QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
HT: 6-1, WT: 220, Born: 1-15-1979, College: Purdue, Drafted: Round 2
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Average draft position
Current as of May 21st. [Full ADP list]Overall: J Jones (19), S Jackson (20), Drew Brees (21), M Jones-Drew (22), D Thomas (23)
Position: A Rodgers (15-QB1), Drew Brees (21 - QB2), T Brady (33-QB3), P Manning (35-QB4)
Click here for a comparison of these players.
Drew Brees signed with the Saints in March 2006. He played very well for the Chargers in 2005 as the team's franchise player, but was only given a mostly incentive heavy contract offer after the season, possibly because he tore his labrum in his right (throwing) shoulder. Brees joined first year Coach Sean Payton and together they resurrected the team and the City of New Orleans who suffered the ravages of Hurricane Katrina the season before. Brees led the league in passing throwing for 4,418 yards and also had 26 TD passes. Brees and Payton are perfect fits for each other and the team’s offense has soared for their seven years together. Brees has won a Super Bowl, been named Super Bowl MVP, and been selected to the Pro Bowl six times in that period and he also set the single season NFL passing record in 2011 with 5,476 yards. That same season, he set the NFL record for highest completion percentage in a season at 71.2%. With the Saints, Brees has been the model of consistency at quarterback, passing for an average of 4,797 yards and 35 TDs. His efficiency dipped somewhat last season as Coach Sean Payton was suspended for the year as a result of his alleged involvement in the team's bounty scandal. Even in Brees' down year, he completed 63% of his passes, averaged 7.7 yards per pass attempt and passed for 5,177 yards and 43 TDs. In addition to having Coach Payton back, the Saints have Brees' top four receiving options returning. The only negative entering the 2013 campaign is the potential downgrade of the offensive line due to the loss of Jermon Bushrod. The Saints are still searching for his replacement to protect Brees' blind side. Perhaps even that will not be problematic because Brees is adept in the pocket and has a quick release.
|2||at Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|5||at Chicago Bears|
|6||at New England Patriots|
|9||at New York Jets|
|11||San Francisco 49ers|
|12||at Atlanta Falcons|
|13||at Seattle Seahawks|
|15||at St. Louis Rams|
|16||at Carolina Panthers|
|17||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
2012 Game Summaries
Week 1 - The box score reveals Brees threw for three-hundred and thirty-nine yards and two touchdowns, but for his home debut, backed by a raucous New Orleans crowd, the single-season passing yardage record holder looked decidedly ordinary. Brees had his hands full all afternoon with a hungry Washington pass rush, which batted several of his passes down and intercepted him twice. Brees threw, threw, and threw against the Redskins – to the tune of fifty-two pass attempts, for a completion rate of less than fifty percent, his lowest since 2006. The Saints’ offensive line failed to keep the pocket clean for Brees on Sunday, forcing him to throw several passes to the sideline, the turf, and led him to be sacked twice.
The Saints’ offense, whether due to Washington pressure or mental fatigue, simply had trouble clicking against the Redskins. Driving towards the Washington end zone before the half, Brees was unprepared for the snap and had to check it down to Jimmy Graham. He threw an incomplete pass to Devery Henderson in which Henderson was triple-covered. Brees missed another certain touchdown from Marques Colston when Colston had the ball batted from his hands in the end zone, resulting in a touchback for the Redskins.
New Orleans did not find its rhythm until late in the fourth quarter, down fifteen, when Brees drove the Saints downfield twice, once setting up a Lance Moore touchdown, and then another Sproles touchdown right before the two-minute warning. Brees did throw two interceptions in the game, one a Hail Mary pass that Reid Doughty lucked into as time expired and the other a heave by Brees right into the arms of DeSean Gomes, who returned it for forty-nine yards to set up a Washington touchdown. Missing his trademark accuracy and playing from behind most of the game, Brees still found opportunities to exhibit why he is one of the league’s greatest quarterbacks. In the first quarter, he threaded the needle to Jimmy Graham for a twenty-yard touchdown. He showcased a tremendous amount of patience in letting Lance Moore’s wheel route on fourth-and-ten develop in hitting him for a thirty-three yard touchdown. The veteran signal caller remained in control throughout the game, and even with the Saints down by double-digits, Brees remained icily cool as he drove New Orleans downfield, giving the impression that the Saints were never truly out of it.
Week 2 - Brees played a topsy-turvy game on the wet turf in Carolina on Sunday. The Saints, perhaps in response to their pass-heavy loss to the Redskins last week, adopted a rather predictable, run-first approach. The Saints committed to the run early, especially on first down. Brees’ drops were kept to three and five-step and the game plan early on – that of attacking the Panthers’ zone defense underneath – was executed well by Brees. As the game wore on and the Saints were forced into comeback mode, however, the pressure started to get to Brees. The Panthers’ front four hurried him all day long. In the first quarter, he threw an uncharacteristic interception for his usually high level of play. The pass was intended for Jimmy Graham, but the underneath coverage was sound and the pass was picked off and returned for a touchdown. Brees’ first drive ended with an easy pitch and catch touchdown to Jimmy Graham, who was untouched at the line of scrimmage. Despite having his leg bent awkwardly underneath him in the third quarter, he returned to the game and added a rushing touchdown late on when he reached the ball out over the plane of the goal line. It seemed as if Brees had the shackles put on him in this game and he was never able to open up the offense down the field, so perhaps the Devery Henderson absence was felt.
Week 3 - Brees started the day off as hot as quarterback can get and finished it equally cold. The difference wasn’t so much in what Brees himself did but the help he received from his receivers and offensive line. On the Saints opening drive Brees completed three of four passes for 36 yards including a strike to Lance Moore for a touchdown. Even his incompletion was perfectly placed, just dropped by Marques Colston. On the second drive he showed great patience waiting for Devery Henderson to get behind the defense before throwing a beautifully thrown ball for a 36 yard gain. After a 17 yard connection with Moore it looked like Brees and the Saints were going to pick the Chiefs apart, but that’s when the Chiefs turned up the pressure and the Saints attack began to stumble. It was more than a quarter before a pass was completed to anyone other than a running back, although Brees did a nice job of taking what the defense was giving him. The Saints last possession of the half ended with Brees being sacked and it was a sign of more things to come. Short fields presented by the Saints defense led a pair of short touchdown passes from Brees, both easy throws to the flat to open targets. The first went on a pick play to Jimmy Graham from the one yard line and the second on a little flare to seldom used full back Jed Collins. The touchdown pass to Collins would be the last Saints score with 5:41 to go in the third quarter. Two minutes later a well thrown 34 yard completion to Lance Moore would be Brees’ last completion. That drive ended after an interception which was a result of poor decision making and a worse throw form Brees. He underthrew Devery Henderson who was not open down the left sideline and Stanford Routt made the pick. Brees would go 0-5 while taking two sacks over the final 24 minutes of game action. In fairness to him that included three drops, terrible protection and an aggressive Chiefs defense.
Week 4 - Drew Brees tallied up a line of 446 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Like Rodgers, he clicked with various different receivers, though they were the usual suspects in Colston, Moore, Graham and Sproles. Part of his big day was because he attempted a whopping 54 passes (he hadn't attempted that many passes in a regular season game since October 2010). The pass protection was decent for the most part with a few miscues here and there, as Brees was sacked just twice on the day against a solid Green Bay pass rush. Brees' first touchdown pass was a 20 yard toss to Marques Colston that frankly shouldn't have been a touchdown. Colston pushed off on his defender fairly clearly to nab the score, yet the officials didn't call anything, which I'm sure had Green Bay fans experiencing all sorts of nausea and deja vu. Brees' second touchdown was a fairly 'garden variety' toss to Darren Sproles for 6 yards. Sproles was in the backfield, had a mismatch, badabing-badaboom. The last touchdown of the day for the Saints was an 80 yard play action beauty to Joseph Morgan. It was a well disguised play, as the Saints lined up with 1 WR, 2 TE and 1 FB, indicating run all the way. The ball was actually underthrown, but Morgan made a good adjustment and warded off a couple tacklers to scoot in for the score. The good comes with the bad, however, as Brees had 2 or 3 passes that should have been picked. One was off a tip, but one in particular would have been a death knell for the Saints had Tramon Williams and Morgan Burnett not run into each other. It's also worth noting how pass heavy the Saints are in the redzone and near the goal line. This is a boon to Brees owners, but may actually be a detriment to the Saints in real life.
Week 5 - Drew Brees will remember this as his record-breaking day, but his success was largely a result of excellent pass protection and the sheer domination of Marques Colston. Even though the Saints couldn't establish the run to allow Brees to throw off of play-action, the Chargers had no answer for his weapons on the outside and rarely got to Brees outside of their five sacks. Fittingly, Brees' pocket presence and intelligence was shown off on his record-breaking touchdown to Robert Meachem. Brees has made a living off of the type of play he made for that pass. He felt the pressure in the pocket to step up, while keeping his eyes downfield before pump faking the out to Meachem and then delivering a pinpoint pass to the receiver in stride. Brees' ability to adjust his feet and keep his weight underneath him at all times was vital to the success of the play. Brees showed off his famous accuracy and intelligence on three relatively simple touchdown passes to Marques Colston also but had some nervous moments also. On the first drive of the third quarter, Brees had to step up into the pocket to avoid pressure before throwing a pass to Meachem wide open in the left flat. Brees missed Meachem however as he threw the ball behind his receiver. Meachem tipped the ball with an extended hand before it lofted into the hands of a defender. It was an inexcusably bad throw from Brees. He was then nearly intercepted when he threw a pass to Colston deep on a seam route with two defenders in position to catch the football ahead of the receiver. Brees never saw Marcus Gilchrist waiting on the route. Brees' worst throw of the day was negated by a penalty for roughing the passer, but that penalty was commited after the throw was made and completed to the defender. Brees either mixed up the route with his receiver or simply made a terrible play off his back foot. He threw the ball directly to Demorrio Williams with no receiver in sight. Brees was let off because of the penalty, but it proved to be a pivotal play and a mistake he was saved from with indiscipline from a rookie pass rusher eager to make an impression.
Week 7 - Brees had a pretty routine Drew Brees day at the office in Tampa Bay. His only interception of the day came on a tipped pass when it was impossible to blame him. His first touchdown pass was a very impressive play design that made his job easy. The Buccaneers were in zone coverage while the Saints had one receiver to the left, two to the right with a tight end and running back also on the field. Colston ran a shallow crossing route underneath the defense while the two receivers on the far side ran deep across the field to take away the coverage and give him plenty of space. Colston caught an easy pass from Brees before easily running it into the endzone. Brees' second touchdown pass looked as easy as his first, but at least this time he was forced to manipulate the coverage with pump fakes before dropping it off to a wide open Darren Sproles. Sproles caught the ball eight yards from the goalline but ran it in with ease. Brees was finally made to work for his third touchdown...well, kind of. Near midfield, Brees had just completed a big pass over the middle to Lance Moore. He then faked the run to Pierre Thomas, before rifling the ball down the right sideline to a wide open Josh Morgan. Brees actually underthrew Morgan slightly after pump faking. Still, the pass was good enough to reach the receiver who beat two defenders before getting into the endzone. A well orchestrated touchdown drive during the two minutes before half-time, culminated in another relatively easy touchdown pass to tight end David Thomas. That also meant Brees had over 300 yards in the first half. He was somewhat stifled in the second half, but his lack of production was largely a result of the Buccaneers holding possession and the Saints looking to run the ball more.
Week 8 - Drew Brees had a very inconsistent game. Outside of some early pressure from the Broncos defensive line, he was largely comfortable in the pocket but couldn't develop much rhythm with his receivers. Brees still threw a touchdown pass early, the 300th of his career. When the Broncos' defensive line was closing in, Brees stood tall(well, you know what I mean) in the pocket and hit Darren Sproles running a slant outside. Sproles carried the ball forward beating defenders to get into the endzone. While that was the big positive in the first half, Brees couldn't carry that momentum as he threw an interception to Wesley Woodward on fourth down at midfield soon after. Brees was trying to hit Jimmy Graham who was double covered and never seemed to consider Woodward. Graham was at least third or fourth in Brees' progression as his head spun from side to side. When he let the ball go he wasn't under pressure and could potentially have run for the first down. Although Graham would likely have caught the football, Woodward made an athletic catch to take him out of the equation. It was a rushed throw from Brees. Very unlike the Saints' offense, there was a lack of urgency in the group all through the game that ultimately allowed the Denver Broncos defense to stay on top of them.
Week 9 - After last week’s erratic performance in Denver, Brees orchestrated a balanced, efficient offensive attack against a vulnerable Philadelphia defense. When he wasn’t feeding his three-headed running back monster, Brees picked apart the very overrated Philadelphia secondary. During his team’s third drive, Brees utilized his ground game to set-up the play action pass. Brees found a rejuvenated Jimmy Graham down the left sideline for a 20-yard gain. After two strong red zone runs, Brees found Marques Colston dragging across the back of the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown strike. Thanks to some strong defensive play and inside running, Brees accumulated just 104 first half passing yards on nine completions as the Saints took an 18-point lead into halftime.
After halftime, Brees took his first possession and led the Saints back into the red zone. Brees completed five of his six pass attempts for 68 yards. However, Brees uncharacteristically fumbled the ball away on a 1st-and-Goal play from the Philadelphia 9-yard line. Brees was waiting for Marques Colston to get open in the back of the end zone, but held onto the ball for too long and was sacked. Brees would atone for his mistake during his next drive. On a 3rd-and-7 play at midfield, Brees found Lance Moore down the seam for a 23-yard gain. Brees continued to methodically work his way down the field, finding his running backs on wheel routes and his receivers on intermediate routes. The drive resulted in a short, six yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham. This scoring drive gave New Orleans a 28-13, fourth quarter advantage. Despite not filling up the box score with a lofty passing total, Brees was in complete control of the game and had no problem finding his receivers in big spots.
Week 10 - The Saints went as run-heavy as they have all season, a near-even run-to-pass ratio. The result was an unspectacular, but efficient outing from one of the league’s best in Drew Brees. Brees completed twenty-one of his thirty-two pass attempts – the Saints ran the ball twenty-nine times – for two hundred and ninety-eight yards through the air. The Saints’ signal caller actually started off the day on a sour note, getting intercepted by Falcons cornerback Asante Samuel on his first pass attempt of the game. Credit goes to Samuel for making an excellent read on Brees and getting in front of Saints receiver Marques Colston to intercept the pass, which eventually led to a Falcons touchdown a few minutes later. With a game plan focused on max protection that included multiple tight end sets and an occasional extra offensive lineman, Brees had all day to throw against the Falcons. The Saints’ reliance on the run game allowed Brees to sell the play-action pass incredibly effectively, faking the handoff only to hit Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, and Lance Moore down the field. The passing attack led by Brees was brutally efficient, attempting over nine yards per pass and completing over sixty-five percent of those attempts. New Orleans did not do anything particularly extravagant against the Falcons – in fact, this was, arguably, the Saints’ most run-of-the-mill offensive game plan they employed in what seems like years. Most of Brees’ passes were of the short-to-intermediate variety, with his big pass plays coming on a twenty-three yard pass that Lance Moore snagged with one hand while diving, and a forty-six yard go route pass that Jimmy Graham hauled in to put the Saints in the New Orleans red zone. Brees accumulated touchdowns based more on the will of his receivers to find the end zone than simply his ability to get them the ball – both Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston employed second, and sometimes third efforts in order to hit paydirt. This is not to say Brees was inaccurate, because he was incredibly so – most of his incomplete passes hit off the hands of his receivers, or the quarterback threw the ball into the ground to avoid a sack. What viewers saw on Sunday against the Falcons was vintage Drew Brees in a game where the Saints actually asked him to do less rather than more. Being down 10-0 early in the first quarter might have some teams hitting the panic button, but interim head coach Joe Vitt stuck with a balanced run-to-pass ratio that allowed Brees to use play-action to move the ball down the field with ease. With the Saints using max protection more often than usual, Brees had plenty of time to cycle through his reads and select the right receiver for the play. It remains to be seen whether the Saints, being one of the league’s most pass-happy teams, will continue to employ a more balanced playcalling ratio, but it certainly allowed Drew Brees the time to slice apart the Falcons secondary – in a number of pass attempts one might call “limited” for him – to the tune of a 31-27 Saints victory.
Week 11 - Always consistent, Drew Brees and the Saints’ offense was super efficient on Sunday, scoring points on half of their drives despite taking their foot off the gas after only three quarters. Like he often does, Brees asserted early control on the first drive, opening with a much too easy out to a wide open Marques Colston for 14 yards. Brees just missed a TD on his next throw as Darren Sproles fill in Travaris Cadet was left uncovered on a wheel route out of the backfield. Brees badly underthrew the streaking Cadet, with pass coming up short, as Cadet was unable to make the catch. Not to be deterred Brees and Cadet connected on the next play on a swing route, with Cadet catching the ball in the flat and turning up field for 17 yards. Brees dumped the ball to Pierre Thomas on a quick out, with Thomas coming up just short of the end zone. As they Brees likes to do inside the five, he play faked on the following play and TE Jimmy Graham slipped off the line untouched and was wide open in the back of the end zone for the one-yard TD catch. Brees and the offense had a rare three and out the following drive, with the lone throw falling incomplete to Lance Moore as Brees was blasted by Phillip Wheeler just as he released the ball. Brees booted right to open the following drive, finding Jed Collins in the flat uncovered for the 11-yard gain. Working the play fake again two plays later, Brees had an eternity in the pocket before he slipped outside and hit Graham who had broken off his route to come back and help his scrambling for nine yards. Brees tried to catch the Raiders off guard with a quick screen to Devery Henderson, but the play was easily defended, picking up only three yards. With safety Michael Huff locked into single coverage with Colston, Brees tried to take advantage of the matchup, but Huff was able to ride Colston step-for-step, getting his hands up late to knock the pass away and force another New Orleans punt. Following an Oakland score, Brees fired the offense back up on the following drive needing only eight plays to go 82 yards for a TD. Colston found a pocket in the zone coverage on the first throw, picking up a too easy 24 yards. Brees just missed connecting with Joe Morgan two plays later on a deep post off play action, slightly overthrowing Morgan on the potential 51-yard TD pass. Brees needed some help on his next throw, as it sailed just a bit, but Colston made a tremendous catch elevating and securing the toss just before safety Matt Giordano delivered a shot. The pass went for 17 yards, but more importantly kept the drive going as it came on 3rd down. After an intentional grounding penalty set the Saints back, Brees cared very little, patiently waiting for Lance Moore to get behind the coverage and throwing a strike to the WR for a 38-yard TD. The throw was pretty, with just the right amount of touch to sail the coverage but not drive Moore out of bounds. After two drives that saw only two passes from Brees (both to Graham for a total of nine yards), Brees drove the nail in the coffin on the third drive out of halftime. Working the same swing pass to Cadet to opposite side, the two connected for eight yards. After three consecutive runs, Brees went play action on the fourth, as Moore again was able to get behind the coverage. Brees delivered another perfect pass, over the underneath coverage and away from the crashing safety for a 15-yard TD pass. With a 35-10 lead, Brees and the passing offense took a back seat to a bruising running game to finish the game off. However, Brees nearly did throw an INT on a screen pass late in the game as DT Desmond Bryant read the play perfectly, but was unable to make the play as the pass went right through his hands. An unfortunate mismatch, Brees only threw when he had to, but did so with great efficiency with no turnovers and no sacks.
Week 12 - Standing behind a make-shift offensive line, Brees made the most of the time he was given. New Orleans ran a number of quick throws to negate the pass rush and on many of these plays Brees was able to get the ball out accurately. The spot-on timing between Brees and his receivers was apparent, as the ball often was thrown before receivers had even made their breaks. Even on deep balls, Brees was often able to put the ball in a location where the receiver was able to make a play, such as his long throws to Joseph Morgan or Lance Moore. Brees’ touchdown pass to Colston was one such play, as the quarterback took only a few seconds to look and throw a great ball to a spot where only Colston was able to get it. The large wide receiver made a great play on the high pass, twisting and leaping to catch the ball. New Orleans’ use of the running game early also helped Brees, as his play-action passes usually sprung a man open, and Brees was able to move through his progressions quickly and find the open target. On the first touchdown throw, Brees ran the play-action and David Thomas slipped behind the pass rusher. Brees was able to throw and accurate pass to the open tight end, who was able to run the short distance for a touchdown. Brees’ touchdown pass to Jed Collins was similar, as Brees executed the play-action pass that sprung Collins loose behind the pass rush, and again Brees was able to throw an accurate ball while pressured, and Collins was able to dive in for a touchdown. But even with the three touchdown throws, Brees did not have his finest game. His offensive line struggled more and more as the game progressed, and with the loss of the back-up right tackle in the second quarter, Brees suffered from a lack of protection. Though quick throws were successful, as the game went on and New Orleans fell behind Brees began to run more long passing plays and the pass rush was able to get to him. When Brees wasn’t sacked he was often under heavy pressure and hit. This pressure forced Brees in to making decisions quicker than he would have liked, and twice Brees made poor decisions that resulted in pick-sixes. On his first interception, Brees had locked on to Jimmy Graham and Ahmad Brooks read the quarterback’s eyes. Slipping beneath Graham’s route, Brooks was able to easily pick off the throw and run the rest of the short field for a defensive touchdown. Brees’ next interception was less of an issue of locking on and more of an issue of throwing in to double coverage. When Brees threw a touchdown to Colston, the quarterback put the ball high enough where Colston was able to make a leaping grab. However, there was no safety sprinting towards Colston in the end zone. This was the case on the second interception, as Brees threw another high ball for Colston to leap and catch, but the safety took out Colston’s legs and the receiver landed on his head as the ball drifted in to Donte Whitner’s hands for another pick-six. With New Orleans down 28-14 by the second interception, New Orleans was forced to abandon the run game and lean on longer throws, which put Brees under even more duress as the pass rush was able to tee off and not worry about the running game.
Week 13 - Brees threw an interception on the Saints' first drive of the game as he tried to hit Marques Coltson on a deep post route behind the Falcons' safeties. Brees either never saw Thomas DeCoud coming across the field, or simply underthrew the pass to Colston who was wide open in the endzone. Many won't blame for his second interception, as the ball did hit Chris Ivory, but Brees rocketed the pass behind his head on a checkdown into the flat. He may have been trying to throw it away as he saw Sean Weatherspoon arriving late, but regardless, it was a poor throw and a pivotal interception for the linebacker. Brees didn't let it play on his mind as he made excellent throw after excellent throw to convert what were often long third downs. Before the end of the first half however, poor clock management cost them a chance at any points in the redzone. After the half, Brees marched his team down the field in expert fashion again, but Lance Moore dropped a wide open reception in the endzone, before the Falcons stopped Pierre Thomas in space to force the field goals. Having led the Saints on two field goal drives in the third quarter, Brees threw across his body running out of the pocket straight into the chest of William Moore. Brees wasn't focused and was too relaxed throwing the football. It was a simple read as the Falcons sat in zone coverage across the field. Dare I say, it was a rookie mistake from a veteran. Brees' fourth interception came when he was trying to throw the ball away under pressure and it went straight into Jonathan Babineaux's belly. That interception cost the Saints any chance of a dramatic comeback and ended Brees' record for consecutive games with a touchdown. Brees' touchdown streak was given life when Michael Turner fumbled the football late on, before Brees threw an interception to Corey Peters that was negated for offsides. All that did was change the number of the intercepting player, as William Moore caught a deep pass on the very next play after the negated Peters interception.
Week 14 - Drew Brees looked frustrated on Sunday as he was left to win the entire game by himself with little help from his teammates. Brees struggled with turnovers and lead too many drives that stalled in the redzone and the Saints ended up kicking field goals. Brees almost connected with Henderson deep for a long touchdown but an excellent pass break up by CB Webster saved the TD. Brees was picked off as he forced a high pass to TE Graham that got tipped and fell into the lap of a NYG DB. Brees was able to connect well with WR Morgan, who caught two passes deep down the field which helped change the Saints field position greatly. Brees used RB Sproles well for a touchdown play, hitting the quick RB in the flat and watched as he scampered into the endzone for the score. However Brees then threw a costly interception to NYG DB Browne in the redzone, throwing late and too far in front of TE Graham. Brees then had to fight against very wet conditions in the fourth quarter and this killed off any chance at a Saints comeback. Brees then finished the game with some completions/yards in garbage time. His struggle with turnovers continued but he was getting no help from his defense and special teams, though his running game was an honourable mention.
Week 15 - There is no better cure for a case of the production ills than the league’s worst passing defense. After struggling for three consecutive weeks, Drew Brees finally got some reprieve on Sunday in the form of Tampa Bay’s passing defense. Firing right out of the gate, Brees had the Saints at midfield in two plays; a quick 12-yard strike to Jimmy Graham followed by another 13-yard hit to Marques Colston. Going back to work two plays later, Brees faked the toss right and booted left, connecting with an uncovered David Thomas for 12 yards. Brees and Pierre Thomas worked the screen game on the following play, picking up 20 yards down to the Buccaneer 12-yard line. A perfect cap to the way too easy drive, Brees found Thomas again two plays later for a nine-yard TD over the middle. The offense went three and out on their next drive, but really a poor drop from Sproles on 3rd down prevented what could have been a huge play. Brees read the coverage perfectly, with Sproles isolated in man coverage against a LB, but the RB was unable to bring the short toss in. Had the pass been completed, the middle of the field was barren and could very well have gone for an 83-yard TD pass. Brees went back to work on the third drive, opening with a short swing to Sproles for two yards before following it up with a 15-yard completion to Graham over the middle. Brees hit Sproles on another short toss before working play action two plays later and finding Colston over the middle for 26 yards. A 12-yard slant to Lance Moore took the offense inside the Tampa ten-yard line, but the offense stalled and had to settle for a rare red zone FG. Brees had two rare misses on the following drive to send the Saints to their second three and out in four drives. The offense bounced back, however, as Brees had his best throw of the game on the drive’s first completion. Facing a 3rd and 11 and pressure in his lap, Brees blindly threw to Colston (who had yet to get out of his break) for a 21-yard completion. Clearly in rhythm, Brees threw three straight completions to finish the drive off, bookended by a pretty 16-yard strike to Moore and a two-yard TD pass to Sproles. Brees missed all four throws on the following drive, but like he had done all day, made up for the punt with one more TD drive just before half. Brees opened the drive with a short eight-yard hit to Graham before absolutely getting his TE destroyed on the following play. A deep shot down the seam, Brees’ throw was high and S Mark Barron blasted an over extended Graham to ensure the incompletion. Brees went right back to Graham after a time out, again down the seam and this time Graham made a tremendous catch to get the Saints down inside the Tampa ten. Brees eyes looked right before coming back to Moore on the left who was hitched just beyond the goal line for the seven-yard TD pass. Just as they had done in the first half, the Saints went right through the Tampa defense on their opening drive of the 2nd half with little resistance. After five consecutive drives, Brees hit Graham on a short 10-yard crosser. Two plays later, Brees had his longest (and easiest) completion of the game, a 34-yard TD pass to Joe Morgan. With Morgan easily beyond the coverage, Brees merely had to put the ball on Morgan for the TD. Up 31 and cruising, Brees spent the rest of the game killing the clock before being replaced by Chase Daniel on the Saints’ final drive.
Week 16 - Drew Brees operated like a man on a mission today, pouring on the yardage, touchdowns and completion percentage. Brees also kept his day turnover free, as did the rest of the Saints offense. Brees did experience some pressure here and there from the Cowboys pass rush, but the Cowboys secondary played absolutely atrociously and allowed Brees to carve them up all day long, specifically in the middle of the field. Brees often found running backs and tight ends open at will down the middle, and many of these completions found the receiver with no defender within 8 to 10 yards. Brees's first touchdown of the day was a 6 yard play to Lance Moore. Moore juked his defensive back with a nice double move then leaped into the endzone. The second touchdown pass of the day was a 5 yarder to Pierre Thomas from the shotgun. Thomas faked like he was going to pass protect, then leaked out to the middle of the field where no one covered him. The final Brees touchdown pass of the day was a 3 yarder to David Thomas. Brees went play action and no one covered Thomas. Simple play, easy execution. Brees did have 3 passes that were nearly picked off and probably should have been, but again, with the way the Dallas secondary and linebackers were playing, it's no wonder he was able to be successful.
Week 17 - Drew Brees’ surpassed the 40-touchdown pass mark in consecutive seasons in this game with a typically solid display. With the rushing attack being stymied for the most part by a stubborn Panthers’ defense, Brees had to work his magic in the pocket and find his targets downfield. He did this with the utmost precision and timing, locating Jimmy Graham on seam patterns and threading the needle to Marques Colston as he wreaked havoc from the slot. Brees’ first read was often taken away as the Panthers played predominantly two-deep concepts defensively to take away the deep pass. Brees was not bothered, simply taking the short to intermediate passes. His first touchdown pass came on a fourth-down red zone opportunity, finding Marques Colston on a quick out pattern from the slot. Adding his second touchdown pass not long after, Brees delivered a quick pass to TE Jimmy Graham, who got inside leverage on his defender and did the rest. The pass rush bore down on Brees more and more as the game wore on, but he managed to keep his cool. Only on one occasion did he force a pass into coverage, and that resulted in his lone interception. The pass was thrown into an area with three Panthers defenders lurking, and it was easily picked off. With the game out of hand in the fourth quarter for the Saints, Brees’ remaining completions were forced short and he managed to matriculate the ball down the field late on for a pair of touchdowns, the first to Marques Colston on a seam route and the second on a screen pass to the fleet-footed Darren Sproles, who sprang loose down the left sideline. Brees capped off another spectacular season with a very respectable outing.