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 August 25th. [Full ADP list]Overall: M Ball (14), B Marshall (15), Drew Brees (16), A Rodgers (17), J Jones (18)
Position: P Manning (7-QB1), Drew Brees (16 - QB2), A Rodgers (17-QB3), M Stafford (35-QB4)
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|1||at Atlanta Falcons|
|2||at Cleveland Browns|
|4||at Dallas Cowboys|
|5||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|7||at Detroit Lions|
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|9||at Carolina Panthers|
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2013 Game Summaries
Week 1 - rew Brees completed his first pass of the game for a Saints first down. Brees was heavily pressured on his next attempt and missed Graham across the middle. His 3rd and 7 attempt was a deep ball to Kenny Stills that also fell incomplete. That pass was a little short and Stills was well covered. Even though Brees had a very effective day overall, there were several more passes that were slightly underthrown and/or behind his receivers on the day. The pass protection was generally effective by their offensive line, but Brees was sacked twice. His only interception came on a crossing route to Marques Colston that was thrown slightly behind Colston, allowing the Falcon defensive back, Robert Alford to make the pick. Enough with the bad, Brees completed 26 passes on 35 attempts and the majority of his throws were on the mark. The 25-yard TD pass to Colston was thrown perfectly leading Colston away from the defenders. His other TD pass (seven yards) was to Jimmy Graham in the third quarter and gave the Saints the lead, which they held the rest of the game. Other than the TD pass to Colston, Brees best throw was a deep throw to Kenny Stills on the left hash mark that hit him perfectly stride. Stills followed his catch by making a nifty cut and turned the play into a 67-yard gain. The Saints could not generate much with their running game and even without much production they stuck with it, totaling 29 runs. The Saints improved defensive play against the Falcons kept the score close and allowed for them to continue to try to run the ball this week.
Week 2 - Drew Brees led the Saints to an improbable, and maybe undeserved victory on the road against a Bucs team in turmoil. Brees came out slinging, hitting Marques Colston on the first play of the game from a five wide set. On the same drive, he hit Jimmy Graham--who would end up having a monster game-- on a nifty sideline fade for a first down. However, Brees was mostly neutralized by a tough Bucs defense, completing less than 57% of his passes and tossing two interceptions. Brees threw a terrible pass on the first play after the rain delay into the arms of LB Dakota Watson. Brees was targeting Lance Moore 15 yards down the field, but Watson was back far enough in his zone to make a leaping grab for the turnover that would quickly result in a Bucs TD. Brees bounced back in a huge way on the next drive, hooking up with Jimmy Graham for a 56 yard TD. But the Saints protection woes soon surfaced. Brees was destroyed by Adrian Clayborn on the first play of the second quarter when Clayborn came off the edge and blindsided a rolling Brees and caused a fumble. But the play resulted in a 15 yard gain as Clayborn was called for a penalty on the hit. Brees did most of his damage off of play-action but was under pressure on many of his dropbacks, getting sacked four times in the game. His offensive line was overmatched against a strong Bucs front, and Brees often had to get rid of the ball before he was ready to avoid even more sacks. Brees seemed confused by the Bucs overload blitzes and zone coverage, and his line often didnít know who to block. The protection breakdown resulted in another interception early in the fourth quarter with the Saints in scoring position after a Bucs pass interference penalty. On third and seven, with intense pressure in his face, Brees threw a pass right into the arms of LB Mason Foster, who returned it 77 yards for a TD. The turnover gave the Bucs a one point lead in what was a tight, low-scoring affair on a sloppy field. However, Brees ultimately was able to redeem himself when he drove the Saints down the field with just over a minute left in the fourth quarter. Brees hit Colston with 26 seconds remaining for a first down at the twelve yard line that set up a game winning field goal from Garrett Hartley.
Week 3 - QB Drew Brees opened the game in the shotgun formation and hit Ben Watson in the flat for a nice gain. His next completion came on the next play when he hit a wide open Pierre Thomas who released over the middle. After an unsuccessful run, Brees hit Jimmy Graham on a quick pass to the sideline for another first down. After just missing on a deep throw to Watson, Brees stood strong in the pocket, taking a hit just as he released a perfect pass on a deep crossing pattern to Marques Colston for another first down. The Saints started a rookie; Lelito at right guard for the injured Jahri Evans and Brees was pressured as Lelito missed his block and sacked on the next passing play. Brees threw a perfect strike the next play to Robert Meachem for a 28-yard TD pass. It was an unusual pattern as Graham was running his route very close to Meachem, but neither defender was able to prevent the TD. On the last play of the first quarter, Ben Watson was beaten on the edge and Brees was sacked for the second time of the game and the eighth time on the season. He slightly overthrew a tightly covered Graham on the next play and was again pressured into a purposeful incompletion on third and long to end the drive. Later, Brees dropped the ball just over the zone coverage to Graham for a 21-yard gain in the second quarter. After a pass interference call gave the Saints another first down, Brees escaped a hard rush and threw deep, apparently just trying to throw the ball out of the end zone, but Graham was open and the ball narrowly escaped his grasp. On the very next play, Brees lofted one to Graham at the goal line and he outmuscled the coverage by Yeremiah Bell for an outstanding TD.
Brees displayed some of his athleticism first scrambling for a four yard gain and then escaping a hard rush to throw the ball away and avoid another sack. However, immediately afterward he overthrew Lance Moore and the pass was intercepted in the end zone by Tyrann Mathieu, his first NFL interception back home in Louisiana. The Saints frequently went with five wide receivers and an empty backfield. Brees avoided a five-man rush with that offensive set-up early in the third quarter and made an excellent throw to an open Colston for a 19-yard gain. He was sacked again on the next play. This seems to be a continuing situation that Brees is likely to be pressured often as the Saints' offensive line struggles in protection, particularly with little threat of a running game. Brees overcame another sack by completing back to back passes, first a screen to Thomas for another first down and then he used a pump fake to get the pass over the defender for another long connection with Graham. Brees again overcame a hard rush by back-flipping a Farve-like throw complete to Moore for a short gain, but was ruled in the grasp for yet another sack. Early in the 4th quarter, Brees threaded the needle on a pass to Graham at the goal line, but he lost possession as he fell into the end zone. The next play, Brees scrambled up the middle for a rare rushing TD to give the Saints a 24-7 4th quarter lead. This may have been one of Brees' most enjoyable games as he kept that ball as he headed to the sideline. Later, in a 4th quarter drive, he kept it alive by scrambling again for 13 yards and another first down. Brees finalized the Saints' scoring by connecting with Graham for a 7-yard TD.
Week 4 - Brees opened the game with deadly accuracy and utilized a succession of quick patterns, mixed with a few rushing plays. The first completion was to Sproles, who beat the coverage at the line of scrimmage and burst down the left sideline for a 48-yard again. Brees used a pump fake, but that might have not been needed as Sproles flew by Rashad Jones who was running forward as Sproles flew by. The next pass completion was a swing pass to Sproles for a gain of four. After a short run, the Saints lined up Kenny Stills out wide immediately behind Colston. Stills cut sharply across the short middle and found an open seam for a 16-yard gain. The Dolphin defense stood up on the next series batting down a first down pass attempt. The teamís third possession ended when Brees was sacked for the 11th time on the season on a 3rd down and 8 play. After Brees just missed Colston off his fingertips, he hit Sproles on a screen pass for a gain of 21 to convert a third down and 20 to go. After Tannehill threw a critical interception just before halftime, Brees put the game away by passing for his second TD of the first half. The first completion in the drive was a short in-route to Stills gaining 11 yards. The second TD pass was to another quick pass to Sproles who easily scored after the defender attempted to jump the route and miscalculated. This TD pass again converted a third and long situation.
On the Saintsí first possession of the second half, Brees continued his night of accurate throws, hitting Colston for three passes on the drive for a total of 43 yards. The Saints also ran the ball a few times, but for short yardage and Brees hit an open Ben Watson on a tight end screen for his third TD pass on the night. His fourth TD pass came on the first play of their next drive as Brees hit Graham deep right down the seam for a one-play 43 yard TD drive to take a commanding 35-10 lead. Brees again hit Colston twice on the teamís next drive for 33 yards. The first one was another perfectly thrown pass to Colston as he sealed the defender on his back and caught the ball in stride over the middle. After a rare drop by Thomas and a delay of game call on Brees, he again hit Colston for 14 yards, but short of the first down forcing a missed field goal attempt. Brees hit Graham again for 19-yards to begin their first drive in the final quarter, which was the final score in the game.
Week 5 - Coach Payton stressed all week the importance of ball maintenance and the elimination of turnovers against the always opportunistic Bears' defense. Brees opened the game accurate as usual, completing all five passes to four different receivers. The only hiccup on that drive was a well-covered screen losing a yard, followed by a sack losing five. The next pass was completed, but failed to convert the long first down. The gain however did set up a successful 47-yard field goal. The Saints quickly got the ball back as Cutler lost a fumble when he was sacked. Brees threw his first incompletion on 2nd and goal to go as the defense covered Ben Watson, forcing Brees to look elsewhere. He found the fullback Collins deep running across the end zone, but led the pass too much. He completed both passes on the team's fourth drive, but gained only 7 yards on the three and out series. The Saints got the ball again with 9:19 left in the half for their fifth possession. All of the Saints' passes to this point had been underneath the coverage. It seemed that the combination of the Bears' defensive alignment matched up with the Saints desire to control the ball. Brees had completed 9 of his ten attempts to that point, but produced only 47 yards. All that changed on this drive as Brees teamed with Graham for two long plays of 29 and 38 yards. The first was a quick route deep over the middle. Following a rush that gained little, Brees went back to Graham down the sideline and dropped the ball in perfectly. Even though Graham was well covered, the pass was placed perfectly just beyond the coverage and the play went for 38 yards. The touchdown pass came two plays later to Pierre Thomas as he released out of the backfield making the catch, was hit at the two and still stretched across the goal line for the first TD of the game, giving the Saints a 13-0 lead. After the Bears drove 80-yards quickly for their first score, the Saints got the ball back with 2:36 remaining in the first half. Brees did not need that much time, driving the team 71 yards in eight plays for their second TD. The first play was a route similar to the big play to Graham down the sideline on the previous drive, but this one went to Nick Toon and gained 35 yards. The next play saw Brees send Robert Meachem deep into the end zone. The pass was perfectly thrown, but Meachem was held up slightly and the pass fell incomplete. After a couple of short completions, the Saints converted a critical 4th down to maintain possession. Brees went for the end zone the next pass, but the pass to Kenny Stills fell incomplete. The next play was a well-designed screen that just led Thomas away from the pursuit. After the catch, Thomas cut back to the inside and ran 25-yards for the second TD of the day, both Brees to Thomas.
The Saints took the second half kick-off and drove directly down the field in a time-consuming 13-play drive that lasted almost seven minutes and ended with a 36-yard field goal by Hartley. Brees again mostly worked underneath the Bears defense, completing the first four passes to three different running backs. The biggest play in the drive went to Darren Sproles, who ran uncovered quickly down the seam and gained 19-yards and another first down. Brees later converted another long third down play with a completion to Colston for nine yards. The drive stalled after two consecutive plays lost a yard and the Bears stopped Graham a yard short of the first down. Brees continued to run clock the next drive, which featured four running plays and two passes to Thomas. The drive, even though it lasted only seven plays ran almost five minutes off the clock. The Saints got the ball back leading 23-10 with 8:40 remaining. The play calling continued to be conservative. The longest plays in the drive were completions to Graham for 9 and 11 yards. The drive included six running plays. Perhaps the biggest play in the drive came on 4th down and one to go when Brees used a hard count and drew the Bears into the neutral zone to convert the first down. The Saints got the ball a final time leading 26-18 with only 2:11 remaining. They once again were conservative running Thomas twice and Collins once, giving the ball back to the Bears with only 0:21 on the clock. Brees was very efficient, gaining 8.2 ypa and only throwing six incomplete passes, several of which were purposeful due to coverage or the rush. A testament to the Saints' conservative play was that for the first time in ten games, Brees failed to pass for 300 yards.
Week 6 - This week's match-up for the Saints featured two of the three best active quarterbacks (Brady and Brees) in the NFL and two of the league's top head coaches. Last week the Saints successfully stressed controlling the ball against the opportunistic Bears' defense with a preference for clock-killing drives. This week, the Patriots seemed to have that same plan as they dominated the first half, running almost twice the number of offensive plays as the Saints. Brees was not sacked in the first half, but he was frequently pressured and could not get the offense into any rhythm. During the first half, the Patriots forced the Saints into 3 three-and-outs, including two consecutive in the second quarter when they seized control of the game.
Brees missed his first pass as Aqib Talib blanketed Jimmy Graham. On third and nine, Brees again missed his target, overthrowing Nick Toon on a deep route for the Saints' first three-and-out. The Saints got the ball back quickly as the Patriots likewise had a three-and-outs. The Saints' second possession was their only scoring drive of the first half. This drive began with a New England penalty and then three consecutive completions. The big plays went to Pierre Thomas for 29 yards and a deep route thrown perfectly to Ben Watson for 25 yards. Following a short run and an incompletion, Brees hit Sproles on a quick release out of the backfield for 9 yards and another first down and goal to go. A couple of Sproles rushes put the team in a 3rd and goal to go at the three. Brees then hit Travaris Cadet on a turn-in for the 3-yard TD pass. The Patriots matched the Saints drive with a TD of their own to regain the lead. The next two drives for the Saints were both three and outs. The first drive saw Brees purposely throw incomplete on a well-covered screen pass under duress. The next play appeared to focus on Graham, who was again blanketed by Talib and then Brees shifted to Watson, but overthrew him on a deep route. The third down play targeted Graham, but fell incomplete. Graham was very well covered and even if complete, the play would have been a yard short. The next drive had a short run, followed by another incompletion to Graham and then a four-yard completion to Sproles that fell three yards short of converting the first down. The Saints got the ball back with 4:49 left in the half. Two consecutive incompletions, the first to Toon on a deep route and then again to Graham, who was triple covered. This pass to Graham was underthrown and should have been intercepted, but instead gave the Saints a 3rd and ten. Brees escaped another three-and-out by completing a pass across the middle to a wide open Stills for a gain of 16 yards. The next play was a quick pass to Sproles on a slant that went for 14 yards. Brees then overthrew Sproles down the sideline. After a short rush, Sproles caught another quick pattern for four yards. The Saints lined up to go for the 4th and one and Brees attempted to draw the Patriots off on a hard count. There was movement, but the call went against the Saints, who then punted.
Brees began the second half with much better accuracy. After a short run by Thomas, Brees hit Stills on a crossing pattern down the middle of the field for 14 yards. The next play was a completion to Sproles out of the backfield that gained 19 yards. The very next play was an excellent deep throw completed to Watson for a gain of 32 yards. The next pass fell incomplete as Brees and Sproles obviously failed to communicate. After a short rushing play, Brees was extremely well protected and finally found Toon open, but threw high and the pass fell incomplete forcing another field goal that tied the game. The Saints defense shut down the Patriots and got Brees the ball back at the 33 yard line. The Saints were finally able to gain some yardage running the ball on this drive. The first pass completion went to Sproles for a gain of 8 yards and another first down. Talib was re-injured on this play and did not return for the Patriots. After several long runs, Brees hit Jeb Collins for a 3 yard gain and another first down. Colston caught the next pass, a quick in that gained 11 yards and gave the team a first and goal at the three yard line. Following an incompletion to Colston, the Saints ran for the TD, tying the game at 17-17. The team got the ball back next trailing 20-17, but quickly went three-and-out, with a 4-yard rush being sandwiched by two incompletions. The Saints' defense stiffened and shut down the Patriots again. However, the Saints' worse possession of the game followed. After a four yard carry by Sproles, Brees was sacked for a loss of six. That play was followed by another Graham target that ended even worse than all the previous Graham incompletions, being intercepted by Arrington. The Patriots failed to capitalize and only got a field goal, after starting at the Saints' 20-yard line. Trailing by 23-17, the Saints again took to the ground game, with Brees scrambling and then heading up the field surprisingly for 16 yards. Following one completion to Watson and several productive running plays, Brees again hit Colston for a gain of 14 yards inside the red zone, but the play was negated by holding. The next two plays were incompletions, first to Graham and then to Sproles. On 3rd and twenty, Brees hit Stills on a deep pattern that went for 34 yards and a TD to take the lead, 24-23. The Saints defense held the Patriots on a 4th down attempt from the Patriots own 24-yard line. That defensive stop should have allowed the Saints to put the game away. Instead, the Saints might have been overly conservative and were unable to make much on the ground. The 3rd and 11 pass attempt to Colston fell incomplete, forcing them to settle for another field goal that only stretched the lead to 27-23. The next Patriot drive lasted only one play as the Saints intercepted. Even after settling for the field goal on the last possession, the game appeared now to be wrapped up as the Saints got the possession with 2:16 remaining. After two unsuccessful rushes, Brees was dropped for a loss of five yards and the Saints again had to punt, giving the ball back to Brady with 1:13 remaining and no time outs. That turned out to be plenty of time and the lead did not hold up. Brees was not his accurate self on the game, completing only 17 of his 36 attempts. For the second game in a row failed to pass for 300 yards.
Week 8 - The beginning of the day was a little rough, as the Saints opened with two consecutive three and outs, despite gaining six and eight yards on each first down. Brees was exceptional throwing the ball all day and the Saints' running game had some success, primarily Pierre Thomas. The Bills defensive line was able to get pressure on Brees often, sacking him four times and forcing him to rush throws on several others. The first of Brees' five TD passes came on their third possession, as Brees found Lance Moore for a 15-yard TD. Moore returned after missing the previous three games. The Saints fourth drive was their longest of the game to that point. Brees hit Meachem deep along the right side in stride for a 15-yard gain. He hit Colston two plays later on a quick out pattern good for 6 yards. The next play again went to Colston on a back shoulder throw that appeared to be misread by the receiver who slipped trying to get back to the spot. After a rushing first down, Brees targeted Colston again deep, but into good coverage and the pass was almost intercepted. However, a roughing the passer penalty negated the play and gave the Saints another first down. After a completion to Graham, Brees failed to connect deep with Colston and the drive ended with a missed field goal attempt. The Saints next drive was unusual, as it featured back to back false start penalties called on Brees, who is typically the master at drawing defensive lines off-sides. The Saints next possession was another three and out, with Brees being sacked on 2nd and 4. The Saints trailed 10-7 the next time they got the ball and they struck back quickly. Four of the previous five possessions began with a rushing play. This one opened with a play action pass that was completed to Ben Watson for a gain of 17 yards, Brees again used play action on the next play and found an open Kenny Stills who easily raced by the linebacker attempting the coverage. The play went for 69 yards and Brees' second passing TD. After the Saints' defense held, they got the ball back at their own 23-yard line and put together their best offensive possession of the first half. Brees connected on his first four passes of the drive, all short routes but for two consecutive first downs. After an incompletion, a defensive penalty, and two more short completions, Brees threw a pass toward Jimmy Graham, but it was intercepted. However due to off-setting penalties the play did not stand. After another incompletion, Brees found Jimmy Graham open on a post pattern at the 3-yard line and Graham powered through the defender for Brees' third TD pass.
Brees kept the initial drive of the second half alive by completing a swing pass to Jed Collins for a gain of 8 yards. A couple of plays later, Brees found rookie TE, Josh Hill for his first career reception, gaining 8 yards. An incompletion was followed by a 3-yard gain on a pass to Thomas, but then another sack ended the drive. The Saints defense forced another three and out for the Bills and the Saints got the ball back in great field position at the Bills 43-yard line. After a first down completion to Stills for a gain of 18 yards, the Saints ran the ball twice for minimal yardage. Brees targeted Ben Watson, but he he was well covered and the pass fell incomplete. However, defensive holding gave the Saints the first down. Two successful runs put the Saints in the red zone and then Brees hit Graham at the 8 yard line and Graham managed to just stretch the ball across the goal line for Brees' 4th passing TD, giving the Saints a 28-10 lead. The Saints started their last scoring drive at their 49-yard line with 10:32 remaining in the game. The drive began with an incompletion to Kenny Stills. Following a 5-yard run by Thomas, Brees connected with Ben Watson as the defender slipped gaining 14 yards and a first down. After a short run, offensive holding put the Saints in a 2nd and 17. Brees then hit Sproles on a screen pass, but he was dropped for a loss of 3 yards. Facing a 3rd and 20 yards to go, Brees broke out of the pocket under duress, scrambled to the right and found Kenny Stills deep down the field. Even though he was well covered, Brees threw the pass and Stills made the play over the coverage for a gain of 42 yards and Brees' 5th passing TD.
Week 9 - Drew Brees had a rough day against the Jets. He was frequently under duress and seemed to be occasionally confused by the defensive alignment, witnessed by the team using all three of their first half time outs in the first quarter. His lack of accuracy was at least partly due to the consistent pressure put on him by the Jets pass rush. On one of the quarterback pressures, he flipped an underhand left-handed attempt to Mark Ingram that fell incomplete. Later, under similar pressure he flipped another pass toward Lance Moore underhanded, but this one was accurate and yet dropped. Overall, his receivers often failed to help him out, dropping passes and occasionally tipping them up, resulting in two interceptions. Even the longest completion of the game, which went for 60 yards to Robert Meachem was underthrown and probably should have gone for a TD. Brees was effective avoiding the rush, once ducking under heavy pressure and finding Lance Moore for a gain of 25 yards. He also hit an open Jimmy Graham behind all coverage for a 51-yard TD. The two sacks by the Jets came on back to back plays in the 3rd quarter, but Brees was able to hit Graham deep across the middle on 3rd and 38 for a gain of 13 yards, which set up Hartley for a 55-yard field goal that brought the Saints to within 6 points of the Jets. Because of the Saints inability to consistently run the ball, running only 13 times for a measly 41 yards, Brees attempted a season high 51 passes, 21 of which fell incomplete. thom
Week 10 - Brees was sharp on the first drive. His first pass attempt came from an empty backfield set and he hit an open Colston for a gain of 6 yards and a first down. He narrowly missed Colston on a deep pattern down the sideline. The coverage was excellent on the play, but Brees placed the ball where only Colston had a chance and it fell harmlessly off his fingertips. Brees was perfect on the Saints second drive completing all five of his pass attempts. The first was a screen pass to Thomas that only gained 1 yard, but Brees had a sixth sense that the rush was on him, even before he turned into it and yet still managed to get the pass off to Thomas. The most productive plays were both completions to Colston, first for 21 yards and a first down and then next three plays later when he hit him again at the four-yard line and Colston was able to drive into the end zone for their first TD. Brees was almost surgically accurate on the Saints second scoring drive, completing all eight of his pass attempts for a total of 62 yards and a TD. The biggest plays were a deep cross to Stills for 19 yards and a quick in to Sproles for 11 yards. The TD pass went to Thomas on a swing pattern that Thomas ran through a tackle attempt for the 2-yard TD play. The Saints scored their third consecutive TD on their next drive, which began with a deep completion to a wide open Colston for 20 yards. Brees completed five passes to five different players on the drive and every pass was right on the money. He was sacked once on the drive by DeMarcus Ware, but the Saints were able to overcome that lost yardage play.
Brees continued to be on target to start the second half, but only completed one of his three passes on the drive. The first fell incomplete as DeMarcus Ware batted it out of his hand as the pass was thrown. The second hit Graham in stride for a first down and the last one fell incomplete as Watson failed to hold on as the defender hit him right after the pass hit his hands. The team's next possession drove smartly down the field, going 92 yards in only seven plays. The drive was aided by the Cowboys' defense committing three penalties for 24 yards. Brees opened the drive with a perfect throw to Graham, open on a deep cross that gained 26 yards. He connected on two more passes on the drive, but the Saints ability to run the ball on the Cowboys weakened defense allowed them to run clock and score without having to pass much. Brees hit Colston on a short pass for 13 yards and a first down and then two plays later hit Stills deep for a 52-yard TD pass, his 4th passing TD of the game. Brees did not throw another pass on the night.
Week 11 - Drew Brees and the Saints came into this week's contest expecting a difficult game facing the tough San Francisco defense, even though New Orleans was playing at home for the second consecutive game and set the all-time NFL record of 40 first downs against the Cowboys just last week. In a game that might be repeated in the playoffs, Brees came out on target, but a dropped pass stopped an early drive. San Francisco dominated field possession during the first quarter, forcing the Saints to begin their first three drives at the 24, 9, and 3 yard lines behind excellent punting by Andy Lee. Brees and the Saints put it all together in their third drive going 97 yards in 12 plays for the game's first score and a 7-0 lead over the 49ers. Brees only had one incompletion on the drive, going 7 for 8 for 73 yards and a TD. Brees hit Josh Hill on the check-down pattern for the final 3 yards and his first passing TD of the game. The other big play was a short crossing pattern completion to Meachem that went for 44 yards. The Saints next drive was their first of only two three and outs of the game. After Brees hit Moore on a quick out for a gain of 5 yards, the next pass was knocked away from Graham on a nice play by Whitner and then Brees failed to connect with Colston, ending the drive. The 49ers then held the ball for the majority of the second quarter, actually two consecutive long drives as the Saints turned it back over to the 49ers with a lost fumble on an interception return. The Saints got the ball back with 3:23 left in the first half in excellent position, almost in the red zone, as Traveris Cadet returned the kickoff 82 yards. Brees hit an open Thomas on a quick out for 10 yards and a first down. On that play, Brees must have had eyes in the back of his head, feeling the pressure closing in and getting the pass off just before the hit and placing it right on the money. Brees began the second half with back to back completions to Sproles and Graham for short gains, but then slightly overthrew Graham on a deep route that fell incomplete. After a nice run gain, Brees had all day in the pocket, but the 49ers maintained excellent coverage on all receivers and eventually Graham released from blocking responsibility and Brees tried to loft the pass over the linebacker to Graham, but the pass was not high enough and was intercepted. Later, after hitting six straight passes in a lengthy 3rd quarter drive, Brees had back to back incompletions to end the drive. The first was under heavy rush and he simply threw the ball away to avoid a sack. The next was on 3rd down and he targeted a well covered Josh Hill, but he was unable to make the catch. The Saints got the ball back trailing 20-14 with 13:23 left in the game. Following a short running play, Brees used play action and with good protection hit Meachem in stride deep on a post pattern gaining 34 yards. Brees hit Colston with a perfectly lofted pass for a 26-yard gain later in the drive to give the team a first down and goal to go. After a nice run, Brees rolled out and hit Graham on a quick out, but the 49ers had the play well covered for a loss of 1 yard. Another Hartley field goal reduced the defecit to 3 points. The Saints defense forced a three and out and the Saints got the ball back with 6:48 remaining. Brees hit Thomas on a screen for a gain of 8 yards and then threw behind Graham in a spot that was a difficult pass to catch, but would have likely been picked off if he had led Graham. He connected on his next two throws, hitting a wide open Moore for a 16 yard gain and then a completion to Colston gaining 6 yards that was delivered under heavy duress. The Saints got a huge break on the next play as Brees was sacked and lost a fumble, but a penalty was called for a high hit on Brees. The next play was another completion to Colston across the middle for 14 yards and a first down. Brees threw the next pass away under another heavy rush and intentional grounding was called. The next pass targeted Stills in the end zone, but fell incomplete. Following a short rush by Sproles, the Saints called time out before another field goal by Harley tied the game. It seemed at the time that Coach Payton called the time out to complain to the referee and inadvertently gave the 49ers more time. However the Saints defense forced another three and out and they got the ball back again with 1:41 remaining and the score tied. Brees hit on three of four attempts in the final drive, two passes to Graham for 9 and 12 yards and a deep pattern to Colston for 20 yards between the two Graham receptions and the Saints called their final time out with 0:03 left. Hartley won the game with his third field goal of the 4th quarter.
Week 12 - Brees wasn't at his best on Thursday night in the vertical game, but he was efficient enough in the short and intermediate game to get the job done. Brees missed a deep post to Jimmy Graham off play action and later forced Robert Meachem to turn back to a slant and go that rookie cornerback Desmond Trufant defended in the fourth quarter. Brees also nearly threw an interception on a skinny post to Marques Colston in the end zone when Trufant nearly picked off the play action throw. However, these were small mistakes that Atlanta could not exploit and for most of the game Brees spread the ball around and was excellent with play action and misdirection passing plays. He found Graham in the first half for a 45-yard touchdown on a double move and did a fine job of hitting his receivers on play action crossing routes off boot action or dropping the ball to running back Pierre Thomas on screens. Brees' second touchdown was a fine display of touch to Ben Watson in the back of the end zone and with the help of a field goal, 17 points was enough for the Saints to beat Atlanta in the Georgia Dome.
Week 13 - Drew Brees began the game with good accuracy, but his receivers struggled to get any separation and he was forced to almost exclusively throw underneath. He attempted only two passes in the first quarter down the field and they both fell incomplete, the first to Meachem who was covered stride for stride by Richard Sherman. The second was a perfect pass to Graham, but the ball was knocked out of his hands with a hard hit from Bruce Irvin. The Saints for the first time under Coach Sean Peyton failed to make a first down on their first three possessions. Even worse than not converting a single first down, Brees was pressured into a fumble that was picked off in the air and returned for a touchdown by the Seahawks defense. Before the Saints made a first down, the score was 17-0. The Saints finally converted a first down on their fourth possession and followed that with a 13-play 80-yard drive for their first TD. Brees was perfect on the drive, completing all eight passes for 51 yards and the touchdown. Brees actually had an incompletion when he threw the ball away as nobody could get open, but the Seahawks committed an unnecessary roughness penalty which wiped out the incompletion and gave the Saints a first down and goal to go. Brees and the Saints got the ball back with 3:36 left in the half, trailing 20-7 and needing a score, knowing that the Seahawks would be getting the ball to start the second half. After a couple of short completions, Brees slightly overthew Josh Hill and the ball fell incomplete, giving the Seahawks another opportunity in the first half to stretch their lead. Despite the fact that Brees completed all eight passes in their first half scoring drive, he finished the half 13 of 16, but for only 74 yards, an average of only 4.6 ypa.
Brees and the Saints began the second half similar to the beginning of the game, with another three and out. This one was brought about by two offensive penalties which voided completed passes. Brees was also forced to use the Saints first time out in the second half as they were bothered by the noise and lost the time on the play clock. The Saints avoided a second consecutive three and out on their second drive of the 3rd quarter as the Seahawks committed a roughing the passer penalty. The Seahawks defense continued to dominate as Brees only completed one of four passes and that was a screen to Darren Sproles that lost four yards. Brees combined several quick throws with better protection to drive the Saints on an 11-play drive, but it stalled out with four consecutive incompletions after they drove to the Seahawks 32-yard line. Brees again drove his team down the field their next possession, which began with their most favorable field position on the night at the 43-yard line. Five short routes were completed in a row, with four of the throws going to the running backs. The drive ended when the Seahawks pressured Brees on 3rd and short forcing an incompletion. The Saints went for it on 4th down, but Brees' pass to Graham was well covered and the pass was a little high and fell incomplete. Brees was replaced by McCown with 1:49 to play and the Saints trailing 34-7. He had his least productive game this year as he managed only 147 yards and an extremely low 3.87 ypa. Brees had a string of 43 consecutive games with over 200 yards passing before tonight's game.
Week 14 - Drew Brees began the game scrambling from pressure for a gain of 5 yards. He then completed a quick toss to Sproles, but the play gained only a yard. His third down pass Colston was well covered and the Saints opened this game as they did last Monday night with a three and out. Before the Saints got the ball back, the Panthers had dominated the game and controlled the clock , running 20 plays and allowing the Saints only 3. The Saints next drive started ominously like their first, with a first down incompletion on a low throw to Colston under pressure. A short run put them again in a third and long, but Colston got a clean release off the line and Brees placed the ball perfectly for a 21-yard gain and their initial first down. The blocking by the offensive line greatly improved on this drive. Brees had been frequently pressured up to this point, but had plenty of time to identify second and third options going forward. Once the Saints entered the red zone, Brees was on target with every throw. A screen to Thomas gained 2 yards and the next pass fell incomplete to Moore as he was well defended. The next throw worked the middle of the field which would become a favorite spot for the rest of the first half. Moore converted the first down as Brees hit him in stride. After a nice run by Thomas, the line blocked well and Colston found an opening in the end zone and made an easy catch on a nice toss from Brees for the 5-yard TD and the Saints took the lead 7-6. The excellent pass protection and work on the middle of the field continued on the Saints next drive, which lasted for 14-plays and was a 65-yard scoring drive. Brees completed was 5 of 6 on the drive for 60 yards and his second TD pass. Most of the completions were to the middle of the field and right on target. Colston actually caught two TD passes on the drive as the first one was negated by a holding call, but he still made the score a few plays later. The Saints defense held and they got the ball back with 2:01 left in the half and drove quickly down the field to take a commanding 21-6 halftime lead. Brees was a perfect 6 for 6 on that drive, with most of the plays being run with an empty backfield. The first three plays featured wide open receivers and perfect passes. The first went to Moore, who again got open in the middle for a gain of 21 yards and a first down. The next found Colston open down the sideline for a gain of 19 yards and a first down. The third one was a screen to Sproles, who again showed great speed bursting for 20 yards and a third consecutive first down. After Brees was dropped for no gain, the Saints took their last time out with 0:22 left in the clock. Brees calmly hit Graham on the very next play for a 5-yard TD and his third passing TD of the half.
Brees continued his accuracy and success in the third quarter, but most of the passes were on shorter routes as it appeared that the Saints were intent on running the clock and shortening the game. The team's second possession of the second half went for 13 plays, but ended in a field goal after a replay review took away what appeared to be Brees' 4th TD pass and third to Colston. Brees completed six of nine on the drive, with one of the incompletions being a batted down pass and another a throw away with nobody open in the end zone. He efficiently moved the team and ran the clock. One of his nicer plays on the drive saw him step up in the pocket under heavy duress and find an open Colston for 15 yards and a first down. Hartley was good on the 19-yard field goal that increased the Saints lead to 24-6. In the 4th quarter, Brees hit Jimmy Graham for a 22-yard gain to give the Saints a 1st and goal to go. That play made Brees the 5th all time quarterback in the NFL with over 50,000 yards career passing and he reached that elite level in the fewest games ever. He now trails only Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, and John Elway.
Week 15 - Drew Brees was pressured on the Saints first play from scrimmage and the rush prevented him from stepping up in the pocket. The result was that he delivered a weak pass in the direction of Jimmy Graham, who was open. The pass however was well underthrown and easily intercepted. The Saints got the ball back quickly because the Rams scored on their first play. Brees directed a very efficient drive on their second possession, beginning at their own 20-yard line and marching all the way to the Rams 9-yard line in only six plays. He completed four consecutive passes in that stretch and the offense looked in sync. However, Brees was forced out of the pocket for a sack and the following play, he was again under duress and had to roll out of the pocket. He wound up throwing off his back foot and the very weak pass again was in the general direction of Graham. Graham was covered by three defenders and the underthrown pass was easily picked off. Another efficient Ram scoring drive followed and then the Rams had a successful on-sides kick, which led to another score, this time a field goal. The Saints next got the ball trailing 17-0. Brees was not dismayed by the two interceptions and continued to play with great confidence as the Saints began their next drive. He was perfect on the drive, but all three completions were short throws. The drive ended with another sack by the Rams, but Brees did manage to recover the fumble and Hartley's field goal got the Saints on the board. The Saints trailed 14-3 at the half.
Brees was unable to establish any consistency early in the third quarter. He was continually pressured, often by Robert Quinn and when he was pressured, the passes often fell incomplete or gained only short yardage. When Brees did have time, he was very accurate and completed most of the throws. However, the Saints began their second possession of the second half trailing 24-3 and that possession had nothing that went their way. Brees was rushed on first down and the offensive line was called for holding. The next three consecutive plays were all incomplete passes, but Brees was not at fault as each pass was on target and all three were dropped. The three drops were by Graham, Moore, and Sproles and the Saints were forced to punt. The protection finally improved as the Saints got the ball near the end of the 3rd quarter trailing 27-3. Brees was 6 for 7 on the drive for 64 yards. The team had to use a challenge to get a completion to Colston on the sidelines. There was however only one deep throw on that drive, when Brees hit Colston in stride for a gain of 23 yards. Brees finished off the first TD drive by stretching the ball over the goal line for a 1-yard TD run to pull the Saints closer at 27-9, as the 2-point attempt failed. The Saints defense held the Rams to only one first down and they got the ball back with 8:14 remaining. Even though the Saints were able to drive for another TD, the drive took over five minutes and 18 plays, killing most of the remaining time. Brees threw passes on 15 plays and completed 9 for 81 yards and his first passing TD. The Saints then recovered the on-sides kick and Brees moved the ball quickly down the field again. The first two passes were both deep routes and gained 30 and 14 yards respectively. Then two short completions were followed by a critical incompletion and the Saints decided to attempt a field goal to bring the score to 27-19. However, the field goal was again blocked and the Rams were able to run out the clock to seal the win.
Week 16 - Brees was under pressure the majority of the first half, but the Saints doggedly stuck with the passing game. They passed the ball 24 times in the first half (plus five sacks), but ran the ball only 10 times and one of those was a scramble by Brees. Rookie Terron Armstead, who was starting for the first time all season at left tackle, struggled, but he was not the only offensive line issue. He was frequently beaten as defenders rushed Brees and was also called for two false start penalties. Brees was mostly on target in the first half, but rarely looked deep, generally settling for short patterns and check-downs to the running backs. His only long completion was a deep cross that was thrown well hitting Colston in stride for a gain of 35 yards. The other long completion was a short delay to Watson, with most of the yardage made after the catch. Brees worst pass of the 1st half targeted Stills, but Brees failed to see Davis drop back into coverage and the pass was easily intercepted. In the first half, Brees attempted only two passes longer than 10 yards downfield and completed 17 of 24 passes for 115 yards, only 4.8 ypa. The low production per pass was even more remarkable as two of the completions gained 56 of the total 115 yards.
Brees was not pressured nearly as often in 2nd half and was only sacked once, but the Saints still had difficulty sustaining drives and Brees just seemed uncomfortable in the pocket. His second interception came on the second possession of the 3rd quarter in heavy rain. It was a similar underneath route to the first interception, only this time the target was Graham and Kuechly was the linebacker dropping back into coverage for the easy pick. One of his better throws on the day seemed a little high, but allowed Graham to go up above the defense for a 5 yard TD catch, the only TD by the Saint on the day. On the last drive Brees made good throws for two easy completions underneath the deep zone prevent defense employed by the Panthers, but the 35 yards gained was of little benefit as the Hail Mary on the games' final play was easily batted down about 5 yards short of the end zone.
Week 17 - Drew Brees put on a clinic against the Buccaneers on Sunday. Brees had an impressive 12.2 yards per attempt on the day, seemingly hitting his target on every pass. Brees accounted for five of the six Saints touchdowns. His first touchdown came on a streak route to Lance Moore. The Bucs were in man coverage. Brees laid the ball over the defenders head and into the outstretched arms of Lance Moore. Moore beat the corner down the seam with straight line speed, allowing Brees to make an easy throw into his bread basket. Brees fit his second touchdown ball into zone coverage to Jimmy Graham. Graham went in motion and ran a slant to the goal line and sat down. Brees pulled the trigger before Graham even turned around, knowing that the three defenders in the area couldn't converge fast enough to make the play. Brees got a little help on his third touchdown pass of the day. Robert Meachem ran a streak down the right sideline and Brees lofted one high and deep. Unfortunately the ball was under thrown and Meachem was covered well, but Meachem dropped to his knees and caught the ball at the ground with a defender blanketing him as they both tumbled across the goal line. Brees last touchdown pass of the day came to Kenny Stills. Stills, similarly to Moore and Meachem, ran a streak route right down the seam of the field. This time, no one picked Stills up. Brees sailed the ball down field to a wide open Stills who raced 40 yards to the end zone. Brees also scored on the ground in unlikely fashion. From the 8 yard line, Brees dropped back and went through his reads for about 4 seconds, when nothing came open, he scrambled up the middle diving into the end zone between defenders. Brees had no trouble picking apart the Bucs' defense. When they played zone, he found the hole and zipped to his target. When they played man, the Saints used their speed to beat the Bucs' defense deep. Brees and his receivers were just on another level than the Bucs defense. It also helps when you have the protection Brees had on Sunday. He was sacked once, but almost every drop back he enjoyed a fairly clean pocket with time to pick apart the defense.
Week 18 - Drew Brees had a rough first half, but this time it was not the result of pocket pressure or sacks. His receivers struggled to get open on most plays forcing Brees to throw the ball away several times. Brees was also uncharacteristically off target. For the half, he completed only 55.6% of his passes and managed to gain only 5.4 yards per attempt. Four of his ten completions were screens or check-downs to the running backs and those four completions gained only 23 yards. He had two interceptions, but the first one was more the fault of Kenny Stills who broke off his pattern at the last moment causing the pass to go over his head and be easily intercepted. The second interception was all on Brees. He did not see DeMeco Ryans sliding from the middle of the field to undercut the route. Brees was right on target completing two passes to Graham down the field for 21 and 17 yards.
Brees moved beyond the rough first half and excelled in the second half completing his first six straight passes. His only two incompletions of the second half were both thrown away, either because of pressure or lack of an open receiver. Brees completed only 10 passes in the second half, but those completions went to seven different players and he averaged 12.7 yards per attempt. Brees and the Saints used the running game effectively in the second half to keep the Eagles defense on the field. The team ran the ball 22 times compared to only 12 passes and were effective in both areas. Brees found Lance Moore open on a delayed drag route open for his only TD pass on the day and hit Robert Meachem in stride on a deep post pattern for a gain of 40 yards.
Week 19 - Brees again struggled mightily in Seattle during the first half. The weather was likely a factor, with the temperature hovering at 46 and the winds blowing at 25 to 30 mph, with off and on rain, but the Seahawks defense contributed to his lack of success as well. Brees only threw one pass on the opening drive, a screen pass that was dropped by Ingram resulting in a three and out. The Saints had a good drive on their second possession, but the passing game was not a big factor. Brees completed three short passes, all to running backs for 13, a loss of 3 and a gain of 9 yards, but the second completion was on a 3rd and long situation and only got the Saints close enough to miss a 45 yard field goal, obviously affected by the wind. The Saints changed their offensive strategy early in the 2nd quarter when they had the strong wind at their back, but the strategy failed miserably. After the team ran the ball well to get a 1st and 10 at the 40-yard line, Brees threw three straight incompletions that ended the drive. The first was thrown way over an open Moore's head. The second was also a little high and possibly with too much velocity on a tight end screen to Hill. The last was deflected at the line of scrimmage, but Colston was well covered regardless. The next possession again went run heavy, with the only pass attempt getting batted down again at the line of scrimmage forcing a punt. The Saints last possession of the first half began with 1:12 remaining and the Saints at their own 15 yard line. The drive started with a completion to Colston on a crossing pattern for a gain of 9 yards. The next pass was well defended and incomplete to Graham. Brees converted the first down with a check-down completion to Sproles for 6 yards. The next play was another incompletion to Colston on a back shoulder throw that was way off target and the Saints ran out the clock with a delay hand-off to Sproles. Brees completed only 5 of 11 passes for 34 yards (3.1 ypa) for the first half.
The weather did not seem to improve between halves, but Brees improved his accuracy somewhat as he completed 19 of 32 second half passes for 275 yards (8.6 ypa) and a TD. He connected on his first two 3rd quarter passes, each going for 16 yards and converting first downs. The next pass was an incomplete screen and then Brees was sacked to force a punt. The next drive began with an incompletion which was well off the mark to Colston, with a likely mis-communication between he and Brees. Brees next throw was again batted down. The Saints went for the 4th down and 3 to go, but Brees missed an open Moore as the throw sailed wide. The Saints last drive of the 3rd quarter began at their 39 yard line and produced their first score in the game. Brees hit Colston across the middle for 6 yards to begin the drive. A couple of plays later, Brees lofted a high pass over the coverage that was well placed so that only his tight end Hill could make the catch. The play gained 23 yards and gave the Saints another first down. Then Brees made another excellent throw to Colston on a deep cross that went for 25 yards and another first down. Two plays later, Brees hit Moore in stride on a drag route that set up the Saints with a 1st and goal to go. They scored three plays later after three straight runs. The Saints got the ball back trailing only 16-8, with 10:32 remaining, but the possession lacked consistency. Brees first pass was a good throw to Colston for 6 yards and a first down, but the next play Cadet dropped a perfectly thrown screen pass. Brees was then flagged for delay of game. The next play, Brees avoided the rush by stepping up in the pocket and finding Colston for a 15 yard completion and a first down. Two plays later, Brees again avoided the rush and found Stills deep for a long gain, but the play was voided by offensive holding. The next throw was a poor choice by Brees and should have been intercepted, but Graham acted as a defender and caused Chancellor to drop the interception. Brees again went to Graham, but Thomas closed as the pass arrived and knocked it away. The Saints defense held and they got the ball back again trailing 16-8. After a defensive holding call gave the Saints a first down, Brees lofted a deep throw to Meachem. The ball was underthrown and either of two defenders could have intercepted, but instead the ball was tipped up and gathered in by Meachem for a 52 yard gain. The Seahawks defense and 12th man stepped up as Brees was again called for delay of game and forced to call a time out to avoid another delay penalty. Three straight incompletions to Ingram, Colston who was well covered and finally a poor throw to Sproles on a screen and the Saints attempted a 48 yard field goal that did not come close. The Saints got the ball back, but after the Seahawks had increased the lead to 23-8. They drove the ball efficiently down the field 80 yards for a score, but left only 0:28 on the clock. Brees was on target that entire drive as the Seahawks fell back and allowed the short completions. He completed his first five passes and made four first downs. The defense tightened inside the red zone and a couple of incompletions gave them a 3rd and 10. Brees throw to Moore was complete, but Moore was flagged for offensive pass interference. That produced a 3rd and 20 and the defense again left the underneath open. A drop off to Sproles gained 14 yards and then Brees hit a wide open Colston for the 9 yard TD. Colston then recovered the on-sides kick, but the first completion was the first reception by Graham in the game and gained only 8 yards and used most of the remaining time. The next play was another Colston completion, but Colston was called for an illegal forward pass that ended the game.