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QB Drew Brees - New Orleans Saints

6-1, 220Born: 1-15-1979College: PurdueDrafted: Round 2

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Photo: Derick E. Hingle, US Presswire

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Week 7: at Detroit Lions

Mark and Joe say: Tough matchup. The Saints will likely do without star tight end Jimmy Graham this week - he exited their Week 5 game due to a shoulder sprain and is said to be out for 2-3 more week as of October 12. Fortunately for the Saints, they have capable backups in Ben Watson (12 targets for 9/64/0 receiving) and Josh Hill (eight targets for 7/112/1 receiving this season) - Brees will still have viable options playing at tight end in Detroit this weekend. Before the bye week, Brees threw an astronomical 57 passes vs. Tampa Bay (35/57 for 371 yards passing, two TDs and three interceptions thrown, with zero sacks taken that day) on the way to an OT win. Pierre Thomas (10 targets for 8/77/1 receiving) and Travaris Cadet (five for 3/19/1) handled the TDs for Brees that day, while Marques Colston (six for 5/63/0), Brandin Cooks (12 for 9/56/0), Josh Hill (three for 3/53/0) and Ben Watson (seven for 5/43/0) kept the chains moving. Detroit boasts the league's top-ranked pass D this season, with an average of 197.2 net passing yards allowed per game, with five passing TDs given out vs. seven interceptions (tied for fifth in the NFL) and a league-best 20 sacks to date. However, New Orleans is third in the NFL with just five sacks allowed - it isn't easy to bring down Brees. Teddy Bridgewater had a miserable day last week (23/37 for 143 net yards passing, zero TDs with three interceptions thrown, and eight sacks taken for -45 yards), but Brees is far higher up the pro-quarterback curve than Bridgewater. Two teams with strength in this phase of the game clash in Ford Field this week - we give the home team a slight edge in this phase, but realize that Brees is always a threat to have a big game no matter his opponent.

Recent Stats and Projections

3 vs MIN 27 35 293 2 0 3 -2 0 0
4 at DAL 32 44 340 2 1 1 6 0 0
5 vs TB 35 57 371 2 3 1 -1 0 0
7 at DET 28 45 342 2 1 1 13 0 0
7 at DET PROJ-Dodds 27 41 * * * 2 * * *
7 at DET PROJ-Tremblay 28 43 * * * 2 * * *
7 at DET PROJ-Bloom 27 42 * * * 1 * * *

Recent Game Summaries

2014 Week 4 vs DAL (32 / 44 / 340 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 6 / 0 rush)

Brees had another disappointing performance considering the justifiably high expectations based upon his past play. He was off target on a handful of passes, some at crucial times in the game, that stalled drives and made it impossible for the Saints to keep up with Romo, Murray and the Cowboys offense. The opening drive started promisingly as the Saints methodically moved the ball down the field despite drops by Jimmy Graham and Maques Colston. The Cowboys were able to bring pressure and force Brees to get rid of the ball quickly, which led to a lot of short passes and dump offs. The dink and dunk offense left very little margin for error since they were not picking up big chunks as the first few drives stalled once they entered Cowboys territory. Brees' first bad throw was an interception on a pass intended for Robert Meachem. Brees threw late down the middle of the field towards wide open Meachem but could not loft it over LB Bruce Carter who was able to make a great leaping play to get one hand on the ball and tip it to his teammate Justin Durant. The bad decision could have been overcome had Brees put a little more air under the ball. On the next drive, Brees was almost picked off again as he misread the Cover 4 coverage and did not see Orlando Scandrick switch off his man and cut in front of Colston to break up the pass. On his best throw of the game, Brees showed great pocket awareness to move and buy time before hitting Stills for a 46-yard-gain down the right sideline. But he came right back on the next play and threw an ugly pass three feet off target on a short route to Colston that Colston had to swat away from the defender to avoid the interception. Brees threw two other shaky passes to Colston late in the 3rd quarter. On a 4th and 2, Colston was wide open on a short route across the middle and Brees threw it behind him but was bailed out as Colston made a nice one handed grab reaching behind him. The next play, Colston ran a deep post and Brees floated a duck three feet over Colston's head down the center of the field and was lucky to avoid the interception. Brees finally got into a rhythm in the 4th quarter. First, he tossed a short TD to TE Josh Hill who blocked for a few seconds and then released as Brees rolled right and made the easy short pass to the open Hill. The next possession, the Saints spread the field with RB Travaris Cadet lining up as a WR on every play. This forced the Cowboys to cover at least one of Brees' targets with a LB on every play and Brees was able to exploit mismatches to quickly march the ball down field before hitting an open Jimmy Graham over the middle for a 13-yard TD to pull within two touchdowns. With a chance to really make it a game on the next drive, Brees' accuracy issues crept up again as the Saints were unable to move the ball at all. On first down, Brees missed a wide-open Kenny Stills on an easy throw to the sideline that would have been a nice gain of nearly 15 yards. Brees was nearly picked off trying to hit Graham on a deep ball the next play before a safe dump down to Pierre Thomas on 3rd down that left the Saints well short of a first down. On 4th down, the Saints opted to attempt a fake punt instead of leaving Brees in to go for it. The fake failed, ending any hopes of a Saints comeback.

2014 Week 5 vs TB (35 / 57 / 371 / 2 / 3 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)

The Saints' 37 points and the gaudy yardage totals do not tell the story of Brees' performance. He again made a couple crucial mistakes when faced with pressure to allow Tampa to stay in the game and had little success down the field. He was able to take advantage of the Bucs' soft underneath coverage with a lot of short throws to the RBs and TEs to move the ball against the hapless and over-aggressive Bucs' defense though and that ended up being just enough to get New Orleans their 2nd win of the season. The Buccaneers consistently left the short middle wide open for easy completions to the RBs and TEs who sat down about five yards beyond the line of scrimmage and were wide open for easy gains of 7 to 15 yards. Brees was efficient and patiently exploited the underneath throws through most of the first half until the wheels fell off with less than two minutes left in the first half. The Saints were in full control with a 13-3 lead and all of the momentum when Brees made a terrible decision that led to an interception. Brees was facing pressure up the middle and tried to step up in the pocket but found a defender draped around his ankles. He tried to throw it towards the left sideline to Travaris Cadet while falling down but wasn't able to get anything on the pass, allowing for an easy interception for Bucs CB Jonathan Banks. This mistake left the Bucs deep inside Saints territory where they quickly scored a TD to get back into the game and grab momentum before the half. The Bucs then took the opening possession of the 2nd half down the field for a touchdown to take the lead. The Saints offense took the field trying to stem the tide, but Brees again threw a terrible INT. He dropped back and, feeling pressure panicked and threw a terrible ball up for grabs that was easily intercepted and returned for a TD. In five minutes of game time, a 13-3 Saints lead was quickly turned into a 24-13 Saints deficit due in large part to inexplicable mistakes from Brees. Brees' third interception was on a desperation heave as time was about to expire in regulation. Brees targeted Meachem deep down the field in one-on-one coverage but the ball was slightly underthrown and Meachem didn't make much of an effort to make a play on it and the Bucs CB came down with it. Brees was able to lead a slow and steady comeback built upon a steady diet of short passes primarily to Cadet, Thomas, Cooks and Watson to force the game into OT. In OT, a back breaking defensive holding penalty on 3rd and long got the ball rolling on the Saints second possession and the run game took over from there. Overall, Brees did just enough to get the win in OT, but a better performance by Brees would have seen the Saints run away with the game against a soft Tampa defense.


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7@ Detroit Lions
8vs Green Bay Packers
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10vs San Francisco 49ers
11vs Cincinnati Bengals
12vs Baltimore Ravens
13@ Pittsburgh Steelers
14vs Carolina Panthers
15@ Chicago Bears
16vs Atlanta Falcons
17@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers