved around fins and was able to buy extra time in the pocket. His big play of the day was a 50 yard strike to Robert Meachem which almost brought the Saints all the way back. This game was not lost by Brees but rather the overall effort of the Saints and a lack of a running game.
Week 6 vs. TB
Passing: 21 - 32, 263 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 2 / 2 / 0
He was surgeon like during the 1st quarter of Sunday's game. That term gets tossed around some but Brees just tore thru the Bucs defense like swiss cheese early. He was 8 of 9 for 141 yds and 2 TDs in the 1st quarter which means his stats the rest of the way were actually pretty bland however the Saints got up early and went on long drives that ate up chunks of clock. The Bucs only had 4 drives in the 1st half. To say the Saints were efficient is an understatement. If Brees is suffering from a knee injury it certainly didn't show this past weekend. The touchdown he threw to Lance Moore on the 1st drive was an absolute rope down the sidelines, not one of those floaters that WRs run underneath; no this was a rope and it was a thing of beauty. The Bucs DB had no idea what hit him on that play. Overall a very strong effort for the Saints and FF owners.
Week 7 vs. CLE
Passing: 37 - 56, 356 yards, 2 TD, 4 INT
356 yards and a couple TD's..Another ho-hum performance for Drew Brees, right? Wrong. Brees was horrific in this game. If you watched the first half, and had no idea who the players were, you would assume that Brees was one of the worst QB's in the league. Not only did he throw 4 int's, two of which were returned for TD's, but he threw 2 additional passes that were right in the defenders hands. There should have been SIX interceptions. And there was also one other pass that COULD have been intercepted, though it would have taken a great play. Brees was just not on the same page as any of his receivers. It also looked like his receivers weren't getting open either. Many times, Brees just stood in the pocket waiting, and then was forced to take a sack or throw it away due to the defense of the Browns. It was an incredible gameplan by the Browns. Brees was able to throw for a bunch of yards in the 2nd half, due to the prevent defense of the Browns, which definitely padded his stats. But in crunch-time, Brees and the Saints could do nothing offensively. It really seems to me that the Saints miss Reggie Bush.
Week 8 vs. PIT
Passing: 34 - 44, 305 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 3 / -2 / 0
Brees looked much better in this game than in his last outing vs Cleveland. In fact, his second half in this game was vintage Brees. He completed 20 of 22 for 191 yards in that half alone by throwing short, rhythm passes and being deadly accurate. Under siege all night, he stayed composed and ended the game as its most effective player. His only blemish was a first half throw that he rushed while being blitzed. He was looking for his slot receiver on a post but didn't see Ike Taylor --- who left his receiver on the outside to undercut the throw and pick it off. It would've been a very difficult thing for any QB to see --- especially throwing from his own endzone in the face of the ferocious Steelers' pass rush, but we've come to expect Brees to be safer with the ball than he's been this year.
He shook it off, however, by attacking the holes in Steeler zones. Intermediate routes on the sidelines between corners and safeties seemed to work most of the second half, and having big receivers like Colston, Meachem, and Henderson certainly doesn't hurt. The touchdown to Colston was a beautiful read and perfect throw. Brees sniffed one-on-one coverage by Steelers' corner Bryant McFadden on Colston and hit him with an outside ball that only he could catch. After a huge Steelers blitz combined with Brees holding on to the ball for a second too long created a fumble, the Saints came back out on their next possession and really utilized short routes to get the ball out of Brees' hands fast and neutralize the rush. The Saints got next to nothing on the ground in this one and pretty much abandoned the run game. Brees had to win this game with his arm and his receivers. He did so and is on his way back to being his old elite self if the Saints continue the creative, quick-hitting playcalling that made them so dangerous last year.
Week 9 vs. CAR
Passing: 27 - 43, 253 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Drew Brees had a solid game, completed the majority of his passes, and led his team to a fantastically easy victory over the hapless Carolina Panthers. But I continue to see signs that this offense is just not clicking. In the first half, they only had one real TD drive, as their first TD was after a fumble recovery. The Panthers did a really nice job attacking Brees in the first half, and forced him into some bad throws. The INT was a result of a rushed throw, and he threw another terrible pass that a defender should have intercepted. Brees just wasn't on the same page as many of his receivers for the first portion of this game. But as the game went on, Brees settled down, and begin to hit Colston and Moore and keep possession of the ball. There is a complete lack of big play ability by the Saints right now. It looks like teams are able to put more pressure on Brees now, and cover the deep portion of the field. The loss of Bush certainly plays a large part in that, as not having that safety valve certainly is changing the way that teams are attacking New Orleans. It will be interesting to see if the offense takes off when Bush returns.
Week 11 vs. SEA
Passing: 29 - 43, 382 yards, 4 TD, 2 INT
Brees seemed more than content early on to go with the short game: His running backs, tight ends, and slot receiver were all targeted, while the wide receivers were completely ignored. In the second quarter, he converted a third-and-long over the middle to Marques Colston, and that seemed to get Brees revved up a bit as he started looking downfield after that. His first score was a short pass to Robert Meachem, who he found in the end zone while under heavy pressure. On the first drive of the second half, he simply carved up the Seahawks zone defense, completing three consecutive medium-long passes (17, 19, and 32 yards) en route to the TD. With exception to his interceptions, he was completely in control at this point, and the Seahawks defense never really challenged him. His interception will remain a blip on the radar as he completely misread the defense and made a terrible throw to the goal line. And then, perhaps just to show that he's not perfect after all, on 3rd down, inside the ten, he tossed the ball just a bit short to Colston and they settled for the field goal. He threw another interception on the second last play of the game as he went for one more in the back of the end zone. Yes, the game was basically over, but this didn't feel like Brees and co. trying to rub it in at all. This was a team that was having fun, and for a change, why not give the fans a few more plays to watch instead of killing the clock?
Week 12 vs. DAL
Passing: 23 - 39, 352 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 3 / -3 / 0
Brees had a typical game for the Saints, working the short and medium crossing and sideline routes while setting up the long bombs down the field that ultimately put the Cowboys away for good. Brees opened the game completing his first six passes, including two long bombs to Devery Henderson of 57 and 22 yards, setting up both short TD runs by Chris Ivory. Brees continued to spread the ball around for most of the game, working the short passing routes with Lance Moore and Jimmy Graham and then mixing it up deep with passes to Colston and Henderson. Brees could have had an even bigger day, but Colston, Henderson, Graham and Moore all dropped passes at one point or another in the game where Brees had thrown a perfect pass but they simply couldn't hang on. On his interception, Brees put a perfect pass deep over the middle to Jimmy Graham, but the ball skipped off of his hands and was intercepted. Lance Moore also dropped a pass where he was wide open, but took his eyes off the ball before he made the reception. Even Reggie Bush dropped an easy pass in the second quarter that could have been a TD because there was no one around him. However, Brees proved on the final drive of the game why he's the best QB in fantasy and one of the best in the NFL. After the turn over by Roy Williams, Brees targeted four different receivers before going over the middle to Lance Moore for the game winning TD. The Dallas secondary was completely on their heels on the drive, and by the time the Saints reached the Red Zone, they had no idea who was getting the ball.
Week 13 vs. CIN
Passing: 24 - 29, 313 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Brees started slow and found himself under pressure a lot early, but things broke loose for larger gains in the passing game starting with a long seam pass to Jimmy Graham near the end of the first half. Brees hit Robert Meachem deep twice on play action, once for a TD and once to set up the game-winning TD. He also threw to Lance Moore to set up good down and distances and keep the offense sustaining drives. He was accurate as always and only made one mistake, an overthrown deep ball to Marques Colston that was picked. Brees is playing at an elite level and his stats show it.
Week 14 vs. STL
Passing: 25 - 40, 221 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: 1 / 7 / 0
Although Brees continued with his interception woes in Sunday's game, tossing two of them on the day, his three touchdown passes -- including a beautiful rainbow-bomb to Lance Moore -- ultimately overshadowed all of this. Although this hasn't been one of Brees' best years whatsoever, what is considered a poor season for him would otherwise be a stellar season for another quarterback. As such, Brees remains an every week starter at quarterback and may very well start looking like the player from the last two years as we head into the home stretch of the NFL season.
Week 15 vs. BAL
Passing: 29 - 46, 267 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Brees day wasn't quite as good as his numbers, but it wasn't entirely his fault. He was under pressure from the Ravens front seven all day and rarely got comfortable in the pocket. Brees did move around well and get in a rhythm during the two-minute drill at the end of the first half, but he wasn't able to hook up on any deep balls, and he couldn't get the team moving in the late fourth when they only needed a field goal to tie. One TD pass was off play action to Jimmy Graham, another Graham TD was on a ridiculous twisting one-handing catch. Brees third TD went to Lance Moore on a ball that seemed more like a mini-hail mary intended for Marques Colston that Moore somehow caught and got both down inbounds in the corner of the end zone. Brees was off early and also fumbled twice on third quarter drive that ended in a field goal because the Saints were able to recover both fumbles. The team never committed to the run game and put the contest on Brees shoulders, and he couldn't muster enough to overcome the Ravens in the end.
Week 16 vs. ATL
Passing: 35 - 49, 302 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: 2 / -2 / 0
The Falcons came right out of the gate with a ton of blitz packages which limited Brees ability to get the ball down the field throughout the game. However, after some initial problems moving his team Brees adjusted and focused on the short and intermediate plays leading the Saints to a come from behind win on MNF. Brees was not perfect on the night, in fact he made some mistakes that nearly cost his team a victory including back to back drives where tipped balls led to INT's, one of which was returned for a TD. Brees showed his resolve by rebounded brilliantly to engineer a long clock draining TD drive culminating in his lone TD toss on the night to Jimmy Graham. On the drive Brees eluded defender after defender to complete passes. When the dust cleared on the evening he fought through a tough and consistent pass rush all night for another 300 yard effort and Saints a win.
Week 17 vs. TB
Passing: 22 - 38, 196 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Brees played the bulk of the game, only coming out after the first series in the fourth quarter. The former Super Bowl MVP looked a little off during the game which might be because he was missing his main WR, Marques Colston while Robert Meachem was well covered by Ronde Barber most of the game. The Bucs did do a good job of bringing pressure and were certainly doing everything they could to make their case to make the playoffs. Facing a charged up defense and lacking several weapons, Brees seemed to float through the game and while he always gives his best effort, you are sort of left wondering if he might have been a little less than 100% focused.
He does continue to bond with rookie tight end Jimmy Graham, and hit him yet again for another touchdown late in the first quarter. Even that play was a little less than what we're used to with Brees as Graham had to reach over Barber to get the ball. Graham later left with an injury and that likely hurt Brees as well.
Week 18 vs. SEA
Passing: 39 - 60, 404 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 2 / 6 / 0
With Chris Ivory and Pierre Thomas having been put on Injured Reserve earlier in the week, everyone knew that Brees would throw the ball a lot in this game. When the Saints got behind, however, the phrase "a lot" went from an estimate 45-50 attempts all the way up to 60. The combination of Coach Sean Payton and Brees are perhaps one of the only pairings who could have handled such a heavy burden on the passing game. Brees put on a clinic with his ability to scan a defense and make decisions rapidly enough to avoid pressure. Color analyst Mike Mayock repeatedly said "touchdown or check down" when referring to Brees' style, and that was spot-on analysis. Brees showed an incredible amount of patience all game long --- not forcing passes deep unless they were there and using his checkdowns to supplement a running game that was half-strength at best. He fit passes in narrow areas short, intermediate, and deep. From decision-making to execution to his hurry-up offense at the end of the game, Brees was fantastic.