QB Drew Brees - New Orleans Saints
|6-1, 220||Born: 1-15-1979||College: Purdue||Drafted: Round 2|
Week 21: bye week
Recent Stats and Projections
Recent Game Summaries
2016 Week 17 vs ATL (29 / 50 / 350 / 2 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees began his day with a pair of incompletions, with the third-down failure a result of forcing the ball to a covered Coby Fleener, leading to a punt. New Orleans embarked on a promising drive their second time out; it spanned 15 plays and over 8 minutes of clock. Brees spread the ball around to a number of different receivers with successful conversions despite an ineffective running game. The drive included a notable fourth-and-one conversion, as Brees extended the play after his first short read was seemingly taken away, he delivered a perfect ball to Coby Fleener up the right sideline. Brees appeared to have a passing TD to Coby Fleener, but the call was reversed on review and the Saints were forced to settle with three points after the lengthy possession. New Orleans bounced back from a quick ATL TD with one of their own on the team's third series, as a balanced attack swiftly led the offense down the field. Tim Hightower was rewarded with a two-yard TD to shrink the deficit to 14-10 with :52 left in the opening quarter. A negative play on first down combined with heavy pressure on third down stunted NO's offensive momentum, leading to a second three-and-out. Brees and Co. found some success their following drive, initiated by a Mark Ingram running game, but the drive halted in ATL territory when stingy deep coverage forced Brees to check the ball down well short of the chains, and lead to a FG that made the score 28-13 Falcons with 3:50 remaining in the half. Following yet another opposing TD, Brees was sacked to end the first half, facing a debilitating 35-13 deficit. Brees connected with Snead for a first down on his opening drive of the half, but a costly sack shortly after led to an unsuccessful third-and-long and another punt. Midway through the third, the Saints went three-and-out on an uneventful drive that included a pair of incompletions and a false start penalty. Brees bounced back early in the fourth quarter, finding Michael Thomas and Willie Snead on sizable gains in which the receivers did most of the work. Brees found Thomas for a 14-yard TD strike with 12:41 left, but the deficit remained 38-19 following an unsuccessful 2PC. He led another promising drive midway through the fourth, with Snead and Thomas remaining the prime beneficiaries. Brees was hoping to continue taking advantage of a matchup with an overmatched CB, targeting Thomas on a back-shoulder in the end zone. However, CB Jalen Collins' first notable play came at an unfortunate time, resulting in a costly INT that all but ended NO's chances of a miracle comeback. Brees gave way to Mark Ingram on the next drive, allowing him to pick up all 50 yards and the TD with the game well in hand. After a successful onside kick, Brees led his team back down the field in a hurried attack that reached the endzone after 13 plays for 57 yards. Michael Thomas was the only one of his top three receivers that remained on the field, so he was targeted early and often. Brees then found Travaris Cadet in the right flat for a three-yard TD that narrowed the deficit to 38-32 with :46 to play. The next onside attempt was recovered by ATL, however, ending the valiant comeback in its tracks propelled by a determined Brees effort.
2016 Week 16 vs TB (23 / 34 / 299 / 1 / 0 pass, 4 / 1 / 0 rush)
New Orleans' opening drive began promisingly, with two first downs achieved. An incompletion followed by a coverage sack forced a punt soon after. Brees led a balanced attack on the second series, connecting with Cooks and Fleener for sizeable chunks before giving way to Mark Ingram for a six-yard TD rush to take a 7-0 lead. The Saints were dealt poor field position on their third possession; two incompletions and a negligible rush forced a quick punt. Brees bounced back with a 10-play drive his fourth time out, staying balanced between the run and short pass. The drive stalled in TB territory on a Cooks drop, which led to New Orleans settling for a FG to reclaim a 10-7 lead with 6:45 left in the half. Brees led another 10-play effort on his following possession, connecting with all three of his main targets to move into TB territory. From there, he took a sack, forced a screen pass for a loss and eventually the Saints had to settle for a FG with the first half clock waning towards zero, making the score 13-7 to their advantage. New Orleans received excellent field position following a TB interception, and Mark Ingram put six points on the board in one play to make the score 20-7. Brees led another TD drive on his next time out, tossing a quick slant to Michael Thomas for 43 yards after the catch, and then finding Cadet for an 11-yard TD before giving way to Ingram on a 2PC to raise the lead to 28-14 with 21:20 remaining. Brees led his team on an 11-play drive to link the third and fourth quarters, finding Brandin Cooks deep up the left sideline with a pocket pass and then firing a bullet to Michael Thomas on third-and-16. A pair of incompletions to Thomas on isolation routes at TB's three yard-line led to a FG, extending the lead to 31-21 with 11:58 left. Brees continued to feed Thomas on the following drive with the two-possession lead, but a stuffed running game and an incomplete deep shot to Cooks led to a punt with 4:33 remaining. Following a TB FG, Brees and Co. proceeded to run out the clock to solidify their 31-24 win to essentially eliminate TB. It was a bounceback performance for the veteran QB, who erased memories of his struggles in TB two weeks earlier with a trademark superstar performance.
2016 Week 15 vs ARI (37 / 48 / 389 / 4 / 0 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Brees' attacking started off by relying on the ground game on their first drive. They made it deep into Arizona territory before a costly sack pushed the offense behind the chains, and they eventually settled for a FG. New Orleans found the endzone on their second drive of the day, relying on the short pass. The Saints got lucky with a facemask call on a key third down in TB's red-zone, and responded with a ten-yard passing TD from Brees to Travaris Cadet to take the lead 10-7. NO's third drive started promising, as they moved in Arizona territory including a fourth-down conversion, but things went sour when Brees faced pressure from each end, and lost the football for a defensive touchdown. Brees and Co. responded well, however, as he connected with Brandin Cooks for an easy 65-yard TD on a deep post to reclaim a 17-13 advantage. The Saints padded their lead on the successive series, as Brees once again connected with Brandin Cooks on a long TD; this time the receiver did most of the work after the catch. With 1:51 left in the half, and boasting a 24-13 lead, it was clear that Brees' two-week slump was a thing of the past. The Saints were unable to reach FG range when they received the ball with 40 seconds before the half. Brees was forced to take a sack on the hail mary attempt, keeping the score 24-20 at the break. The Saints came out firing to start the second half with three consecutive passes to all levels of the field, but a pair of incompletions forced a three-and-out to open. Brees led a six-minute, 14-play drive his next time out almost exclusively via the pass, and had a near-TD called incomplete, and then suffered a Michael Thomas drop in Arizona territory. The late-drive failure forced NO into a manageable field goal to extend the lead to 27-20 with 21:05 left to play. The Saints got the ball back soon after with the score tied once again, and responding with another long drive of 5:20 and ten plays. The quintessential short pass once again provided the motor, as New Orleans took advantage of some quizzical soft coverage for easy completions. Three straight short passes left the Saints short of the chains, but the FG was taken off the board following an Arizona penalty, and Hightower proceeded to run it in to regain a 34-27 lead. Brees could not be stopped as evidenced by another 75-yard drive midway through the fourth quarter, continuing to throw all over the yard into soft zones to move into Arizona's red zone, and then he relied on Thomas' leaping ability to punch in the four-yard score to regain the lead once again, 41-34 with 5:33 left. After an Arizona fumble, Brees and Co. got the ball back in excellent field position, but appeared to go three-and-out when they received a questionable roughing the passer call in their favor, earning a new set of downs from a likely punting situation. The Saints took advantage, punching the ball in on the ground to extend the lead to 48-34. Arizona made the contest a one-score affair once again with just over 2 minutes left, but Brees was able to move the chains once to effectively end the shootout at a score of 48-41. It was a great performance for the veteran, bouncing back from two subpar weeks in a big way by putting the team on his back.
2016 Week 14 vs TB (25 / 41 / 257 / 0 / 3 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
A three-and-out started the offensive game for New Orleans, as Brees dumped the ball down on third-and-medium, well short of the sticks to set up a punt. An identical result occurred on the following possession; this time Brees pushed the ball downfield on third down but his intended target drew a surprising OPI call to set up another punt. Brees threw his first of three INTS early in the second quarter, forcing the ball down the right seam to a well-covered Coby Fleener. The ball was tipped into the hands of a diving DB to add salt to the wounds of a 10-0 hole. Brees connected with Willie Snead for 29 yards on a critical third down of the following drive, dropping the ball into a tight window for his biggest play at that point. The drive stalled there, as a costly holding penalty moved the ball behind the chains and then Brees settled for a checkdown on the ensuing third down to set up a FG, making the score 13-3 with 5:30 remaining in the first half. The Saints mustered a 14-play, 5:20 drive to end the half following a safety, but choked in the redzone. After moving the ball to TB's one yard-line, NO was called for a false start penalty and on the ensuing third down Brees was thrown down for a nine-yard sack, setting up a disappointing FG to shrink the halftime deficit to 13-8. Brees' Saints picked up one first down out of the half via the short pass, but a holding penalty combined with a false start penalty once again put them behind the sticks, unable to move the chains against a TB defense determined to keep everything in front. NO had its best drive of the day late in the third period, as Brees honed in on Brandin Cooks to the tune of three receptions for 46 yards. Cooks appeared to solidify the drive with a TD grab, as well, but the call was reversed on replay, illustrating a clear drop. The Saints then opted for a short FG to make the score 13-11 with 18:39 left in the game. After picking up one first down, Brees tossed his second INT of the day on NO's next drive, once again forcing a short pass to a well-covered Brandon Coleman. The pass was tipped directly into the hands of a nearby DB, and Coleman never had a shot. The Saints' subsequent drive started at their own one yard-line, and quickly became a three-and-out. A TE dumpoff created third-and-short, but Brees faced pressure from all angles to blow the play up. Brees was given a chance to run his patented two-minute drill from his own three-yard line on NO's final drive. His short passing game was able to methodically move the ball near midfield, but the drive came undone on fourth-and-short when an opposing DB undercut a short hitch route to seal the game and notch Brees' third INT of the day. The underwhelming performance, his second straight suffering three picks, was certainly a day to forget for the future HOFer.
2016 Week 13 vs DET (31 / 44 / 326 / 0 / 3 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
The Saints were set up with a third-and-short on their opening drive, but a bad snap forced Brees to frantically run backwards and commit an intentional grounding penalty, forcing a punt from deep in the end zone. Brees and Co. picked up one first down on their second drive, but a stuffed run on third-and-one led to a punting situation for an uncharacteristic slow start. New Orleans' first drive of the second quarter picked up one first down on the ground, but were forced into a third straight punt when Brees did faced significant pressure on third-down and could not set his feet. This kept the score at 10-0 Detroit with 10:42 left in the half. Brees started his fourth drive in Detroit field position, but continued to find little success through the air. A costly holding penalty dealt NO a first-and-20, and Brees responded with three uneventful checkdowns leading to a FG. The Saints had their most productive drive of the day with only 56 seconds left in the first half, as they moved the ball 75 yards in only six plays. The offense seemed to be heading for a quick punt until Brees delivered a deep pass to Brandin Cooks for 39 yards to move into FG territory. Time became a critical factor from there, as NO only took one shot to the end zone that was batted away, settling for a short FG that shrank the deficit to 13-6 at halftime. New Orleans was able to gain one first down on their first drive of the second quarter, but a penalty put Brees into a tough third-and-long situation, and he proceeded to force a throw into a well-covered Brandin Cooks. Glover Quin easily read the pass and made the INT to give Detroit excellent field position with a 16-6 lead. The Saints found the end zone for their first and only time of the day in the fourth quarter, as Brees found Fleener up the right sideline to move the ball into DET territory, then a pair of completions to Michael Thomas and Brandin Cooks took the ball to the one yard-line. John Kuhn dove over the pile to make the score 19-13 Lions with 13:32 to play. Only one first down was to be found on the following possession, as a batted pass, tight coverage and some timely pressure resulted in three straight incompletions from deep in NO territory to force a punt with 10:21 left and a 25-13 deficit. Brees found a bit of momentum on his next drive, earning chunk gains to Willie Snead and Coby Fleener, but he threw his second pick of the day by forcing a deep pass to a well-covered Snead, all but ending the game with a two-possession deficit and only 5:23 remaining. Brees moved the ball down to the DET 9 on his final drive, surpassing the 300-yard passing mark in garbage time with a bevy of meaningless checkdowns. He threw a short hail mary on the final play that went to an enemy defender for his third INT, capping off arguably his worst performance of the year.
2016 Week 12 vs LA (28 / 36 / 310 / 4 / 0 pass, 1 / 1 / 1 rush)
Brees moved the chains twice on his first drive, connecting with MIchael Thomas before giving way to Mark Ingram. A first-down loss and third-down incompletion forced a punt shortly after. The Saints bounced back on their second possession, gaining chunks of yardage via short passes including a pair of third-down conversions. Brees connected with Coleman on a slant for a three-yard TD to tie the score at 7 late in the opening quarter. He faced a blind side sack to begin the next series, coughing up the ball on the huge hit and giving the Rams excellent field position in the process. Brees led a TD drive on his fourth possession, connecting with Coby Fleener on a 31-yard seam route to move the ball in LA territory. The score occurred on a fourth-down carry by Mark Ingram to tie the score at 14 with 9:38 left in the half. New Orleans benefitted from a forced fumble to earn excellent field position midway through the second period. They were stuffed at the goal-line on two occasions before Brees took matters into his own hands and extended the ball over the plane for a one-yard TD on fourth down. Brees led his team right back down the field by relying on his TEs, then connected with Michael Thomas in the left corner for a six-yard score. The exceptionally accurate touch pass was feathered between two defenders to give the Saints a 28-14 lead with 2:24 left in the half. New Orleans began their final drive of the half with only 55 seconds left, but with only one timeout they ran out of time before even crossing into enemy territory, leaving the halftime lead at 28-21. Mark Ingram did the heavy lifting on NO's first drive of the second half, ripping off a huge run before receiving a 21-yard screen pass for a TD to extend the lead to 35-21. A three-and-out was forced after tight coverage on a deep third down pass to Michael Thomas, resulting in a rare punt for the high-powered Saint offense.The rout was on following yet another TD drive for Brees and Co. to push the lead to 42-21 in their favor. This late third quarter possession ran through Michael Thomas, who caught a 35-yard pass on a deep-in and then a 21-yard TD up the left sideline as Brees lofted the ball over zone coverage. A pair of short runs and a tipped pass on third down forced a punt midway through the third on the subsequent possession. The Saints punted the ball away again before taking 3:31 off the clock on their final series of the day with an eventual 49-21 victory well in hand. Brees was sharp from start to finish, taking advantage of a listless Rams secondary by moving the ball with relative ease to the tune of seven offensive touchdowns.
2016 Week 11 vs CAR (35 / 44 / 285 / 2 / 1 pass, 2 / 0 / 0 rush)
The Saints began the contest with a first down to Cooks on a short pass, but an unsuccessful running game left them with third and long. Brees felt the pressure there, and coughed up the ball to give Carolina excellent field position. New Orleans embarked on a 14-play, 71-yard drive that chewed almost eight minutes of clock on their second possession. It was propelled by a short passing attack full of checkdowns and efficiency on third down. A short field goal was the decision after Coby Fleener could not a convert a third-and-two target into a fresh set of downs. This left the score in a 3-3 tie after one period. Brees' third possession picked up on first down on a short checkdown, but a punt ensued shortly after when he could not connect with Coby Fleener up the right seam on third-and-medium. He threw an uncharacteristic wobbler up the right sideline directly into the hands of a Carolina DB on his fourth series, an undeniable mistake from the usually precise passer. New Orleans began was pitiful field position on their following drive due to a special teams gaffe from Marcus Murphy, and were unable to move the chains from deep in their own territory, resulting in a punt. Brees found some momentum on his last meaningful drive before halftime, moving the ball into Carolina territory with chunk completions to Michael Thomas, Coby Fleener, Willie Snead and a pair of screen passes to Mark Ingram. A costly sack and false start penalty cut the drive short in Carolina's red zone, and more disappointment ensued on a blocked FG that set up the Panthers for a touchdown and a 20-3 halftime deficit for NO. Brees' Saints opened the second half with one of their trademark mammoth drives, this one for 16 plays, 58 yards that ate 8:21 off the clock. The drive followed the pattern of NO's offense to this point, short passes and checkdowns that were spread among Hightower, Cooks and Snead. The drive gained traction into Carolina's red zone, including a pair of fourth-down conversions and a QB sneak, but faltered from there when Brees took a costly sack and was forced to settle for a FG, making the score 23-6 Panthers with one quarter left. New Orleans got the ball back with good field position, and proceeded to move the ball deep into Carolina territory on three straight Tim Hightower runs that gained a total of 42 yards. Brees then found Brandon Coleman for a nine-yard TD, utilizing the receiver's notable size for the score that narrowed the deficit to 23-13 with 11:22 to play. The Saints got the ball back in short order after their defense forced a punt, but a pair of incompletions on second and third down forced them into a quick punt of their own. Brees' Saints came through with a TD drive on their next drive, finally involving Michael Thomas in the offense, and continuing to rely on spreading the ball around on short passes. Coby Fleener was rewarded with the eight-yard TD on a precise bullet pass that split between two LBs in a miniscule window, cutting the deficit to 23-20 with 2:52 to play. He got the ball back with 14 seconds left in the game but with zero timeouts and a starting position on his own 14, the situation was dire. Three straight completions underneath the defense went for a total of 43 yards, but the drive mounted no real threat to the Panthers as the clock soon ran out. The 6.5 YPA for Brees in this contest was meaningful, as Carolina was content to let him complete a plethora of short passes in zone defense while limiting any big plays down the field and keeping the game on their terms.
2016 Week 10 vs DEN (21 / 29 / 303 / 3 / 2 pass, 2 / 9 / 0 rush)
The Saints began with the ground attack for one first down as they have in recent weeks, but faced immediate resistance through the air. Tight man coverage forced two straight incompletions and an early punt. New Orleans was moving the ball well on their second drive with a run-heavy offense split between Hightower and Ingram, as well as a key 19-yard chain mover to Brandon Coleman that featured a perfect back-shoulder throw down the left sideline. Brees continued to test the Denver coverage in opposing territory, but it cost the Saints with an interception at the seven yard-line. The target was Travaris Cadet on a vertical route from the right slot, but an alert safety came over the top and took the ball away before it found its intended target. Tight coverage on a seam route to Michael Thomas ended with the very same result on the first play of New Orleans' third drive. Bradley Roby had Cooks locked up, forcing the ball to be tipped into the hands of a nearby safety. With two turnovers and zero points, the Saints trailed 7-0 at the beginning of the second quarter with little to be confident about on offense. Sean Payton decided to pound the rock after these two INTs, starting NO's fourth drive with three consecutive runs. The momentum stunted after that, however, as consistently tight DEN coverage gave Drew Brees' passing game a wafer-thin margin of error. A pair of incompletions on second and third down forced another punt with a 10-0 deficit. A seven-yard connection from Brees to Michael Thomas was all that could be mustered on the following NO drive; they were unable to execute a pitch on third and one which led to another punt from deep in their own territory. Brees found a bit of success before halftime, connecting with Willie Snead on a blown coverage and then Michael Thomas on a back-shoulder route to enter easy FG range. A combination of tight coverage and time constraints forced NO to settle for three rather than pursue a TD, but the points to cut the score to 10-3 was a welcome sight for an offense that was completely shut down for the majority of the opening half. Brees ran for five yards off right tackle on the second play of the third period on what appeared to be a broken play. He led an impressive 90-yard TD drive to open the second half for New Orleans, relying on Willie Snead to move the chains early before dumping the ball underneath to Travaris Cadet and then dropping a bucket pass into the hands of Brandin Cooks deep up the left sideline. Snead was rewarded with a three-yard TD on a blown coverage to suddenly tie the game at 10 after being outplayed for much of the opening half. Brees took advantage of an opposing INT to lead another TD drive midway through the third quarter, connecting with Tim Hightower out of the backfield before once again finding Willie Snead for a five-yard score off play-action to take a 17-10 lead with 18 minutes to play. The Saints got the ball back with a lead after a missing Denver FG, hoping to further seize momentum. The drive was quickly extinguished, however, when a defender forced a fumble from Michael Thomas after a short reception to give Denver the ball back with great field position. After Denver tied the score, New Orleans was forced into a quick three-and-out following two short runs and immense pressure leading to a sack on third down. The Saints showed continued faith in the rookie after this fumble, but he coughed it up once more early in the following drive on first impact to give the Broncos even better field position, nursing a 20-17 lead with only 3:15 left on the clock. The New Orleans defense surprisingly held firm, forcing a FG to keep the game alive with a 23-17 DEN lead and 2:50 left on the clock for Brees and Co. The veteran QB led his team down the field in short order, finding Cooks deep up the right sideline to move into opposing territory before slowing down a bit with awareness of the time on the clock. Brees showed impressive pocket mobility on his final snap of the day, a 32-yard TD in which he simply threw the ball up for Cooks who made a great play to come down with it between tight defensive coverage. The TD tied the score at 23, but a shocking turn of events occurred when Denver blocked the PAT, ran it back for a controversial 2PC and proceeded to run out the clock for a heart-breaking 25-23 loss. Brees and the Saints will be tasked with a quick turnaround, traveling to Carolina on a short week for TNF.
2016 Week 9 vs SF (28 / 39 / 323 / 3 / 0 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
The Saints relied on the running game to begin the contest, picking up one first down but they were forced to punt following a costly OPI call on a deep target to Brandin Cooks. Brees was responsible for chunk gains of 23 to Michael Thomas and 32 to Josh Hill on New Orleans' second drive, but it was Tim Hightower's steady running game that dominated the second drive. His five carries were rewarded with a TD that gave the Saints a 7-3 first quarter lead. Brees was given excellent field position to begin the team's third drive after an INT, and he took advantage by moving the ball down to the one before finding Michael Thomas for a one-yard TD on a well-run back-shoulder route to give the Saints an early 14-3 lead. The Saints ripped off a 12-play, 76-yard drive to eat up six minutes on their following possession. The drive was kickstarted by a 15-yard completion to Brandin Cooks, but was largely controlled by a committee attack of Hightower and Ingram. The latter was given two targets, one of which being a screen pass to the right flat for a five-yard TD that opened the first half advantage to a comfortable 21-3 margin. The Saints scored a 75-yard rushing TD midway through the second period to earn a 28-10 second quarter lead. New Orleans' offensive momentum was finally stunted before halftime; they picked up one first down on the ground but failed to convert a third-and-medium on a deep target down the right sideline that forced a punt. Brees got the ball back with 58 seconds left in the half and seemed content to run out the clock; letting it run after a checkdown deep in his own territory. However, after connecting on a deep post to Coby Fleener the Saints pushed the pedal, and Brees found Cooks deep up the right sideline on a comeback and Snead up the left sideline on a vertical route. The soft coverage allowed the Saints to kick a chip-shot FG for a 31-20 halftime lead. Brees' Saints were given pitiful field position to open the second half from their own one, and didn't attempt to do much with it; they gained a few yards to set up a punt. The Saints went on another 12-play, six-minute drive midway through the third with a short-passing game as its engine. It stalled in SF territory following an illegal block penalty, and set up a long FG attempt that missed to keep the game 31-23 with 17:55 to play. Getting the ball back after a quick Niner three-and-out, Brees proceeded to lead another TD drive. The notable plays came on a 28-yard vertical route to Brandin Cooks and a 32-yard tipped pass TD that Michael Thomas reeled in for a Jermaine Kearse-esque score to give New Orleans a 38-23 lead. Yet another three-and-out gave the Saints the ball back shortly later, allowing them to continue to build on their significant time-of-possession advantage, Brees relied on a chunk running game and a short passing game to move the chains in order to move his offense into FG range to stretch the lead to 41-23 with 8:52 to play. The Saints were intent on milking the clock on each of their final two drives, running the ball early and often to take roughly 5 minutes off the clock in a span of eight plays from scrimmage. It was efficient day for all aspects of the NO offense, as both the ground and air attack seemed to get whatever it wanted. His peak performance marked by legendary accuracy combined with a strong supporting cast keeps Brees a strong QB1.
2016 Week 8 vs SEA (27 / 35 / 265 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / 1 / 1 rush)
Brees' Saints picked up one first down on their opening drive, a short hitch to Michael Thomas, but a poor running game and tight coverage forced a punt in short order. Their second drive ended with a defensive TD due to a Mark Ingram fumble, who was permanently benched as a result. The Saints offense met similar struggles on their third drive, finding Thomas for one first down again but allowed significant defensive pressure on the ensuing third down to force another punt. New Orleans responded on their fourth possession with a 15-play, seven-minute drive. The ball was spread around to numerous targets on short passes along with a steady running game from Tim Hightower. The drive stopped deep in the red-zone, however, as Brandon Coleman was unable to convert a relatively easy third-down, leading to a field goal to narrow the deficit to 7-3 with 11:37 left in the second. The Saints got the ball back down 14-3 for their fifth possession, and slowly but surely moved the ball into Seattle territory with short passes that leaned heavily on Willie Snead. The momentum was stunted in plus-territory once again, as Brees could not convert a third down to Travaris Cadet in man coverage with a linebacker. A long field goal was drilled to make the score 14-6 with 5:15 to play. Time of possession was clearly a point of emphasis for New Orleans this week, as they ripped off drives of 7, 4:38 and 4:13 to end the half. A short passing attack was the result once again on their last drive before halftime. Brees only reached about 120 yards despite tossing the ball over 20 times. NO was able to punch it in this time, giving two failed touches to Tim Hightower from the one before Brees leaped over the pile on third down for the rushing TD, making the score 14-13 SEA at halftime. Brees' opened the second half with a productive drive, connecting on a 38-yard flea-flicker, a possible touchdown if it was not slightly underthrown. However, New Orleans' ineffective red-zone offense plagued them from there, as three straight attempts to reward Tim Hightower with a TD from the one-yard line were easily stopped by the Seahawks. A field goal was frustratingly the choice from here, cutting the score to 17-16 with 3:21 left in the third. Brees continued to show a notable connection with Michael Thomas into the late stages of the game, but it was the running game that finally broke free for a 28-yard gain to move the ball into Seattle territory early in the fourth. The passing game resorted to an obvious pick play to convert a critical two-yard touchdown on a slant to Brandin Cooks; the Saints took their first lead of the day by a score of 22-17. The ensuing 2PC was an easily-defensed shovel pass. Brees was able to move the ball deep into SEA territory once again with more of the same formula: ball-control offense consisting of short passes and a steady running game. It was enough to convert a field goal to raise the lead to 25-20 with under two minutes to play, as the Saints opted to stay conservative instead of going for the kill with a TD. It wasn't a huge statistical day for the veteran QB, as seemingly every yard was hard-earned, but the keep-away tactic was enough to secure the W despite some red-zone inefficiencies.
2016 Week 7 vs KC (37 / 48 / 367 / 3 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Relying on an efficient running game to move the chains early on in his team's opening possession, Brees spread the ball around to his three main targets of Cooks, Snead and Thomas to earn a 7-0 lead. The scoring play exhibited Brees' feathery-soft touch accuracy on a perfectly placed wheel route to Cooks up the left sideline for a nine-yard score. The Saints picked up one first down on their second drive through the air, but significant third-down pressure in Brees' face led him to target a heavily covered Willie Snead. The pass was tipped and fell into the hands of a Chief for a costly pick six to tie the score. Brees was unable to respond as desired on the ensuing drive, as one first down was all that could be mustered. A sack on a second-down DB blitz proved too much to overcome, and a punt was the result. Negative yardage plagued New Orleans on their next drive, as well, as minimal gains on short dump-offs were not enough to recover from a holding penalty. A punt was the decision with under five minutes to play in the first half and a 21-7 deficit. Brees was dealt very poor field position with roughly two minutes to play before halftime, and started off the drive promisingly with two connections to Coby Fleener for a total of 44 yards. Things went downhill from there, however, as a uncharacteristic delay penalty and an overthrown Michael Thomas on an open vertical route forced yet another punt for a 14-point deficit at the break. Brees' Saints opened the second half with a mammoth 14-play drive that took just over 8 minutes off the clock. This was accomplished with a steady running game combined with a short passing attack that was effective in third-down conversions. Workhorse RB Mark Ingram was fed touches near the goal-line, and earned a three-yard receiving touchdown as a result. The Saints were forced to punt on the following drive, picking up one first down on the ground but falling a yard short on a short pass behind the chains. The score was 24-14 for the Chiefs when the Saints had their first possession of the final period, and it started off efficiently with a short running attack to move the chains. Brees picked up nice yardage through the air on a back-shoulder to Michael Thomas and out-route to WIllie Snead for more third-down conversions, but a costly Mark Ingram fumble in KC territory cost the Saints a critical late-game possession with the 10-point deficit. Brees responded admirably after a KC punt, leading his team 80 yards down the field in just over two minutes. He spread the ball around to Thomas, Cooks and Cadet to move into KC territory before coming through in the clutch by extending a third-and-goal play to squeeze a pass into a tight window to Brandon Coleman for a ten-yard TD that narrowed the margin to 24-21 with 2:33 left in the game. New Orleans' final drive began with only 28 seconds on the clock, zero timeouts and a six-point deficit with 75 yards to travel. Brees completed two underneath passes for easy yardage, but neither receiver was able to get to the sideline and the clock quickly hit zero in a 27-21 loss. The veteran QB topped 300 passing yards for the 100th time in his HOF career, but it came in yet another loss as poorly-timed turnovers and costly penalties marred an otherwise efficient offensive day.
2016 Week 6 vs CAR (34 / 49 / 465 / 4 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
The veteran quarterback put his team on his back once again, needing every one of his 465 yards to secure victory. Brees spread the ball around on his first drive with little resistance, finding Mark Ingram, Brandin Cooks, Tommylee Lewis and Coby Fleener to move the ball deep into the red zone on consistently effective short passes. He ceded the touchdown to Fleener on the ground to give his team an early 7-0 lead. New Orleans began their second series with poor field position, and was unable to move the chains as a third-down checkdown fell a few yards short of the line, forcing a punt. Brees laid the ball perfectly into Cooks' hands on the third drive, taking advantage of the speedster's separation up the right sideline for an 87-yard touchdown to raise the lead to 14-0. The offense capitalized on excellent field position supplied by Lewis' impressive punt return, gaining 29 yards on four plays with little defensive resistance to further the lead to 21-0, a big lead which placed the 2016 Saints in unfamiliar territory. Brees moved the ball with more success on his fifth possession of the day, burning almost five minutes off the clock in the process. He continued to spread the ball around to a plethora of targets including Josh Hill, Willie Snead and Daniel Lasco, but an inability to execute in short yardage forced the Saints to attempt a long-field goal that veered wide right. Two incompletions and a false start penalty marred New Orleans' next drive from the start, and they were content to punt it away with a 21-3 lead late in the first half. Brees orchestrated a two-minute drill before halftime, taking advantage of wide open receivers for chunk gains to move the ball into enemy territory. The drive bogged down there, but Brees showed excellent awareness to avoid a sack as the Saints were out of timeouts which allowed them to kick a field goal to earn a 24-10 halftime lead. New Orleans was forced to punt from deep in their own territory to open the third quarter after Lewis let a third-down conversion slip through his fingertips. Brees delivered a perfect ball up the left seam to Coby Fleener on the next drive, delivering the ball into his tight end's hands between two defenders and allowing him to run through the reception for a 50-yard TD. This gave the Saints a 31-17 advantage with five minutes to play in the third period. A pair of penalties stunted New Orleans' final drive on the third, reversing a deep completion to Michael Thomas and forcing a punt from deep within their own territory. Brees' first drive of the fourth began with promise, as he connected with Cooks and Thomas for a pair of first downs. However, he overthrew Cooks on the third play of the series, hitting a defensive back in stride for his first true miscue of the day. It proved costly, as when the Saints got the ball back, the Panthers had shrunk their lead to a slim 31-30 advantage. Brees responded with a touchdown drive of his own, showing impressive pocket mobility to keep a play alive and connect with Brandin Cooks on a 49-yard, ad-lib vertical route that vaulted him over 400 passing yards. The Saints were able to punch it in shortly after on a precise eight-yard wheel route touchdown to take a 38-30 lead. New Orleans' defense could not hold, however, so Brees' offense was left with 3 minutes to break a 38-38 tie on the following possession. He took a costly sack to start the drive, but rebounded by relying on a very short passing attack that moved a total of 46 yards to set up a game-winning, 53-yard field goal.
2016 Week 4 vs SD (23 / 36 / 207 / 2 / 2 pass, 4 / -4 / 0 rush)
It wasn't the best day for Brees, who vacillated between peak performance and concerning inaccuracy to surrender a seemingly insurmountable lead. Turnovers let the Saints back in the game however, and the veteran QB delivered from there. Brees and the Saints started off the game strong, as the QB relied on a successful rushing attack and short passing game to put a touchdown on the board. Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas and Brandon Coleman got involved early in what promised to be a high-scoring affair. The second drive was not nearly as flawless, as one first down was picked up before a pair of runs were stuffed and Brees was swiftly dropped on third-and-long, setting up a punt. Brees resumed an efficient passing attack on the third drive, converting third downs to Cooks and Willie Snead to move the ball into the red zone before using play-action to find a wide open John Kuhn for a 14-7 lead with 9:20 to play in the first half. Brees forced the ball to a well-covered Brandon Coleman on the first play of the following drive, resulting a tipped pass which fell into the hands of a Charger to provide them with good field position. New Orleans was dealt very poor field position on their final drive before half. A holding penalty got things off to a poor start before a third-down sack pushed the ball back to NO's own two-yard line. This forced a punt, and a first-half deficit of 24-14. Brees efficiently moved the ball to begin the third quarter, consistently throwing short passes to narrowly move the chains. A particularly accurate throw came on a wheel route to Mark Ingram for 20 yards; John Kuhn pounded the rock into paydirt to make the score 24-21 with nine to play in the third. The offense had two passing plays to pick up six yards on the following drive, but both fell incomplete due to tight coverage, a rare sight in this offensive shootout that led to a punt. Significant pressure marred New Orleans' third and final drive of the third period, as Brees did well to throw the ball away on second and third downs in order to salvage a punt. The rut continued to open the final quarter, as Brees floated an interception up the left sideline. His receiver fell down on the play, but by no means was this a well-thrown pass. With the game in balance on the following drive, Brees' Saints failed to pick up six yards near midfield. The QB threw two straight incompletions on a bouncing ball well short of his target followed by a forced pass to a receiver well-short of the sticks. New Orleans decided to punt the ball away with less than seven minutes on the clock, down 34-21. A fumble gave the Saints the ball back with great field position just seconds later, and New Orleans responded with a touchdown from 13 yards out. A trio of running plays strangely began the drive, but Brees found Michael Thomas on a back-shoulder route to shrink the deficit to 34-28 with 4:50 to play. Good fortune came New Orleans' way again, as San Diego fumbled a second time on their first play from scrimmage, setting up New Orleans only 31 yards away from somehow taking a lead. Turning back to their running game with time seemingly in their favor, Brees contributed with a pair of third-down conversions before once again giving way to John Kuhn to secure an improbable 35-34 lead. San Diego was unable to move the ball in desperation mode, and Brees was able to take three kneeldowns to give the Saints their first victory of the year.
2016 Week 3 vs ATL (36 / 54 / 376 / 3 / 1 pass, 2 / 9 / 0 rush)
The veteran QB held his end of the bargain in Monday night's shootout, orchestrating a pass-heavy offense with ease. However, a New Orleans defense continued to put pressure on Brees to score every time he had the ball, and ultimately one costly turnover proved too much to overcome. Brees was sharp on New Orleans' first drive, relying on Mark Ingram on the ground to get the drive going before spreading the ball around to three different receivers including TE Coby Fleener for the drive-ending touchdown. The 11-play drive took almost seven minutes off the clock and put the Saints up 7-0. After fumbling away the subsequent punt return, the score was 7-7. Brees came out firing on the second drive but his team was forced to punt after three straight incompletions into tight coverage. The Saints initially went three-and-out again on the following drive, but a fortunate roughing the passer call gave them a new set of downs. Brees took advantage of this, relying mainly on his running and precise short passing game to move the ball down the field before connecting with rookie Michael Thomas for a three-yard touchdown to tie the score at 14. The momentum was stunted on the following drive, as short passing moved the chains once but a costly five-yard loss on a botched screen pass put the Saints well behind the chains and forced a punt. Brees was dealt a 28-14 deficit with 28 seconds before half, and proceeded to set up a field goal with a deep seam completion to Coby Fleener to narrow the halftime deficit to 11. The veteran QB orchestrated a TD drive to begin the second half, earning big yardage with precise touch throws down the left sideline to Cadet and Thomas before utilizing his running game to reach paydirt and score the 2PC. However, the score was still 35-25 in favor of ATL, and by this point it was clear that NO would have to score nearly every time they touched the ball to have a chance. Brees once again moved the ball into the red zone with relative ease to begin the fourth period, finding Tommylee Lewis on a perfect deep crosser, but an impressive break on the ball by an Atlanta DB stymied an attempted slant before an unfortunate tip landed in the hands of a defender, and he proceeded to take it back for six resulting in a formidable 45-25 fourth-quarter deficit. Brees showed little memory of this seemingly backbreaking development on the following possession, using his customary short passing game along with a notable pinpoint pass to Coby Fleener down the middle for 36 yards. He found Mark Ingram on a swing pass for a touchdown, narrowing the deficit to 45-32 with ten minutes to play. He barely escaped a game-sealing turnover when he got the ball back midway through the fourth, but replay revealed a risky pass to the right sideline was simply an incompletion. Brees did his best to force the ball downfield through the air on this final drive when Atlanta knew exactly what was coming, but eventually the pass rush got to him, forcing the offense well behind the chains which proved too much to overcome, and New Orleans turned the ball over on downs to solidify the loss at 45-32. He will be a top-notch QB1 all season given New Orleans' only hope at remaining competitive is a voluminous passing attack.
2016 Week 2 vs NYG (29 / 44 / 263 / 1 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees' Saints picked up one first down on their first possession, relying on the ground game and a single completion to Willie Snead, but were forced to punt after Brees could not connect with Coby Fleener. A punt ensued on the second drive, as well, after Brees was dropped for a sack on third down. By this time, it was clear New York's defense wasn't going to allow a repeat of last November's 52-point shootout. After an 80-yard drive by New York's offense stalled in the redzone, the Saints were dealt a starting point of their own three-yard line on their third possession. Nothing developed beyond a play-action dumpoff, and a third straight punt was the result. New Orleans' defense did well to keep the game scoreless, forcing a fumble and providing the offense with good field position, but consistent pressure from the New York defense derailed yet another Saints drive into a punt. Once again Brees' Saints started deep in their own territory and they were unable to grasp any offensive rhythm, as their receivers were routinely blanketed by opposing defensive backs. Thomas Morstead kept busy with his fifth punt of the half, and the score remained 0-0 with 6:41 to play in the second period. The offense was gifted positive field position on their subsequent drive, but a combination of penalties and missed opportunities only allowed for a net gain of five yards before a field goal was attempted. Rather than putting the Saints up 3-0, however, the kick was blocked and returned for a New York touchdown, giving the Saints a 7-0 deficit. Forced to immediately pick up the pieces, Brees led the Saints into the two-minute drill and relied heavily on his tried-and-true short passing attack. Connecting with Michael Thomas for 17 and 23, respectively, moved New Orleans into enemy territory. Then, Brees dumped it down to Willie Snead and Brandon Coleman to set up his team for a comfortable field goal, which allowed the team to enter half with a 7-3 deficit. To open the second half, a short pass to Brandin Cooks allowed New Orleans to pick up one first down, but stingy New York defense forced a failed third-down conversion and another punt. Brees was finally able to move the ball consistently on the second drive of the second half, utilizing a bevy of short passes to keep the chains moving before taking advantage of what seemed to be a blown coverage on a 17-yard touchdown strike to Snead to tie the game at 10 early in the final quarter. Brees connected with Fleener to mark a promising begin to New Orleans' subsequent possession, but three straight incompletions into tight New York coverage forced another punt trailing 13-10 midway through the fourth. Brees heated up on his final drive when he had to, primarily relying on Cooks, Coleman and Thomas to move the ball into Giant territory. Things stalled in the red zone, when two costly incompletions forced the Saints to settle for a field goal that tied the game at 13. New Orleans did not get the ball back after surrendering it with 2:54 remaining, as New York milked the clock before kicking a game-winning field goal, 16-13. It's a frustrating loss for Brees, who didn't achieve anywhere near the offensive success he found last November when facing the Giants. Perpetually tight coverage combined with sporadic pass protection and a non-existent running game limited what the veteran signal caller was able to produce.
2016 Week 1 vs OAK (28 / 42 / 423 / 4 / 0 pass, 2 / 5 / 0 rush)
Brees' arm picked up right where it left off last year, dominating New Orleans' offensive yardage and serving as the only weapon to keep his team in another shootout. He came out throwing on all three downs of the first drive, but did not record a completion and ending up holding on to the football too long before losing suffering a strip sack and losing the fumble. Brees was efficient on the following possession, connecting on four straight underneath passes to Ingram and Snead, but things slowed down in the red zone when an intentional grounding penalty forced the team to kick a field goal. Brees once again relied heavily on Snead on the third series, delivering one of his patented touch passes down the left sideline for 49 yards. Things bogged down in the red zone once again, but the Saints left the offense out on fourth down from the one, and their aggressiveness was awarded when Brees connected with Snead for a one-yard touchdown off play-action to tie the score at 10. Brees led the Saints on another touchdown drive on the subsequent possession, delivering one precise pass after another over the short and intermediate areas of the field. He fed rookie Michael Thomas the first two catches of his career on slant routes, and utilized Brandin Cooks' impressive route running for a total of 30 yards and a touchdown on the drive, giving his team a 17-10 lead five minutes before half. The veteran quarterback made a point of targeting Travaris Cadet on their drive before the half, but failed to gain any traction and were forced into a punt, taking a 17-10 lead into the break. A tackle-for-loss and false start penalty stunted New Orleans' opening drive of the second half, and forced them to punt from deep within their own territory. Brees showcased another pinpoint touch pass down the left sideline to start and finish the following drive, taking advantage of a mismatch caused by Brandin Cooks toasting his man coverage with spectacular speed in order to connect on a 98-yard touchdown, pushing a mid-3rd quarter lead to 24-10. Brees relied on very short passing on the drive that finished the third quarter and opened the fourth, surpassing 300 yards passing, but could not convert to Coby Fleener on a pivotal third down in Oakland territory, settling for a field goal attempt. Brees' offensive line began to put him under siege on his following drive, but he was still able to work the ball down the field in order to gain pass interference penalties. The drive ended with a field goal after Brees strangely attempted what appeared to be a designed run on third-and-goal from the six. The longtime Saint kept pushing the ball down field despite continuous pressure midway through the fourth quarter, finding Willie Snead deep behind the Raiders' coverage and then executing in the red-zone for a two-yard strike to bring him over 400 yards passing, including four touchdowns that gave the Saints a 34-27 lead with 6:03 to play. Despite moving the ball almost at will all day, Brees' offense was forced into desperation mode, down a point with only 47 seconds to play and no timeouts deep in their own territory. He responded admirably, finding Willie Snead twice to set up a 61-yard field goal, but it sailed wide left to end in a heartbreaking 35-34 loss. Brees' Saints will likely continue to find it necessary to light up the scoreboard in order to make up for a sivv of a defense, rendering him a top-notch QB1 regardless of matchup.
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