QB Drew Brees - New Orleans Saints
|6-1, 220||Born: 1-15-1979||College: Purdue||Drafted: Round 2, pick 32 (2001)|
2018 Week 1 vs TB (37 / 45 / 439 / 3 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
After playing second fiddle to the run game last season, it was the Drew Brees show this week as the Saints were playing catchup all game. Brees was attempting to match Ryan Fitzpatrick who was torching his own defense and found a rhythm with top receiver Michael Thomas. Brees surpassed 400 yards passing, did not throw an interception, but could not muster one final touchdown drive to try and tie the game. 25 completions and almost 300 of his yards came in the form of 29 passes to Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. The run game was all but abandoned due to an early deficit and Brees went about extracting large chunks of yards with every pass. Brees first touchdown came on a beautifully thrown ball to Ted Ginn Jr. Brees laid the ball deep down the right sideline for a 28-yard touchdown. Ginn simply ran past his man for an easy touchdown. The second touchdown was a 6-yard slant to Michael Thomas into the end zone. Brees put the ball right on the numbers for another easy touchdown. His third and final touchdown came on a short swing pass to Alvin Kamara who sprinted into the end zone for another easy score. Brees also added 2 two-point conversions to try and even the score. Brees may have had his best game in the past two seasons, but he was outdueled by Ryan Fitzpatrick and got no help from his own defense. Brees will look to get back on track against a Brown's defense that created 6 turnovers against Pittsburgh.
2018 Week 2 vs CLE (28 / 35 / 243 / 2 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
After the Saints relied so heavily on the run game last season it looked like Brees was not going to have to be the QB who threw for 300 yards and 3 scores every week to be successful. However, that has not been the case this season and Brees had had to dig deep to try and keep the team in games. This week Brees did just that, but also seemed to be missing that spark he has had in the past. A prime example was an over thrown ball to tight end Benjamin Watson in the end zone. The Saints were in a power run set and Watson broke free on the play action. Brees simply laid the ball too far out in front of him and missed the chance for an easy touchdown. There was another missed opportunity on a touchdown that was called back to Alvin Kamara. Brees hit the second year back for an easy score but the play was called back due to offensive holding. Brees did continue his hot streak with Michael Thomas and connected for another 2 touchdowns. The first came on a 2-yard screen to Thomas. Brees took a short drop and threw the ball to Thomas 2 yards behind the line of scrimmage and his top receiver did the rest of the work. The second touchdown was a quick out to Thomas from 5 yards out. Thomas beat his man to the outside and Brees delivered an accurate throw for his second touchdown. This game did not go quite as planned, but Brees clawed and fought for the victory. HE overcame two costly fumbles and put the team in a position to win.
2018 Week 3 vs ATL (39 / 49 / 396 / 3 / 0 pass, 3 / 7 / 2 rush)
Today's game was vintage Brees but with one added element, he ran the ball. The Saints had a very dominant rushing attack last season and Brees did not have to do quite as much. Things have been different so far this year and he has had to keep his team in games. Brees completed 39 passes to 9 different receivers and even ran the ball 3 times. He was 10 for 10 throwing the ball to Michael Thomas and targeted Alvin Kamara 20 times out of the back field. Those 30 attempts alone would have been a good day for any other quarterback, but Brees added touchdown passes to Ted Ginn, Cameron Meredith, and Zach Line. Those 3 receivers combined for only 29 yards but put up the most points. The first touchdown came on the opening drive to Ginn. Brees faked the pitch and rolled right to find Ginn on a quick out. Ginn proceeded to throw his defender to the ground and walk into the end zone. The second pass was an 11-yard bullet up the seam to Meredith. This was his first game being active this season and it paid off. Brees evaded the pass rush long enough to find Meredith up the seam. The play was reviewed to ensure the runner broke the plain and was upheld as a touchdown. The final passing touchdown for Brees came on a 4th and 1 play where the defense sold out to stop the run and the play action allowed Line to break out into the flat untouched. From this point on it was Brees' legs that carried the team to victory. He took the ball off the edge for a 7-yard touchdown and then dove it in from the 1-yard line for the game winning touchdown in over time. Not only did Brees come away with the win, but he also passed Brett Farve as the all-time leader in completions. This was an amazing all-around game and should setup an epic rematch later in the season between 2 teams bound for the playoffs.
2018 Week 4 vs NYG (18 / 32 / 217 / 0 / 0 pass, 4 / -1 / 0 rush)
We watched as Brees consecutive games with a touchdown streak ended last season as he almost played second fiddle to the running game. Then we saw a renewed commitment to Brees and the passing game with Mark Ingram serving a suspension to start the season and an unwillingness to give Kamara the ball consistently. Brees broke out in a big way last week and looked to carry that into this week. Then he struggled with accuracy and watched as the run game established itself and carried the team to victory again. He did have 4 plays of 20+ yards in the passing game, but he never even sniffed the end zone this week. He targeted Kamara 9 times and never found a rhythm with Michael Thomas like he has previously this year. His longest play of the game came on a 25-yard catch and run by Kamara just after the two-minute warning before half time. This set up an eventual field goal after he could not connect with Watson in the end zone with 21 seconds left before half time. With the return of Mark Ingram next week, it will be interesting to see how close a split the Saints have in rushing and passing attempts.
2018 Week 5 vs WAS (26 / 29 / 363 / 3 / 0 pass, 2 / 1 / 0 rush)
After putting up a dud last week (by Brees standards), the offense got back one of its biggest weapons and Brees found it much easier to move the ball down the field. With Mark Ingram back in the fold, teams had to commit to stopping the run more and this opened things up for Brees behind the linebackers. He was able to set the all-time passing yardage record in the first half and really did not need to play past that point as the Saints dominated the Redskins from the first drive. Brees got the party started with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Josh Hill. It was a play action pass that the Washington defense bit on and Hill was all alone in the back of the end zone for the easy score. Ingram had already taken the ball in from the 2-yard line earlier in the game and the defense sold out to try and stop the run. The second touchdown broke the all-time record for Brees. It was a 62-yard catch and run down the sideline to Tre'Quan Smith. The speedy receiver found himself wide open along the sideline after a blown coverage and he was able to run 38 yards untouched into the end zone. His final touchdown was another 35-yard strike to a streaking Smith. The ball was thrown perfectly down the sideline and hit Smith in stride. The safety bit on an in route and Smith had a step on his man to the outside. Brees made the perfect throw for another easy touchdown. This is the balanced team that won its division and went into the playoffs last season. If they continue to play at this level it will be very interesting to see how far they can go.
2018 Week 7 vs BAL (22 / 30 / 212 / 2 / 0 pass, 4 / 3 / 0 rush)
After breaking the all-time yardage record earlier this season, Brees surpassed another milestone this week with his 500th touchdown pass. He also added number 501 for good measure and to give the Saints the lead in the 4th quarter. Brees was very accurate this week and completed 73% of his pass attempts against one of the best pass defenses in the league. His first touchdown pass was a 1-yard score to Benjamin Watson. It was the same play action pass that the duo had failed to connect on earlier in the season and it was good to see they had built enough chemistry to give it a go again. The Saints lined up in a power run formation on the 1-yard line, faked the ball to Mark Ingram, and Brees found Watson wide open in the back of the end zone. The second touchdown came to Michael Thomas in the 4th quarter. It was a short 5-yard quick slant with just over 5 minutes to go in the game. Thomas took a hard fake step to the outside before cutting back inside on the slant and beating his man by half a step. Brees sprinkled in a few big plays this week but was largely held in check by the Baltimore defense. It will be another stiff test against a Minnesota defense that has played much better in recent weeks when the Saints travel to the Vikings.
2018 Week 8 vs MIN (18 / 23 / 120 / 1 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
We saw the Saints not really need Brees a lot last season as they had a pair of running backs rush for over 1,000 yards. This week was another example that the Saints can win, even when he does not have the best game. Brees threw for under 125 passing yards and an errant pass ended up being his first interception of the season in more than 250 attempts. His longest pass play was a 19-yard catch and run by Mark Ingram and his lone touchdown was a 3-yard strike to Alvin Kamara. Brees almost had a 2nd touchdown pass to Kamara, but the back was ruled down at the 1 and punched it in on the very next play. Brees interception came on one of the few times he was pressured in the entire game. With the pocket collapsing, he let go a pass that was too tall for Michael Thomas and fell into the arms of a leaping Harrison Smith. It was not the best game from Brees, but it shows how dangerous a team the Saints can be when they put up 30 points without Brees having a good game.
2018 Week 9 vs LAR (25 / 36 / 346 / 4 / 0 pass, 4 / 16 / 0 rush)
Turn the clock back a few seasons and that is the Drew Brees we saw on the field today. He was confident with the ball, moved in the pocket to create more time, and consistently put the ball right on the money this week. Over the past 2 seasons he has taken a back seat to the 2-headed monster rushing attack the Saints have built, but that was not the case today. Brees watched as the defense relinquished 21 straight points and decided that enough was enough. Brees first touchdown was a short catch and run outlet pass to Kamara. He caught the ball 6 yards down field and had enough for the first down but then turned the corner for the last 10 yards and was untouched going into the end zone. His second touchdown was a bullet across the middle to Smith. He ran a quick slant right across the middle and made a diving catch on the Brees bullet for the 4-yard touchdown. This gave the Saints a 21-14 lead at the time. His third touchdown came to Watson as the pair finally showed some chemistry. It was a play action pass that looked more like a broken play. The defense had broken free and Brees backpedaled and threw off his back foot and put the ball right over Watson's shoulder as he sprinted into the end zone. It was a very dangerous pass, but the defense bit on the fake and it looked like Brees was going to be taken down for a big loss before he threw up the prayer pass. His final touchdown was the biggest of the game and gave the Saints their 10-point lead late in the 4th quarter. He found his favorite target in Michael Thomas settled into the void left by the zone coverage down the left sideline. Brees launched a 24-yard strike to Thomas who made a move and broke free another 48 yards down the sideline for the touchdown. This 72-yard connection put the Saints up by 2 scores and gave the defense a chance to turn over the Rams on downs for the win. The offense was firing on all cylinders this week and Brees will look to carry that momentum into Cincinnati next week.
2018 Week 10 vs CIN (22 / 25 / 265 / 3 / 0 pass, 2 / 3 / 1 rush)
This could have easily been a 500 yard and 5 touchdown game for Brees, but he finally has a team where he does not have to do everything. He has the best 1-2 punch running game behind him and a defense who is finally starting to play better. Brees imposed his will against the Bengals this week and was deadly accurate with the football again completing 88% of his passes. He continues to find success despite having a thin receiving core outside of Michael Thomas. Brees completed his first touchdown to Thomas with a 7-yard comeback route in the end zone. The play action did not get the corner to bite and he had near perfect coverage of Thomas. Brees threw a sinking line drive to a sliding Thomas for the touchdown. The second touchdown was a 28-yard screen pass to Ingram. Brees did not have to do any of the work as Ingram rumbled down the sideline and spun his way into the end zone. Brees third touchdown came across the middle to Thomas again just before half time. There was a 4th touchdown to Benjamin Watson but it was overturned and ruled down at the 1. Instead of throwing the ball or giving it to one of his backs, Brees snuck the ball off his center for a rushing touchdown instead. It was a masterful game by Brees and he could have done even more damage but did not need to. Any game where he can turn it over to Bridgewater late in the game is a success. Brees will have a much tougher time next week against the defending champions when the Eagles travel to the Saints in week 11.
2018 Week 11 vs PHI (22 / 30 / 363 / 4 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
The march towards an MVP continues for Brees with another 4-touchdown performance and more than 300 yards passing. He was surgical moving the ball up and down the field and it is scary to think that the Saints added another weapon and the rushing attack is hitting its stride. Brees made a statement against the defending Super Bowl Champions and embarrassed them this week. His first touchdown was a 3-yard strike right to the chest of backup tight end Austin Carr. Brees threw a bullet to his chest through a very small window created between 2 defenders. His second touchdown was a 15-yard strike to Tre'Quan Smith across the middle. Smith had a defender draped all over him and took a big hit from the safety and still caught the skinny post at the goal line for a touchdown. The third touchdown was a beautifully throw fade route to Michael Thomas down the side line. Brees laid the ball right over his shoulder and found the void between the corner and safety where only Thomas could catch the ball. The 23-yard score was the 8th touchdown between the duo this season. Brees capped off his day with a 37-yard touchdown to Alvin Kamara. It was not the normal short catch and run pass, but instead a long shot down the field. Kamara ran a streak down the sideline in an attempt to clear out the defense for a quick hit underneath on 4th down. Brees saw that Kamara had a step and fired the ball down the sideline and hit him in stride for the score. It was a very risky throw on 4th down, but resulted in a touchdown. Brees continues his march to the MVP and the Saints towards the playoffs. A great matchup against a banged-up Atlanta defense awaits on Thanksgiving.
2018 Week 12 vs ATL (15 / 22 / 171 / 4 / 1 pass, 4 / -4 / 0 rush)
The normal yards were not there for Brees this week, but the touchdowns were. Brees has 15 touchdowns in the last 4 games despite throwing for under 200 yards this week. Normally the lack of passing yards coordinates with the running game exceling, but it was about even this week. The success was setup for Brees by the takeaways from the defense and the return game. Brees first touchdown was a 28-yard bomb to Lewis. The route was right up the seam and Brees put the ball where only Lewis could make a play. He laid it right above his head where he had to turn and leap to make the touchdown while falling into the end zone. The second touchdown came to Carr on an easy out route into the end zone. He chipped off the defensive end and leaked out into the flat. There was no defender within 10 yards of him and Brees hit him right in the chest. The third touchdown was an amazing diving catch from Arnold into the end zone. Brees led him just a little too far on the 25-yard go route, but Arnold was able to go full extension into the end zone for the touchdown. The fourth and final touchdown was a 5-yard out route to Lewis. Brees put the ball low and hard where only Lewis could make a sliding catch. The defender had no chance to stop the pass. Brees also threw his second interception of the season. He still leads the NFL in touchdown to interception ratio. The ball was intended for Kirkwood and drifted too far after he got his feet tangled with the defender. The safety came across for the easy interception and it was the only real mistake that Brees made. There is a chance that Kirkwood could have made the catch or at least broken up the pass had he not fallen, but the pass did sail on him a little. Brees has another good test against a surprisingly good Cowboys defense next Thursday.
2018 Week 13 vs DAL (18 / 28 / 127 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
It was not a banner night for Brees as he did not look like the MVP candidate that he has in recent weeks. He opened the game with 4 straight incompletions and never found a rhythm. His longest play of the game was also his touchdown to Keith Kirkwood. The play was only possible after a 15-yard roughing the punter call that extended the drive. The 30-yard pass to Kirkwood was just a simple go route that he took up the seam and required a perfect throw from Brees into traffic. Kirkwood caught the ball just over his shoulder in the end zone with Tre'Quan Smith also in the area. The route shows the confusion on the part of the Saints offense as the receivers were running almost stride by stride next to each other into the end zone and it caused the Cowboys to have 4 defenders in the area. It was a mistake on the part of the young receivers, but Brees made it work for the touchdown. Brees had a chance to be the hero on the final drive of the game. The defense came up with a big fumble recovery after the Cowboys had taken nearly 7 minutes off the clock and were deep in Saints territory. Brees started on his own 15-yardline and had a long way to go for the tying field goal. On the second play of the drive, he threw the ball behind Alvin Kamara and a diving interception was made by the Cowboys defense. It was a disappointing end to a disappointing game for Brees. He will have a chance to get back on track next week against Tampa Bay.
2018 Week 14 vs TB (24 / 31 / 201 / 1 / 1 pass, 3 / -1 / 1 rush)
Things have not clicked for the past 2 weeks for Brees. He has thrown an interception in back to back games for the first time this season and barely surpassed 200 yards through the air. Brees also lost a fumble on a strip sack. He has played behind the best offensive line in the NFL this season and has not had to deal with defenders in his face that often. Brees connected with Zach Line for a 1-yard touchdown on a play action pass. Everything looked like the Saints were going to run the ball and power it in from the 1, but Line leaked out into the flat for an easy touchdown. Brees also threw an interception where he faked the ball to the left and then lofted a screen pass towards Ingram that was intercepted. He threw the ball into traffic and just did not see the defender in the way. The Saints were on the Buccaneers side of the field and it killed the drive. Brees also added a 1-yard rushing touchdown to cap off his day. Usually when the passing game struggles the run game picks up the slack, but that has not been the case. Brees will need to get back on track in the last 3 weeks before going into the playoffs.
2018 Week 15 vs CAR (23 / 35 / 203 / 0 / 1 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
It has been a rough 3 game stretch for Brees and today was the worst of the 3. He threw an interception for the 4th straight game after being nearly perfect to start the year and he failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time this season. Brees also struggled with accuracy and missed on a season high 12 throws this week. He was bailed out by a smothering defense and a run game that was able to do just enough to pull out the win. The longest play of the day was a 28-yard pass to Watson up the seam followed by a 21-yard streaking Kirkwood across the middle. Brees and Thomas had their usual connection (7 of 9 targets) but the yardage and touchdowns were just not there this week. Brees interception came just over mid field when he tried to take a shot down the field to Dan Arnold. The backup tight end got his hands on the ball, but it was knocked free as he was going to the ground and intercepted by a trailing defender. Brees also threw an interception on a 2-point conversion play where he targeted Thomas on a quick out and the route was jumped and returned 100 yards for 2 points the other way. These stats do not count towards the official line and Brees ended his day with just the single interception. The team continues to win despite the struggling Brees. There is the outside chance that he gets a breather down the stretch if they have wrapped up the number 1 seed. Brees will face a Steelers defense that just got done shutting down Tom Brady and the Patriots next weekend.
2018 Week 16 vs PIT (27 / 39 / 326 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
It had been a very disappointing stretch of games for Brees in the past few weeks. He had thrown an interception in 4 straight games and failed to reach 300 yards in the previous 3. Brees got a big boost this week with the return of Ginn and it really showed in the offense. There was finally someone playing opposite of Thomas that Brees could rely on. The Saints rushing attack was bottled up by the Steelers and that allowed Brees to fire the ball down the field and pick up yardage in big chunks. He had completions of 23, 25, 28, and 42 yards this week and threw the all-important go-ahead touchdown late in the 4th quarter to Thomas. Brees was flushed in the pocket and rolled to his right. He found Thomas on a comeback route right at the pylon. The play was originally ruled down at the 1-yard line before being reviewed and ruled a touchdown. It was a perfect throw and catch by one of the best duos in the league and proved to be the game winner. Brees also led a field goal drive to answer a Steelers touchdown right before half time. The Saints drove the ball 50 yards in 38 seconds to get Will Lutz in range. The drive was aided by a 42-yard reception by Kamara as he tip toed down the side line. Brees has put up an MVP type season and will have one more game to add to his stats next week against the Panthers.
2018 Week 19 vs PHI (28 / 38 / 301 / 2 / 1 pass, 3 / 0 / 0 rush)
It was not a great start for Brees this week, but you would never know that by just looking at his numbers. His interception came on the first play of the game when he tried to take a shot down the middle of the field to Ginn. Brees has been without Ginn for most of the season due to injury and the duo has not quite seemed to have gotten their rhythm back. The turnover resulted in 7 points for the Eagles and an early hole for the Saints. The next drive resulted in a 3 and out for the Saints and 0 net yards for both Brees and the offense. The third drive did not start much better but seemed to turn around on the fake punt call. Brees led the team down the field for their first score of the game and found Kirkwood in the end zone from 2 yards out. It looked like it was going to be a quick strike but Brees pumped the ball and waited till Kirkwood broke free on the outside. It was a blown coverage by the Eagles and an easy touchdown for the Saints. The second touchdown came to Thomas on another 2-yard play. This capped off a nearly 11:30 minute drive and the touchdown play looked almost exactly like the one where Kirkwood scored earlier in the game. Instead of pumping the ball and waiting for Kirkwood to come free, Brees threw to his first read and found Thomas on the inside. The play gave the Saints the lead and setup a dramatic 4th quarter that featured a missed field goal and a game clinching interception for the Saints. Brees will not be able to start slow against the Rams like he did this week if they want to make it to the Super Bowl.
2018 Week 20 vs LAR (26 / 40 / 249 / 2 / 1 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
The final stat line does not look terrible for Brees, but it does not tell the full story of the game. Brees broke his own record for the most accurate passing season in NFL history this year, and that did not show this week. He missed 14 throws and threw the fateful interception in overtime that ended up costing the game. Brees also had trouble connecting with Michael Thomas this week. The same duo that torched the Rams earlier this season was held in check for less than 40 yards this week. Brees biggest outlet was Kamara out of the back field this week. He targeted Kamara 13 times and completed 11 of those passes for just under 100 yards. He did a great job finding Kamara when he was matched up on a linebacker or even a lineman, but in the end, it did not prove to be enough. Brees found Garrett Griffin for a 5-yard score for the Saints first touchdown. It was a play action pass with Brees rolling to his right. The defender in coverage broke off when Michael Thomas worked his way back inside and Griffin was left wide open in the corner of the end zone. The second touchdown was a 2-yard screen play to Taysom Hill. Brees took a 1-step drop and fired the ball to Hill who powered his way into the end zone. The biggest mistake came in overtime when Brees tried to find Thomas up the seam. Brees felt the pass rush and ended up letting loose a lame duck of a throw that fell right into the lap of a Rams defender. It was another play where pass interference could have been called, but the officials felt the ball had been tipped and the contact was allowed. It was a huge let down to an amazing season for Brees. He has already come out saying he wants to return and give it a go again next year.
2017 Week 1 vs MIN (27 / 37 / 291 / 1 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees did his best to carry this offense in week one but just could not find enough against a stingy Vikings defense. The Saints running backs averaged less than 3 yards a carry and the Vikings secondary was able to sit back and play the ball. Brees targeted Michael Thomas more than any other receiver, but had the most success with Coby Fleener and Mark Ingram. Brees biggest play came when Tommylee Lewis beat Viking's corner Trae Waynes for a 52-yard strike. Waynes also interfered with Lewis on the play but the young receiver still came down with the ball. Unfortunately, the Saints had to settle for another field goal despite being on the 8-yard line. Brees lone touchdown came late in the fourth quarter when Coby Fleener went straight up the seam and caught the ball over Viking's corner Trae Waynes. This was not a typical Drew Brees game but he will look to exploit a Patriot's secondary that gave up over 300-yards to Alex Smith in their first game.
2017 Week 2 vs NE (27 / 45 / 356 / 2 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
After being thrown off balance by the Vikings pass rush last week, Drew Brees looked much more comfortable today. Brees was not very accurate today but was able to find several big plays against a porous New England secondary. Brees first touchdown came on a beautiful back shoulder pass to Brandon Coleman early in the second quarter. Brees also hit Coleman in stride as he was streaking down the sideline for a 42-yard gain and set up a field goal. Brees also connected with Fleener late in the fourth quarter to bring the Saints within two scores, but it proved not to be enough. Brees hit Fleener on an out route just short of the end zone and the big tight end reached the ball over the goal line as he was being tackled. Brees is going to need a little bit of help from the defense and running game if the Saints want to win many football games this year.
2017 Week 3 vs CAR (22 / 29 / 220 / 3 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees must have thought it was 2009 again with the way the defense was playing today. Brees was very accurate completing almost 76% of his passes on the day and connected on touchdowns with Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn Jr, and Brandon Coleman. Brees did not put up his usual 300-yard passing game but that was not needed today. After the first drive of the game, the Saints never trailed again and Brees was able to impose his will on a beleaguered Carolina defense. Brees' first touchdown came to Michael Thomas from the 5-yard line. Brees pumped left to draw the safety and then moved up in the pocket to eventually come back right side to Thomas who had run a comeback route right in front of the corner. Brees' second touchdown came to Brandon Coleman from the 11-yard line. The defense was playing the run with Adrian Peterson in the backfield and the entire secondary bit on the play action fake. Brees was able to find Coleman all alone in the end zone for his second touchdown pass of the game. Brees' final touchdown came on a 40-yard deep crossing route by Ted Ginn Jr where he simply ran past his corner and the entire defense.
2017 Week 4 vs MIA (29 / 41 / 268 / 2 / 0 pass, 4 / 3 / 0 rush)
Brees was asked to do a lot today for an offense that looked to have some jet lag coming into London. Brees had to check down and find Alvin Kamara 10 times today and put a lot of trust in the rookie to extend drives on third down. Brees continues to show he does not miss Brandin Cooks and has found his new top receiver in Michael Thomas. The first touchdown of the game came on a three-yard out route to Michael Thomas. Brees rolled right and found a wide-open Thomas in the flat. The final touchdown of the game came on a shovel pass to Alvin Kamara. The rookie running back did all of the work weaving in and out of defenders from 12-yards out. Brees was very accurate completing 70% of his passes but several came on short check downs against a very soft zone coverage. The only deep shots he took were 30 and 31-yard completions to Michael Thomas and Brandon Coleman respectively.
2017 Week 6 vs DET (21 / 31 / 186 / 2 / 2 pass, 1 / 1 / 0 rush)
Today's game was a very mediocre performance by Brees but he was not needed to be outstanding. Normally the Saints win because Brees is masterful through the air but today it was the defense and the running game that carried the team. Brees did manage two touchdowns but had less than 200 yards passing and added two interceptions. Brees tried to force the ball to Michael Thomas and was intercepted by Darius Slay and his first interception was a pick 6 returned by A'Shawn Robinson. Brees was able to spread the ball around with receptions to 7 different receivers but he was never able to blow the top off the defense for a big gain. Brees first touchdown came on a 20-yard catch and run play by Ted Ginn. Ginn did all of the work on this one as he outran his defender and was able to cut up the sideline and dive into the end zone. His second touchdown came on a 2-yard strike to tight end Michael Hoomanawanui. Brees was not sharp today but the rest of the team was able to pick him up.
2017 Week 7 vs GB (27 / 38 / 331 / 1 / 2 pass, 5 / -1 / 1 rush)
The final stat line looks about what you would expect for Brees with over 300 yards passing and a touchdown. That is until you scroll over and see a 2 in the interception column. This is now back to back games that Brees has thrown 2 interceptions after not throwing any in the first 5 weeks of the season. The first interception came in the red zone where Brees underthrew Brandon Coleman and Damarious Randall was able to undercut the route in the end zone. The second interception was a brilliant play by Davon House. Running step for step with Michael Thomas, House was able to reach up and almost backhand the ball out of the air on the run. Brees could have lead the ball a little further, but this play had more to do with the effort from House than anything else. Brees makes up for his mistakes later with a 22-yard strike to Brandon Coleman. It was the pump fake that sold the play down the sideline as the corner bit on the fake and Brees was able to get the ball to Coleman before the safety could get over to cover. This put the Saints up 26-17 to ice the game and was Brees' 500th career touchdown pass. There was also the 1-yard rushing touchdown by Brees as he leaped up into the air and extended the ball over the goal line for the touchdown. It was not the traditional under center dive into the end zone, but the end result was another Saints' touchdown and a win for Brees and company.
2017 Week 8 vs CHI (23 / 28 / 299 / 0 / 0 pass, 4 / -2 / 0 rush)
It is very rare that Drew Brees goes an entire game without throwing a touchdown pass. To put it in perspective, Brees had previously gone consecutive weeks with throwing a touchdown pass. He also fell short of a 300-yard passing game by a single yard. Brees normally has a stat line closer to what Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson had later in the day. However, he did manage to set his team up for points and help rebound from 2 Mark Ingram fumbles. Brees first big play came on a 54-yard catch and run by Brandon Coleman. The screen was blocked beautifully, and Coleman burst down the sideline to help set up an Alvin Kamara rushing touchdown. Later in the game, Brees provided more fireworks with a 53-yard bomb to Ted Ginn right down the middle of the field. Unfortunately, Mark Ingram fumbled two plays later and the ball was recovered by Chicago. Brees did enough to guide the Saints to victory this week but look for a much better stat line against a beleaguered Tampa Bay secondary next week.
2017 Week 9 vs TB (22 / 27 / 263 / 2 / 0 pass, 4 / 2 / 0 rush)
Facing a very poor Tampa Bay secondary, Drew Brees looked like his old self again as he lead the Saints to a divisional victory. He may not have surpassed 300 yards through the air, but he added two touchdowns and was able to find the big play when needed. With 3 completions over 30 yards and another 24-yard strike, Brees accounted for almost half of his total yardage on those four plays. The interesting stat is the Saints actually rushed the ball more than they threw it today. Brees first touchdown came on a 33-yard catch and run by Alvin Kamara. The rookie running back took a screen 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage and promptly went 38-yards to the house. Kamara broke several tackles on the run down the sideline and would not be denied the end zone. The second touchdown was a 36-yard strike to Ted Ginn right up the middle of the field. Brees faked the pitch in the back field and unloaded a 36-yard bomb that fell right into Ginn's arms in the end zone just before the safety got over to cover. Brees also added a 33-yard catch and run play to Coby Fleener that helped set up the Alvin Kamara touchdown. This was a much better showing for Brees who will continue to benefit with the re-emergence of the running game.
2017 Week 10 vs BUF (18 / 25 / 184 / 0 / 0 pass, 2 / 6 / 1 rush)
This game is an anomaly if compared to any other game in Brees' career. He threw for under 200 yards, did not throw a touchdown, completed 72% of his passes, and more than half of the yards came to one receiver. Brees has made a living spreading the ball around and finding the end zone through the air, but this week the Saints were able to do it on the ground. Brees threw 117 of his 184 yards to Michael Thomas, and only completed multiple passes to 2 receivers. His biggest plays on the day came on a 28-yard crossing route by Michael Thomas just before halftime. Thomas streaked across the middle of the field and hurdled one defender in an effort to get in the end zone His second big play came on 3rd and 13 to Brandon Coleman. The pass was right down the middle of the field and Coleman was able to follow a block and break a tackle for 30 yards to help set up an eventual Mark Ingram touchdown. Brees did not need to be his normal self today with how well the rest of the team played. Brees will face a Washington secondary that allowed over 300 yards passing and 4 touchdowns to Case Keenum this week.
2017 Week 11 vs WAS (29 / 41 / 385 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
Just when Brees was starting to get questions about whether or not he still had it, he shows that this offense is a dual-threat and when they need to throw and go pass-heavy they can do that as game script dictated that the Saints throw the ball as the Saints were trailing in the fourth quarter. Brees threw for 165 yards in the fourth quarter as the team scored 18 points in the fourth-quarter to force overtime in this game.
2017 Week 12 vs LAR (22 / 32 / 246 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / 5 / 0 rush)
Brees has not been his normal self for the majority of the season but that has been masked by an outstanding running game. This was the first week an opposing team was able to limit the running game and Brees did not have enough to pick up the slack. Most quarterbacks would be happy with almost 250 yards passing and a touchdown, but Brees is held to a higher standard than that. Brees found some success throwing to Ted Ginn, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas, but the rest of the receivers could not get open. His lone touchdown pass came with :42 left to Alvin Kamara and the Rams in soft coverage. The Rams jumped offside on the play but Brees was able to find Kamara in the flat for a 15-yard catch and run. His longest play of the day came on a 33-yard catch and run by Kamara on a 4th and 5 play. Brees worked through his progression and found the rookie back on a wheel route. The 33-yard play got the Saints to the 5-yard line but they had to settle for a field goal shortly after. Brees will take on a stingy Carolina secondary next week with the winner taking over sole possession of first place in the division.
2017 Week 13 vs CAR (25 / 34 / 269 / 1 / 0 pass, 4 / -3 / 0 rush)
Both the Saints and Brees got back on track this week as the veteran quarterback looked like himself again. He was quick to get the ball out and spread it around to 9 different receivers. He was not overly flashy and did not push the ball down the field very much, but with the success of the ground game, he did not need to. He connected with Michael Thomas for the pairs first touchdown since week 4 against Miami and looked very comfortable overall. The touchdown pass came from 10 yards out with Thomas streaking across the field and losing his coverage in the wash of bodies behind him. Brees was able to throw the ball towards the sideline where only Thomas could make a play on the ball. Brees connected with almost every potential receiver on the roster, but the only significant amount of targets and yards came to Thomas, Ingram, and Kamara. Willie Snead also finally made an appearance with a 26-yard catch but did not account for anything else the rest of the game. If the running game continues to fire on all cylinders, then Brees will just need to continue to not turn the ball over and the Saints will win a lot of games. With another divisional game against Atlanta on a short week, Brees will face another stiff test.
2017 Week 14 vs ATL (26 / 35 / 271 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
From the way this game started, it looked like it was going to be a high scoring affair with both quarterbacks throwing the ball all over the field and the Saints having the advantage with the superior running game. This is the point where Alvin Kamara left the game with a concussion and Brees had to deal with injuries to several receivers as well as some poor calls by the officials. Brees was looking like his old self for the majority of this game, fitting balls into tight windows, and consistently finding Michael Thomas all over the field. He connected with Thomas for 10 receptions, over 100 yards and a touchdown. That touchdown came from the 1-yard line on a clear pick play, but was completely legal based on the rules and being within 1-yard of the line of scrimmage. Thomas was open easily in the end zone for the Saints second touchdown. The first pass came to Tommylee Lewis down the left sideline for 26 yards. Lewis had broken free and caught the ball 5 yards short of the end zone. He stopped, made a move on Keanu Neal and walked into the end zone. Brees looked like he has turned back the clock on these two plays but then came the interception with the game on the line in the fourth quarter. Brees tried to hit Josh Hill up the seam for a game-winning touchdown but ended up throwing into triple coverage for an easy interception. You can understand going for the win, but with how great the running game has been all season and only needing a field goal, it seems foolish to risk throwing the ball at this point. Brees will look to rebound from the late game letdown next week against the Jets.
2017 Week 15 vs NYJ (26 / 36 / 281 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Brees could have had a 300+ yard and 4 touchdown day if a few things had gone his way, but rather settled for 285 yards and 2 touchdowns. There were 2 Michael Thomas touchdowns overturned by replay. The first had the second-year wide receiver ruled down at the 1-yard line rather than scoring the touchdown and the second confirmed that he stepped out of the back of the end zone before getting his second foot down. Brees later rectified the 2 lost touchdowns with a 4-yard strike to Thomas and a 10-yard catch and run by Alvin Kamara. Brees' lone interception came on a pass tipped by Brandon Coleman. This just added to the terrible day by Coleman as he also lost 2 fumbles. Brees kept his cool throughout the game and made sure the Saints were in a position to win at the end. Brees really favored his top 3 targets in Thomas, Ingram, and Kamara with 24 of his 36 attempts going to those 3 players. There is no time to rest for the Saints as Carolina beat Green Bay and Brees will have to outduel Matt Ryan next week to stay atop the NFC South.
2017 Week 16 vs ATL (21 / 28 / 239 / 1 / 1 pass, 4 / -4 / 0 rush)
Brees capped off yet another 4,000-yard passing season and added his 22nd touchdown pass on the season. However, the Saints offense appeared to struggle most of the game. Brees was not pushing the ball down the field and was content on short crossing routes and finding his check downs. The big play was a 54-yard bomb to Ted Ginn for a touchdown. Brees hit him 30 yards downfield on a crossing route and Ginn outran the rest of the defense for the other 24 yards into the end zone. Brees was harassed in the pocket and made a few poor throws that could have been intercepted. There was one play around the Saints own goal line that Beasley tipped the ball up in the air but could not find it on its way down for what would have been an easy pick 6. Brees will have one more game against a very poor Tampa secondary to get things back on track heading into the playoffs.
2017 Week 17 vs TB (22 / 30 / 245 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
Brees has been efficient all season, but has not had that spectacular game where he just takes over. He managed to finish the season over 4,000 yards passing and more than 20 touchdowns but just did not look like the old Brees. He found his favorite target in Michael Thomas 6 times this week and continued the trend of checking it down to his running backs. Brees lone touchdown pass came to Zach Line on a 3-yard quick out to give the Saints a 24-20 lead at the time. Brees will take on a familiar opponent next week for the third time this season and will look to move to 3-0 against the Panthers. Either Brees or the running game is going to have to step up if they want to make a deep playoff run.
2017 Week 18 vs CAR (23 / 33 / 376 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
This was the vintage Brees that everyone has grown accustomed to seeing. With over 300 yards passing and 2 touchdowns, this is the type of game that is thought of when you mention his name. The lone interception came on a 4th down play and actually saved yards for the Saints. Had the defensive back merely batted the ball to the ground, the Panthers would have gained almost 20 yards in field position. With the running game going nowhere, it was Brees along with Thomas and Ginn that really stepped up this week. The first touchdown came on a deep crossing route from Ginn where the former Panther simply outran his corner in coverage and the safety who was late coming over to help for an 80-yard touchdown. The first quarter had been entirely uneventful until this point and set the tone for the rest of the game. The second touchdown pass was a play-action pass where Josh Hill beat the linebacker in coverage and leaked out into the open flat for an easy 9-yard touchdown. The entire Panthers defense seemed to bite on the play-action as the Saints have run the ball more in the red zone than any other team this season. Brees spread the ball around to 8 different receivers this week but will face a much stiffer test against the Vikings secondary in their home stadium. If the running game cannot get going again next week, Brees will have to lead the team to victory.
2017 Week 19 vs MIN (25 / 40 / 294 / 3 / 2 pass, 2 / 1 / 0 rush)
At first glance, Brees final stat line looks pretty normal. He had almost 300 yards passing and threw 3 touchdowns. The interceptions did not seem to hurt as the Vikings did not turn them into many points. However, the 15 incompletions were the most he threw in a game all season and the interceptions came on the Vikings side of the field and took points off the board for the Saints. Brees could not click with Michael Thomas at all in the first half but found their groove in the second finishing two drives with touchdowns. The first touchdown came on a 14-yard pass to Thomas who simply ran a drag across the field and beat his man to the pylon for the easy touchdown. Brees lead him just far enough that the diving defender could not make a play on the ball. The second touchdown again came to Thomas who made a small move and was open right in the seam. The 3-yard pass was almost impossible to defend as Brees got the ball out so quickly and the corner did not press him at the line. The final touchdown came on a beautiful wheel route by Alvin Kamara. He outran Anthony Barr in the flat for the easy touchdown as his route was underneath two post routes from the outside and the defender got caught up in the wash of players. Brees did have a touchdown nullified by an illegal motion and then threw an interception a few plays later. The final Saints drive was vintage Brees. He ran the 2-minute drill to perfection and gave the Saints the lead with less than a minute left. Unfortunately, the defense could not hold on and the Saints will have to look towards next season.
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.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
2015 Week 1 vs ARI (30 / 48 / 355 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / 3 / 0 rush)
Brees' voluminous day through the air started with a first series consisting of a WR screen to Brandin Cooks. a sneak to pick up a short third down, a three-step slant to Colston, and a well-designed screen to Ingram out of the backfield. New Orleans did well converting on short yardage situations for most of the drive, but stalled out in the redzone when Brees couldn't connect with Cooks in the back corner of the endzone. Brees began his next series by moving the chains with an out-route to Benjamin Watson for eight. The short drive ended in a punt, however, after Brees checked down to Ingram for four yards when faced with the blitz on third-and-nine. New Orleans' most successful drive of the first half came on their fourth offensive possession, but it would have been cut short had Arizona avoided a penalty for 12 men on the field on a fourth-and-three punting situation. Brees chipped in on this series with a screen pass to Robinson, a crossing pattern to Watson, and checkdowns to Ingram as well as fullback Austin Johnson. The drive was capped off with New Orleans' sole touchdown of the day when Brees found Brandon Coleman in the left flat. Brees hit a couple checkdowns on the drive before halftime, but was unable to get anything going, as New Orleans punted from deep within their own territory. He started the second half fast, firing a strike to Willie Snead for 63 fast yards. The drive ended there for all intents and purposes, however, as a pair of checkdowns was not enough to push New Orleans across the goal-line. New Orleans was forced to punt on their next drive after a costly holding penalty starting things off on the wrong foot. Brees turned the ball over around midfield on his next series when a low throw to Marques Colston was tipped into the hands of a waiting Arizona defender. The veteran quarterback sparked the New Orleans attack in the fourth quarter with a beautiful bucket pass to Brandin Cooks down the sideline for a pickup of 30 yards. The defense tightened up from there, however, and the Saints were forced to settle with a field goal. Brees was able to lead his offense back to the redzone by beating the Arizona blitz with yet another swing pass to Ingram, but was once again unable to get anything going against the "bend-don't-break" Arizona defense. The resulting field goal turned out to be the final points that New Orleans was able to muster. Brees got the ball back with just over two minutes left in the contest, trailing by five points. A dumpoff to Ingram and two consecutive incompletions intended for Colston left the Saints short, and a questionable decision to punt the ball away salted New Orleans' last meaningful offensive possession. A day of numerous opportunities for Brees was defined by his inability to make things happen in the redzone. Perhaps this was about the remarkably resilient and stingy Cardinals defense, or adjusting to life without tight end Jimmy Graham, but yards did not come nearly as easy through the air for New Orleans as they have in the past. Efficiency remains likely, but Brees doesn't appear poised to light the scoreboard on fire early in 2015.
2015 Week 2 vs TB (24 / 38 / 255 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees and the Saints were unable to consistently move the football against Tampa Bay, a discouraging development given the success rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota experienced against the same group just a week prior. Part of the reason for New Orleans' lack of an aerial attack may be blamed on an injury to Brees' throwing shoulder, as he admitted to after the game. His availability for Week 3 is not in doubt, but a lingering injury is the last thing an already sputtering offense needs if it hopes to get back on track. Brees began his day fairly sharp, connecting with receivers Brandin Cooks and Brandon Coleman on in-breaking routes, as well as running back C.J. Spiller up the sideline for a collective gain of 49 yards. The drive stalled from there, however, as consecutive incompletions to Austin Johnson and Willie Snead forced the Saints to punt the ball away. Brees fumbled the ball away on the successive drive's third down, alertly staying with the play to down it at the one yard-line and avoid handing Tampa Bay an easy touchdown. Brees connected with Mark Ingram and Willie Snead for short gains underneath on the following drive, but the main takeaway here was his second fumble of the day in which he appeared to hurt his throwing shoulder. Brees got sacked to end his team's fourth offensive possession, one that culminated just like the previous three had: with a punt. The veteran quarterback found his first sustained rhythm of the day on the team's last drive of the half, finding his "ol' reliable" receiver Marques Colston for gains of 21 and 24 yards, respectively. That served as enough momentum to push New Orleans into the endzone on a proceeding Mark Ingram run for the offense's first and only points of the opening half. Brees hit Snead underneath for 12 yards on the first possession of the second half, but turned the ball over shortly after on an underthrown play-action bomb to Brandin Cooks that fell into the hands of Chris Conte. The Saints turned the ball over once again on the following drive after Willie Snead coughed up the football on a crossing route. Brees and the Saints rode their running game to their second offensive touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter, but were unable to punch the ball in for two points on the PAT. The offense got the ball right back after opposing quarterback Jameis Winston fumbled, but couldn't do anything with it and had to settle for a (missed) field goal. Brees got the ball back in his hands just five seconds later after ANOTHER Tampa Bay fumble, and was able to find Willie Snead in the right corner of the endzone to pull his team within four points after a blocked extra point. Brees opened his two-minute drill down seven points with consecutive dump-offs to Benjamin Watson and Mark Ingram for a total of 13 yards, but proceeded to take a sack and put his team in a very undesirable position. He was able to pick up 49 more yards underneath the Tampa defense, throwing twice to Brandin Cooks and once to Marques Colston. Unfortunately, his final gasps to the endzone intended for Brandon Coleman and Brandin Cooks fell incomplete to seal the loss. Update: Brees has a shoulder injury and might miss time, check injury and practice reports during the week.
2015 Week 4 vs DAL (33 / 41 / 359 / 2 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees was back under center after Luke McCown filled in admirably in Week 3. Brees' shoulder and arm strength, in addition to his efficiency, were at high levels for the first time this season. Brees carved up the Dallas pass coverage with quick releases and underneath accuracy throughout the game. The Cowboys were able to pressure the pocket, but Brees routinely beat the pressure. While accurate on a vast majority of his throws, Brees' face value impressive stat line is not without mistakes. On three occasions Brees threw likely interceptions. On the first, Brees floated a pass to the perimeter into coverage. Secondly, Brees threw into double coverage on third down, which was intercepted, but called back by defensive penalty. On the third, Brees was simply off-target to Josh Hill on a crossing route. Any of those were potential game-changing plays in a close affair. While Mark Ingram has been a welcome surprise in the passing game, C.J. Spiller's overt speed was a welcome addition this week and ultimately the deciding factor. With a more dynamic element to the Saints passing game, combined with Brees' strong performance against Dallas, the Saints are heading in the right direction as a slow start.
2015 Week 5 vs PHI (26 / 43 / 335 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Brees opened his day with two consecutive completions and a first down by way of C.J. Spiller and Benjamin Watson, but his offense was forced to punt after being taken down seven yards behind the line for a sack. Brees was sharp on his second drive of the day, connecting with Willie Snead and Brandin Cooks for gains of 20-plus before astutely noticing miscommunication in the Philadelphia defense to find an uncovered Benjamin Watson for a six-yard touchdown. The Saints followed their touchdown up with a three-and-out, as Brees was unable to hook up with Cooks deep down the right sideline. New Orleans went three-and-out again on their next possession when Marques Colston dropped a would-be first down. Brees had established a little bit of momentum with two first downs including a third down connection to Willie Snead. The drive stalled, however, when Brees took a bad sack to push his team out of field-goal range. His two-minute drill to end the first half was cut short after a sack-fumble. Brees opened the opened the second half with a beautiful 46 yard post route to Cooks, then pushed the ball into the red zone with a 17 yarder to Colston. New Orleans was forced to settle for a field goal after two consecutive Willie Snead red zone targets failed to score a touchdown. On the following possession, Brees coughed up the football for his second lost fumble of the afternoon. Brees' offense was able to pick up just one first down before punting the football back to Philadelphia on the drive following his second fumble. New Orleans' drive to open the final period was also short-lived, as a single first down was all the Saints could muster before being forced to punt once again. A perfectly thrown 59 yard vertical route to Willie Snead was wasted by a Michael Hoomanawanui fumble in the red zone, essentially sealing the loss for Brees and the Saints. The turnover parade continued for Brees on the next possession when Walter Thurmond undercut a Brees pass that was intended for Brandon Coleman. He was able to make the game appear a bit closer, pushing the ball into the end zone for a garbage time score to Brandin Cooks. Brees achieved respectable fantasy numbers by compiling yardage once the game was in Philadelphia's pocket. He made a handful of great throws deep down the field, dropping the football right into his receivers' hands. However, this day will be defined by the three turnovers for the veteran quarterback.
2015 Week 6 vs ATL (30 / 39 / 312 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / 2 / 0 rush)
Brees moved up in the pocket on the third play of the game to move the chains, finding Josh Hill for 12 yards to get the game started on the right foot for New Orleans. He spread the ball around to Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead and Benjamin Watson throughout the drive, impressively orchestrating the offense with short passes before handing it off to Mark Ingram for the opening touchdown. Brees handed the ball over three times before his offense was forced to punt on its second series of the day. He spread the ball around once more on the third series, picking up two first downs. However, an eight-yard run stuff set the offense back and forced a punt. Brees peppered Watson with targets in the two-minute offense before the first half, connecting with the veteran tight end four times for 60 yards on this drive alone. However, a highly thrown pass that Watson leaped to get his hands on fell incomplete on a third-and-long to end the promising drive. New Orleans was forced to settle for a field goal attempt, which was unsuccessful. Brees got the ball moving down the field once again to begin the second half, spreading the ball around to a variety of targets while making an especially impressive back-shoulder throw to Ben Watson. Bogging down in the red zone, the Saints opted to kick a field goal to punctuate the series. Brees kept his sharp day alive on the following drive, carrying the offense when his running game remained absent. He found four different targets with frequently accurate throws, pushing the ball down the field before finding a wide open Watson wide open in the end zone on a gutsy fourth-down play call. The veteran quarterback orchestrated another touchdown drive early in the final period to essentially put the game out of reach for his team's second win of the season. The offense once again rode his coattails without a meaningful running game, as Brees completed a dime of a pass deep down the field to Brandin Cooks for the highlight of this icing drive. New Orleans transitioned into clock-killing mode on the following drive, with Brees handing the ball off three times before Zach Hocker missed his second field goal of the night. His best game of the season, Brees brought back memories of a Saints offensive era gone by with efficient and accurate passes all night. The veteran signal caller put the team on his back for an inspired Thursday night performance in front of his home crowd, but this seems more like a short-lived turnaround than a returning sign of normality for the New Orleans attack.
2015 Week 7 vs IND (28 / 44 / 255 / 1 / 1 pass, 4 / -4 / 0 rush)
Brees' day began inauspiciously, with a sack for a loss five at the hands of Robert Mathis. The Saints were forced to punt after an 11-yard screen to C.J. Spiller failed to recover the lost yardage. Brees found Spiller, Brandin Cooks and Michael Hoomanawanui on the following drive, but the offense bogged down and New Orleans once again punted the football from about midfield. Brees connected with Brandon Coleman, Spiller and Khiry Robinson on his third series, with an especially beautiful touch pass to Coleman on a key third down. A successful fake field goal deep in enemy territory led New Orleans to find the end zone and take a 7-0 lead. An immediate Andrew Luck interception put the ball back in Brees' hands with prime field position. He rode the legs of his running game, leading his offense to a refreshing 14-0 advantage at the onset of the second quarter. Yet another Colt turnover gave the Saints possession deep in Indy territory. Brees carved up the defense by finding his trade acquisition, Hoomanawanui for a 16-yard touchdown wide open down the right seam. After three consecutive touchdown drives, the Saints had to punt midway through the second quarter from their own territory after Brandin Cooks was unable to break through a Greg Toler tackle. Brees rode his running game on the following series after an 18-yard pick play to Brandin Cooks. However, he threw a costly interception to Vontae Davis in the back of the endzone to end the drive, floating a pass intended for Marques Colston in which the veteran receiver didn't even see the ball coming. New Orleans' possession to cap off the first half was hardly noteworthy, a three-and-out that ended in a punt. Brees led his offense to an opening touchdown drive to begin the second half, elevating the Saints to a 27-0 lead by once again relying on Mark Ingram to the tune of 53 rushing yards. The Saints' offense got the ball back midway through the third period still up 27 points, but were forced to punt after picking up just one first down on a 10-yard swing pass to Mark Ingram. Brees' attack began to bog down to conclude the third quarter, containing another drive culminating in a punt after only one first down by way of short gains was accrued. The trend continued to open the fourth quarter, with a punt to began the period after only four offensive yards were gained. Brees got the ball back quickly, but the drive ended with the same way, with a punt after a clutch sack from Kendall Langford. Brees made a perfect "bucket" pass to Brandin Cooks down the sideline on his next possession, picking up 47 quick yards. However, the drive slowed down shortly thereafter, resulting in a Thomas Morstead punt from midfield. Indianapolis continued to give New Orleans the ball back without taking much time off the clock, but New Orleans couldn't do anything with it late in the final frame. A punt commenced with roughly four minutes left and a 13-point lead. Having lost his rhythm from earlier in the game, Brees reached back for just enough to propel his team on the final drive. The veteran quarterback connected with Willie Snead on a short slant route, followed by old reliable Marques Colston on a back-shoulder pass up the right sideline. He proceeded to kneel on the ball, running out the clock to ensure New Orleans' third victory of the season. The engine that kept the Saints running, Brees led his team to a great start en route to a 27-0 lead, making several beautiful passes. Things decelerated from there, however, as New Orleans' scoring was finished with over ten minutes left in the third quarter. Still, Brees seems to have regained some semblance of consistency in his passing attack of late, albeit against the likes of Atlanta and Indianapolis.
2015 Week 8 vs NYG (39 / 50 / 505 / 7 / 2 pass, 1 / 1 / 0 rush)
Brees' first drive included just one completion to Josh Hill, and ended with a three-and-out punt. It was clearly not a sign of things to come, but put the Saints in an early deficit. He got rolling on the subsequent drive, connecting with Mark Ingram on a checkdown, Ben Watson on a perfect seam pass and Willie Snead to cap it off with a 34-yard flea flicker score. To open the following drive, Brees extended the play outside of the pocket before heaving it to Watson for an impressive 46-yard playground gain. The touchdown came on a short slant where Brandin Cooks beat his defender right off the snap en route to a 26-yard score. It was clear at this point that New Orleans' offense was off to a hot start, and was likely to move the ball fairly easily. Brees spread the ball around on his fourth offensive possession, finding Cooks, Snead and Brandon Coleman for short gains before taking advantage of a blown defensive coverage for a laughably easy 53-yard touchdown to Marques Colston. Surgically eviscerating New York's defense on his fifth series, Brees chewed up yardage underneath with short passes before finding Willie Snead on a shallow crosser for his fourth touchdown of the half. Clearly on fire in the opening half, Brees totaled over 300 passing yards and established a streak of 17 consecutive completions, spearheading his team's 28-21 lead. Brees didn't lose any rhythm at halftime, as he hooked up with the likes of Ingram, Colston and Watson for intermediate gains before lofting a beautiful bucket pass to Brandin Cooks for a 21-yard touchdown, reclaiming a 35-28 lead in a developing offensive shootout. After five consecutive touchdown drives, Brees finally felt some resistance midway through the third quarter when he forced a throw into double coverage that was intended for Brandin Cooks. It was an overthrown ball that resulted in a very athletic interception for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Amending for his lone mistake on the day, Brees once again dissected the numerous deficiencies of the New York defense with short completions to Colston, Cooks and Snead before putting a ball right into Watson's chest for a 20-yard touchdown up the right seam with frequent defensive target Landon Collins in the crosshairs. His team was up 42-28 with just over a quarter to play, but the lead was not safe as both defenses were absolute sieves all day long. The Giants patched their defense for three more plays early in the fourth quarter, as Brees and the Saints were forced to punt for just the third time all day with a 42-35 advantage. New Orleans' offense looked to be humming down the field like it had been all day, when Brees was intercepted by Trumaine McBride. The ball was intended for Willie Snead on an out-route when Snead fell victim to a huge hit from DRC, causing the pigskin to pop loose right into the arms of a defender for a pick-six. Suddenly, a recent two-score lead was now a 49-42 deficit. Once again tasked with putting the offense on his shoulders, Brees surgically led his team down the field with a 6:35 drive to tie the game at 49, ensuring Eli Manning had just 30 seconds left to pull ahead. That didn't happen, and a fluky punt return by Marcus Murphy combined with a lucky facemask penalty put newly signed Kai Forbath in position to hit a 51-yard field goal for the exhilarating victory. While his defense didn't show up for most of the afternoon, Brees willed his team to victory by taking what the Giants gave him all day long, in the form of blown coverages and underneath dinking-and-dunking. New Orleans' best formula for winning involves riding its veteran quarterback's right arm. On fire since returning from his shoulder ailment, Brees is back in surefire QB1 territory.
2015 Week 9 vs TEN (28 / 39 / 387 / 3 / 1 pass, 3 / -1 / 1 rush)
Brees picked up where he left off last week to begin Sunday's game, leading his team on an opening-game touchdown drive. He spread the ball around to Willie Snead, Brandin Cooks, Brandon Coleman and finally Josh Hill for the ten-yard score. Brees opened up a 14-3 lead following his second possession, finding Willie Snead and Marques Colston for critical third down conversions before dropping a perfect throw right into Brandin Cooks' hands for a 38-yard touchdown. On New Orleans' next drive, Brees lucked up with a roughing the passer call that negated a late first-quarter interception. Brees jumped over the pile for a one-yard score, going 3 for 3 in touchdown drives to start his day. The beneficiaries of his hot start on this drive were Willie Snead and Mark Ingram (on the ground and through the air), as the veteran QB continued to pick on Titans CB Perrish Cox. His next drive finally encountered a hiccup, resulting in a three-and-out when Brees was unable to connect with Cooks on a third-down slant. The dry spell continued to cap off the opening half, as a pair of completions to Ben Watson were the only noteworthy developments on a possession that ended in a punt. A third straight punt was the way New Orleans opened its second half after three consecutive Mark Ingram totes. Brees' next drive started off very promising, as he led his team into the redzone by finding Hill, Snead and Coleman on an impressive rollout. However, the momentum stalled there as Brees took an 11-yard sack before forcing a vertical route to Mark Ingram into double coverage, resulting in a costly interception by B.W. Webb. This likely cost the Saints at least three points, and left the contest in serious question with a 21-20 lead and only 18 and a half minutes on the clock. Bookending the third and fourth quarters, Brees led his team on a much-needed touchdown drive. He relied on Colston, Watson and Cooks for key third down conversions before turning to Hoomanawanui for the one-yard touchdown. By this point, with a 28-20 lead, it was clear that his running game was going to offer Brees little to no support. Tennessee got the ball back and drove down for a touchdown and tying two-point conversion, putting some pressure on Brees' offense. A series of penalties and consistent defensive pressure resulted in a punt after only four offensive plays were executed. A missed Tennessee field goal left the game tied and in Brees' hands with 1:55 left on the clock from his own 45. The drive started off promisingly, with a 22-yard completion to Snead, but a costly 8-yard sack and heavy Tennessee pressure put the Saints in lukewarm position for a potential 46-yard game winning field goal. Forbath's kick was partially blocked, and was no good. New Orleans never got the ball back, as an overtime coin toss fell in favor of Tennessee, who drove the length of the field for a game-clinching touchdown. Brees' high-percentage attack made for a solid day for fantasy investors, but the majority of his statistical damage took place in the opening half. Increased pressure from Tennessee sparked offensive pause from New Orleans, and ultimately proved to be the difference on a late-game Brian Orakpo sack that pushed the Saints out of easy field goal range. Lock this resurgent veteran in your lineups as a QB1 going forward.
2015 Week 10 vs WAS (19 / 28 / 209 / 2 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees opened his day with a short play-action completion to Benjamin Watson, and rode the wave of a 70-yard pitch to Mark Ingram on his team's first touchdown drive. The four-yard score occurred on a one-step drop slant to Brandin Cooks to tie the score at 7. New Orleans' second offensive drive didn't get any traction, as an eight-yard sack on third down forced the Saints into a quick punt. Two effective runs began the team's third drive, setting up a 60-yard play action bomb to Brandin Cooks for the tying touchdown. This would turn out to be New Orleans' final points of the day. Time of possession was dominated by the Redskins to this point, but it didn't project to matter early in the second period. Brees' attack couldn't get much going on its final drive of the first half, as a costly Cooks drop forced the Saints to punt from their own territory. New Orleans' sieve of a defense combined with some offensive hiccups resulted in a 27-14 halftime deficit. Brees had to nickel and dime for every yard to open the second half, spreading the ball around with short passes. Facing a 16-point hole, New Orleans was forced to punt after only three plays once again late in the third quarter after a costly holding penalty prevented the Saints from gaining any offensive momentum. After picking up one first down by way of a Mark Ingram screen on the following drive, Brees threw a pass a bit too high for Marques Colston, resulting in a tipped pick-six to cement the game at 44-14. It wasn't a perfect throw, but still one that Brees can reasonably expect his veteran receiver to come down with on a make-or-break third down. It would only get worse on the following drive for New Orleans, as an initial nine-yard completion to Marques Colston was wasted with three straight plays that combined to lose 3 yards. The ball was going back to Washington yet again after a failed fourth-down conversion, and their drive would start at the New Orleans 22. Essentially attempting to minimize the score disparity in an already embarrassing loss, Brees moved the ball fairly effectively on his following drive, spreading the ball around with dink-and-dunk underneath routes. The Saints reached the Washington 33 before Brees forced a vertical route down the left sideline to Benjamin Watson, who was perfectly covered by Perry Riley. The heave resulted in an athletic interception, adding further insult to injury. Another day to light up the scoreboard looked to be in the cards for Brees' Saints after marching down the field with two opening touchdowns, but things obviously bogged down considerably from there. Timely Washington pressure combined with carrying the enormous weight of a defense seemingly giving up a touchdown every possession, Brees was unable to get anything going in the second half. The Saints have a bye next week, but he'll be a decent QB1 for the homestretch of fantasy regular seasons.
2015 Week 12 vs HOU (25 / 44 / 228 / 0 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees and the Saints picked up a first down to open their offensive day, capitalizing on soft Houston coverage by getting the ball into the hands of Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead on shallow out-routes. The team was forced to punt from their own 34 yard-line. Three straight screens netted a loss of one on the following drive, making the decision to punt very easy for an offense spinning its wheels. Another punt commenced on New Orleans' third offensive drive to finish the first quarter, as J.J. Watt ruined two consecutive plays before Brees was unable to reach the sticks on third-and-long. A penalty combined with generally ineffective offense lead to a fourth straight punt for Brees' attack. Conventional first downs seemed like a challenge to this point, let alone the self-dug hole of a third-and-23. Brees established a bit of offensive momentum on his final two drives before the half, which both resulted in field goals. Mark Ingram's 29-yard run was the catalyst for the first three points, while a pair of Benjamin Watson receptions and a nice play from Willie Snead allowed New Orleans to only trail 14-6 in a half in which they were thoroughly outplayed. A promising Mark Ingram carry opened the Saints' second half attack, but a sack from the dominant J.J. Watt combined with a penalty provided a setback that led to another punt. A deep punt from Houston forced Brees and Co. into terrible field position, which, predictably, they weren't able to do anything with. Another punt was the culmination of a drive to fit their one for nine success rate on third downs to this point. Brees was leading his team on their most successful drive of the day early in the fourth quarter, connecting with Ben Watson and Willie Snead to reach Houston's red zone. However, he was intercepted on an impressive play from Kareem Jackson, which ended any scant hope that New Orleans had down 24-6. The Saints gained numerous yardage on their final drive of the day, but with the contest clearly in hand, it appeared Houston was content with allowing these short chunks of yardage. Brees' throws were consistently a hair off the mark for most of Sunday's game. Consistent pressure combined with an inability from his receivers to gain separation contributed, but this is definitely a day the future Hall-of-Famer will wish to forget. Ingram's first carry occurred on New Orleans' third play from scrimmage, an inside handoff for a single yard. His next carry came two drives later, a loss of two off left tackle. Midway through the second period, Ingram took a pitch to the right edge before tiptoeing his way down the sideline for 29 yards, easily serving as New Orleans' best offensive play to this point. Ingram bailed out his quarter from an impending sack with a 17-yard swing pass to the left flat in the team's two minute drill. He opened New Orleans' second half with a chunk of 16 yards up the middle. However, he dropped a screen pass two plays later on a third-and-20. Ingram was the recipient of another swing pass to begin his team's next drive, taking it for three yards from the left flat. His next two carries were small victories considering the level of overall offensive success on the day, picking up five and four yards up the middle, respectively. Ingram caught a pair of checkdowns midway through the fourth in New Orleans' no-huddle attack, picking up five and six yards. The veteran back stayed involved with a catch two plays later, netting 16 yards against a vacant defensive zone. His role will remain steady as a capable professional back, but this is a team that appears ready for an early offseason.
2015 Week 13 vs CAR (24 / 42 / 282 / 3 / 1 pass, 1 / 12 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees produced a masterful performance against a stingy Panthers defense, relying on his intelligence and a number of very creative plays to get the job done. The Saints went up-tempo early, trying to get the Panthers thinking rather than playing. They had a lot of success early as Brees fired off quick passes and leaned on the ground game. At the line of scrimmage, he was a master, drawing two offsides penalties and consistently changing the play into a favourable one. He coped well with pressure, although the offensive line afforded him excellent protection throughout. Only when the Panthers sent extra rushers did they manage to get home. The veteran's first touchdown pass of the day came on a seam pass to Benjamin Watson. The Panthers appeared to drop a coverage, allowing Watson to streak untouched into open space in the end zone for Brees to find him. After the hot start, Brees was nearly intercepted on a quick slant to Brandon Coleman, with the cornerback jumping in front. However, he was unable to make the play. The Saints heated up as the game went on and continued to throw looks at the Panthers that made them uncomfortable. Yet another well-crafted play led to a 54-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks. Motioning to the right from a bunch set, Cooks ran a deep post and seemed to confuse the Panthers' safeties, who allowed him to roam free. It was a straightforward pass for Brees off play action, but he had to avoid a rusher to step up and fire it downfield. Brees' third touchdown toss came on a nicely lofted pass to Coleman, but it was the quarterback's eyes at the line of scrimmage that fooled the would-be coverage player. Brees pumped to the flat receiver to hold the cornerback, before firing to Coleman on a go route down the sideline. A late interception was the only black spot in an otherwise clean and efficient game; Brees, under pressure, appeared to throw the pass blind, allowing the free safety to come over the top and pick it off.
2015 Week 14 vs TB (31 / 41 / 312 / 2 / 0 pass, 3 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees started off his day sharply, moving the chains with regularity en route to an opening touchdown drive. His prime beneficiaries were Brandin Cooks and Benjamin Watson, but Marques Colston capitalized in the endzone with a three-yard touchdown to put the Saints up 7-0. After getting the ball back in short order, Brees and the Saints were unable to pick up a first down on their second drive. New Orleans' aerial attack found more success on their third possession, hooking up deep down the field to Willie Snead on a blown coverage, then Ben Watson over the middle on a severe mismatch. Audibling out of a goal-line run, Brees found Marques Colston by the left pylon for a one-yard touchdown, the duo's second of the young game. Starting off the day by hitting 12 of his first 13 passes, Brees ably led his team to a 14-0 lead. Brees and the Saints embarked on a 17-play drive to finish off the opening half, as Snead and Watson remained heavily involved. A costly sack in the red zone forced New Orleans to settle for a field goal, but numerous third downs were converted to ensure a successful clock-killing drive. At the half, the Saints held a 17-10 lead. The Saints established some offensive momentum to open the second half by continuing to spread the ball around through the air, but a punt was forced from shallow Tampa territory. Brees utilized efficient short passing to run five more minutes off the clock and cap off the third period. The offense rewarded Tim Hightower with a three-yard touchdown to put the Saints up 24-10 with a quarter and change to play. To open the final frame, a series of underneath passing set up a fourth-and-short in which the Saints elected to punt. Two first downs on the following possession were enough to burn 3:34 off the clock, but a pair of incompletions and a costly penalty kept the Saints a yard away from a first down, in which they chose to punt once more. Relying on the legs of the capable , if not flashy Tim Hightower, the Saints were able to run out the last four minutes on the clock to secure a 24-17 victory. Brees was efficient on the day, taking advantage of mismatches in coverage and hitting his receivers in tight windows. The offense played well as a unit once an early 14-0 lead was established. Brees is just a mid-range QB1 based on volume for the season's homestretch.
2015 Week 15 vs DET (34 / 52 / 341 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / 11 / 0 rush)
New Orleans began their day with a three-and-out after Brees was unable to connect with Cooks down the left seam on third-and-five due to perfect coverage from Darius Slay. A short run followed by two more defensively-forced incompletions forced Brees' second drive to end the same as the first, with a punt from deep in the Saints' own territory. Midway through the first period on his third drive of the day, Brees used the opposing pass rush's aggressive to his advantage by scrambling for 11 yards off left tackle. New Orleans achieved some offensive momentum on their third series, mainly utilizing Willie Snead on underneath routes, but a pair of incomplete deep shots up the left sideline ended the drive with a 45-yard field-goal attempt, which was converted to make the score 7-3 with a minute remaining in the opening quarter. After picking up a single first down on his fourth drive, Brees was content to throw the ball away on third-and-12 after a costly holding penalty set the offense back. He did, however, appear to hurt his right foot on this third down while attempting to buy time in the pocket, and would have it checked out on the sideline only to return on the following series without missing a play. Brees was able to lead his offense down the field on their last drive of the first half despite visibly suffering from pain in his right foot. A diverse array of receivers pitched in here, including Spiller, Hightower and Cooks. The ball reached as far as Detroit's one yard-line, but poor goal-line execution, especially in the ground game, forced New Orleans to roll the dice on a do-or-die pass play to end the first half. An offensive penalty destroyed the potential score, and left the Saints with a frustrating 21-3 deficit after two quarters. Behind 28-3 by this point, pressure from both edges resulted in Brees falling victim to a sack on his first play from scrimmage of the second half. Unable to handle the blitz, Brees was forced to throw the ball away on third-and-11, leading to another New Orleans three-and-out to open the third period. On their second drive of the third, the Saints turned to their hurry-up attack. The returns were positive, as five straight completions including two sizeable plays to Marques Colston and the 27-yard touchdown to Cooks allowed the team to find the endzone and make the deficit 28-10. Additional "two-minute" success was found on the next possession, where Brees found Cooks, Snead and Ben Watson to move the ball down the field before a third-down incompletion forced a 22-yard field goal to make the score 28-13 with 13 minutes to play. Still nursing his right foot through pain, Brees and the Saints took advantage of a Detroit fumble to waltz down the field and punctuate with an 11-yard Marques Colston score. The game was suddenly very much within reach, as 10 minutes remained with only a 28-20 deficit. More fast-paced offense allowed the Saints to pile up a 15-play drive within 3:30, as all members of the passing game were utilized to dink-and-dunk the ball down the field on several do-or-die occasions. A one-yard touchdown made the score 35-27, but, in reality, it wasn't that close. Game script allowed Brees to compile 341 yards on 52 attempts, but it will be interesting to see if the Saints decide to let him play through his foot ailment going forward with New Orleans' season officially a wash.
2015 Week 16 vs JAX (25 / 36 / 412 / 3 / 0 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)
Brees earned his money at home on Sunday, playing through severe pain due to a torn plantar fascia in his right foot. Although not moving especially well, he didn't seem worse for the wear from the get-go with his arm. On his opening possession, Brees utilized 20-yard passes to Brandon Coleman and Brandin Cooks along with the steady running attack of Tim Hightower before finding Michael Hoomanawanui for a 17-yard touchdown, and a 7-0 lead. Brees backed this up with similar success on the team's second drive, identifying a mismatch deep down the left sideline and dropping a dime to Cooks as he sped past Jacksonville coverage for a 71-yard touchdown to make the first-quarter score 14-0 in New Orleans' favor. After getting the ball back in plus-territory because of a defensive interception, Brees' relied upon the legs of Tim Hightower to guide the team to a somewhat surprising 21-0 lead with ten and a half minutes to go in the first half. A costly sack forced the Saints to punt on their fourth drive of the day from deep in their own territory. Taking advantage of another Jacksonville turnover, New Orleans found its way into the red zone before faltering a bit on account of a pair of Brees incompletions. They settled for a 37-yard field goal, earning a 24-0 lead with about four minutes left in the half. Brees put his kicker in position for a 52-yard attempt before halftime, connecting with Willie Snead twice including a particularly sharp throw between two defenders. The kick missed, however, and the Saints took a 24-6 lead to the locker room. After Jacksonville opened the second half with a touchdown drive, Brees answered back with one of his own, relying on the likes of Brandon Coleman and Hightower before connecting with fresh face Travaris Cadet for a 44-yard touchdown. The Saints kept control of the clock to begin the fourth, embarking on a 13-play drive that elapsed nearly seven minutes. Brees continued to spread the ball around in the short to intermediate areas of the field before rewarding Hightower with a five-yard touchdown run. Continuing their potency through the fourth, New Orleans decimated any scant comeback hopes that Jacksonville was clinging to by taking seven more minutes off the clock on an eleven play drive. With some speculation of this being his last New Orleans home game, Brees responded with one of his best games of the year while dealing with significant pain in his right foot. He took advantage of a Jacksonville defense that offered little defensive resistance, spreading the ball around to nine different receivers to the tune of 412 yards.
2015 Week 17 vs ATL (32 / 42 / 323 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / -5 / 0 rush)
Brees' Saints started off the day conservatively, with a pair of handoffs and underneath checkdowns. One first down was picked up, but a punt was forced after only five offensive plays. More success was found on New Orleans' second possession, as Brees connected with Travaris Cadet and Ben Watson on two plays that combined for 58 yards before relying on the legs of Tim Hightower to guide the offense into the end zone and take a 7-3 lead late in the first. Similar offensive firepower was achieved on the following drive for New Orleans, with Cadet continuing to play a large role out of the backfield. Brandon Coleman and Brandin Cooks pitched in, as well, before Watson grabbed a touchdown on a wheel route up the left sideline to make the score 14-10. Brees looked to be leading his offense right back down the field before halftime by continuing to kill Atlanta slowly with checkdowns to his RBs. However, once in the red zone, the Saints rolled the dice on fourth-and-two with a pick play to Willie Snead before an Atlanta defender made a dynamic break and tackle to force a turnover on downs, leaving the score 14-10. An eleven-play drive preceded a successful 41-yard field goal attempt to tie the score at 17 solidly into the third quarter. Brees' attack continued to rely on underneath passing with the exception of Willie Snead's 22-yard deep crosser, but it proved effective enough to put points off the board and take five minutes off the clock before Atlanta's defense stiffened up when backed against the wall. Early in the fourth quarter, Brees and Co. embarked on a 16-play drive that elapsed eight minutes of the game clock. The successful ball-control attack involved spreading the ball around to all members of the offense, chiefly underneath the teeth of Atlanta's defense. However, an attempted no-huddle run on Atlanta's three yard-line ended in a lost Saint fumble, allowing a sure three points and a possible hard-earned seven slip through their fingers in the form of a continued 17-17 tie. Three plays without a first down forced New Orleans to punt on their following drive, as an incompletion to Ben Watson up the left sideline seemingly sealed the Saints' fate as they opted to punt the ball back to Atlanta with under two minutes left. However, New Orleans got the ball right back after their defense forced a clutch interception. Tim Hightower ran off the last bit of clock by picking up a critical first down to set up a game-winning field goal. Brees ended his season much like several games throughout the 2015 campaign: efficiently. He led his offense down the field several times with completion after completion, mostly taking advantage of Atlanta's usually soft defensive coverage. This won't go down as the veteran QB's best season, but, on a list of reasons why this team didn't end up reaching the playoffs, his right arm doesn't belong.
2014 Week 1 vs ATL (29 / 42 / 333 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
Brees erased any lingering doubts about his strained oblique early in the contest. Despite limited pre-season snaps, he threw the ball crisply with only one incompletion on the initial drive and that one was barely off Jimmy Grahamís fingertips. The offensive line protected well most of the game, and even when pressured, Brees scrambled effectively and often slid to the outside. On the positive side, Brees completed 69% of his attempts and averaged 7.9 yards per attempt. He also was not sacked in the contest. The downside is that even with 42 attempts, he only threw one TD pass as the Saints kicked two field goals and scored 3 touchdowns running the ball. Brees was effective in the red zone completing 6 of 7 passes, but for only 31 yards. Breesí only red zone incompletion however was a critical turnover as he forced a pass to Brandin Cooks who was closely covered in the end zone and the ball was intercepted. Instead of the Saints increasing their lead, the Falcons marched down the field for a touchdown and their first lead of the game. Brees completed passes to seven different Saints, but the majority of his completions (26 of 29) went to Graham, Marques Colston, Brandon Cooks, and Pierre Thomas. Brees first impact play came off a play-action fake to Ingram hitting Cooks in stride for a gain of 32 yards. He later avoided a blitz and made a perfect throw to Colston down the middle that featured a nice run after the catch for a gain of 57 yards. The vast majority of his completions came on fairly short routes and although his receivers did not have any difficulty getting open, the Falcon defenders kept the plays in front of the coverage, mostly preventing long gains. Brees only touchdown pass came on a short rub route to Brandin Cooks that went for 3 yards.
2014 Week 2 vs CLE (27 / 40 / 237 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 3 / 0 rush)
Brees bounced back from a terrible start to lead three straight touchdown drives, but this was yet another mediocre Brees performance outdoors. The game started miserably as the first two possessions were ugly 3-and-outs. Brees did not handle the rush well all day and looked especially out of sorts early. On the second play of the game, Brees let an off target shotgun snap bounce off his hands, rushed back to pick the ball up and quickly chucked a dangerous throw into coverage to avoid the sack. He was lucky to avoid the interception. The Browns easily sniffed out a WR screen to Brandin Cooks on 3rd down to force the punt. The first play of the second drive, Brees was lucky to avoid the Safety as he held onto the ball far too long and was sacked just outside the end zone. After a short dump off to Ingram on 2nd down, Brees again narrowly avoided an INT as he was hit on the release and the ball floated to land between three defenders. Brees' risky play finally bit him late in the 2nd quarter as he threw an INT that the Browns returned for a TD. With pressure in his face, Brees sailed the ball down the middle of the field way over Jimmy Graham's head and right into the hands of the Browns Safety. After the INT, Brees played much better. Down 16-3 after the Pick Six, the Saints got the ball back on their own 15 with a little over three minutes left in the half and Brees orchestrated a very nice 85-yard touchdown drive. Brees capped off the drive with a well-thrown jump ball to Jimmy Graham for a nine-yard TD with just seconds to play in the half. Brees led another TD drive on the Saints next possession that again finished with a Jimmy Graham TD, this time from 1-yard out as Brees hit Graham on a quick out route. The next drive was another long TD march for the Saints with the big play coming courtesy of Jimmy Graham on a 20-yard completion down the left sideline that set the Saints up with first and goal on the Browns 3. After two long TD drives, the Saints only other second half possession came late in the 4th quarter with the Saints nursing a one point lead. The offense was able to eat up over six minutes and pin the Browns inside their own 5-yard-line with 2:36 left so the drive was not a complete failure, but Brees and the offense were unable to put the game away.
2014 Week 3 vs MIN (27 / 35 / 293 / 2 / 0 pass, 3 / -2 / 0 rush)
Brees had an average Week 3 performance, as he did not handle pressure very well but did make some savvy veteran plays to secure the win. While he often did a relatively good job of escaping pressure by climbing the pocket and buying himself time, he threw some ugly balls nowhere near his WRs when he did not have room to operate. Brees and the Saints offense made it look easy the first two drives as the running game picked up big chunks and Brees was a perfect 9-for-9 without having to make any difficult throws. On the first drive, Brees nearly had a TD pass to Pierre Thomas but Thomas stepped out as he was diving for the pylon. On the second drive, Brees looked left and pump faked to hold the Safety Harrison Smith then came back and hit a wide-open Hill down the seam for an easy touchdown. In the two-minute drill at the end of the half, Brees leaned heavily on Jimmy Graham like he did in Week 2. After a couple easy completions to Graham, Brees threw a ball that should have been intercepted as Smith undercut Graham's route and had the ball hit him in the hands but couldn't pull in the INT. The offense went cold for five straight drives as little miscues and negative plays led to punts. None of it was really due to Brees mistakes though as the guys around him let him down. On one drive it was holding on a run play. The next it was a drop by Marques Colston on what should have been a big gainer. The next drive, a 2nd down sack on Brees put them in 3rd and long. The next drive, a bad snap on 3rd down that Brees couldn't handle led to a big loss and a punt. At the end of the 3rd quarter, the offense finally started rolling again after Brees was body slammed by CB Captain Munnerlyn. Brees got up extremely angry and the anger seemed to fuel the Saints offense. Brees made a couple nice completions and then finished the drive with a TD pass to Colston. The next (and final) drive, Brees again stepped up his play with a couple big 3rd down completions to keep the drive alive. Finally, on 3rd and short with a little over a minute left, he used a hard count to draw the Vikings offside to pick up another first down and put the game away.
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.
2014 Week 7 vs DET (28 / 45 / 342 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 13 / 0 rush)
Brees was masterful for most of the game but stumbled down the stretch with one egregious mistake costing the Saints another win. For the first three quarters, Brees managed the offense efficiently with high percentage throws underneath combined with some attacks deep down the field to Marques Colston and Kenny Stills. Brees also took advantage of the Saints defense with some quick snaps that caught the defense off guard and out of position. The first touchdown of the game came on one of these plays. The Saints snapped the ball quickly and nobody picked up the FB Austin Johnson out of the backfield. Brees hit him with a short pass and Johnson was able to dive for the pylon down the left sideline for the score. Brees also led an impressive 80-yard FG drive in the final 1:31 of the first half that featured six straight completions. Brees stayed hot on the first drive of the 2nd half, leading a four-play, 80-yard drive touchdown drive that took only 1:10. The big play came after a 22-yard completion to Colston. Brees rushed the team up to the line and quickly snapped it before the defense could set and hit Kenny Stills for a 46-yard score streaking down the right sideline. As in past weeks though, Brees was unable to put together a full 60 minutes of strong play. The 4th quarter featured a stretch of 11 Brees attempts in which he threw 10 incompletions and and an INT. The interception was a killer. With the Saints clinging to a six point lead with three minutes to play, Brees stepped up in the pocket to avoid pressure, stared down his WR cutting across the middle and delivered a gift wrapped INT to Safety Glover Quin who returned it inside the Saints 20 to setup the game-winning TD for the Lions.
2014 Week 8 vs GB (27 / 32 / 311 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / 6 / 0 rush)
Brees played his best and most complete game of the season against the Packers by playing within himself and not making costly mistakes under pressure. In addition, Brees was finally able to take the top off of the defense multiple times with deep balls to Brandin Cooks and Kenny Stills. Brees is arguably the top two-minute-drill QB in the NFL and he again put together a long drive in under two minutes before halftime to tie the game with a FG. Brees' first touchdown of the game was on a beautifully thrown deep ball to Brandin Cooks that hit him in stride in the end zone just above the outstretched arms of the DB. Brees also hooked up with his favorite target, Jimmy Graham, on an accurate touchdown throw in which Brees put it up high where only Graham could get it and Graham went up and made the play. Brees' final TD pass came on play-action from the two-yard-line as he faked the handoff and rolled left then hit a wide-open Josh Hill in the end zone. Overall, it was a smart, efficient performance from Brees. His accuracy and command of the offense were both at an elite level.
2014 Week 9 vs CAR (24 / 34 / 297 / 1 / 1 pass, 4 / 2 / 1 rush)
After a red-zone interception on the first drive and a fumble on the second drive, Brees settled into more of a conservative "game manager" role when it became clear that the Panthers would not be able to score many points. The first drive of the game ended deep in Panthers' territory as Brees tried to thread a pass in between tight coverage to Kenny Stills. The DB made a great play to dive and get a hand on the ball, which popped high into the air for an easy interception. Brees had the ball stripped on his second drive for another turnover. He was held in check for nearly the enite first half until putting on a clinic yet again in the two-minute-drill before halftime as Brees led an 85-yard touchdown drive in the final 1:49. The first key play came early in the drive backed up deep and facing 3rd-and-10 when Brees hit Kenny Stills deep down the right sideline for 32 yards. The next key play Brees targeted Robert Meachem in the end zone and was able to pick up a big gain on pass interference that set the offense up at the one. Brees then hit Graham for the TD on a back shoulder fade that the duo made look much simpler than it is. The second half offense was extremely conservative with Ingram carrying the load and draining the clock but Brees did orchestrate a long drive in the 3rd quarter that he capped off with a 4th-and-goal TD run on a QB sneak as he leaped over the line with the ball extended out in front of him to break the plane.
2014 Week 10 vs SF (28 / 47 / 292 / 3 / 2 pass, 2 / 7 / 0 rush)
QBs are judged by wins and losses and through nine games Brees is turning the ball over too many times for the Saints to be a winning team. Three turnovers again overshadowed an otherwise strong performance from Brees against the 49ers and directly led to a costly home loss. Brees started the game with a bad INT on the first drive. He seemed to feel the pressure as the pocket collapsed and didn't get much on the throw as he tried to throw a deep out that the 49ers Safety easily undercut. The 49ers returned it deep into Saints territory and quickly scored a TD to take the lead less than two minutes into the game. After quickly falling behind 14-0, Brees orchestrated a pair of nice scoring drives to cut the lead to four. The highlight of each drive was a deep pass to Brandin Cooks with the first setting up a field goal and the second resulting in a 31-yard TD strike. Cooks beat single coverage on a go route and Brees placed the ball in the perfect spot to hit Cooks in the end zone for the first Saints TD of the game. Trailing 21-10 in the final minute of the first half, the Saints had an opportunity to gain some momentum going into half after a 49ers fumble gave the Saints the ball in 49ers territory. After a couple completions put the Saints just outside of the red zone, Brees got greedy and tried to hit Jimmy Graham in the end zone. Instead of a TD, he threw an awful interception into triple coverage. Brees must have determined before the snap he was going to Graham as he did a terrible job of recognizing the coverage, which had Graham boxed in on all sides. Brees did make some nice plays in the second half to lead the Saints back and force overtime. Facing 3rd-and-6 in the red zone, Brees faced instant pressure off the edge and made a quick spin move to elude two oncoming rushers and then lobbed it up to Jimmy Graham in the end zone for the touchdown. Trailing by four midway through the 4th quarter, Brees led the Saints on a long TD drive that he capped off with a pretty back shoulder fade to Jimmy Graham to put the Saints up three with under two minutes to play. Brees was almost able to win the game in regulation on a hail mary attempt that Jimmy Graham came down with in the end zone as time expired. However, Graham was called for offensive pass interference and the game went to overtime. The Saints won the toss but were unable to do anything on their first possession. On the second possession, backed up deep in Saints territory Brees fumbled the game away. He had plenty of time to make a throw, but nobody was open and he pump faked and stayed in the pocket far too long. He had the ball up and away from his body when the DE finally arrived and slapped it out of his hand. The 49ers recovered and kicked the game-winning field goal.
2014 Week 11 vs CIN (33 / 41 / 255 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / 3 / 0 rush)
Brees played well but was never able to get rolling as the Bengals' defense played bend-but-don't-break and the Bengals' offense bled the clock which limited the Saints' number of offensive possessions. The Saints' inability to get anything going in the running game on 1st and 2nd down left Brees facing 3rd-and-long way too often. Brees was great on 3rd downs though and converted 5-of-6 into 1st downs to start the game. The Bengals were able to get key stops once the Saints reached the red zone though. On the first offensive possession of the game the Saints marched down the field with Brees dinking and dunking successfully. However, the Saints offense stalled inside the Bengals 20 having to settle for a short FG. The second drive, the Saints again had a long, time-consuming drive that ended with six plays inside the Bengals 10-yard-line. After Ingram was stuffed a couple times, Sean Payton decided to go for it on 4th-and-goal from the one-yard-line. Brees ran play action and found his FB Eric Lorig just short of the goal line, but the Bengals LB and Safety closed fast and stoned him just shy of the end zone. The Bengals offense also sustained long drives and the Saints did not get their 3rd offensive possession until very late in the first half, which seemed to clearly frustrate Brees. With the Saints in their 2-minute-offense, Brees had the ball at midfield facing 3rd down. He felt pressure, scrambled left and took off for a long gain. The play was called back due to holding however and the Saints were not able to convert the 3rd and long. Brees used a quick snap to confuse the defense and throw his only TD of the day. With the Saints facing 3rd-and-4 from the Bengals nine-yard line, the Saints lined up quickly and Brees hit a wide open Kenny Stills running short left towards the left sideline and Stills was able to dive into the end zone for the score. Overall, it was a frustrating day for Brees who watched helplessly as the Bengals marched down the field on many long drives. The Bengals' defense took away the deep ball and forced Brees to nibble off small chunks of yardage, which left very little margin for error, as one penalty on the Saints offense would effectively kill a drive.
2014 Week 12 vs BAL (35 / 45 / 420 / 3 / 1 pass, 3 / 15 / 0 rush)
This game was more of the same for Brees and the Saints: an otherwise great performance with one backbreaking mistake that cost the team the game. With the Saints running game effectively useless against the Ravens stout front seven, the Saints had to rely upon the passing game to move the ball. Brees was able to carve up a depleted Ravens' secondary and ten different Saints had receptions as Brees really spread the ball around and got everyone involved. Brees led a long drive to start the game that again stalled out at the 1-yard line as the Saints turned it over on downs after Ingram was stuffed at the one. On the previous play, Brees scrambled and nearly got into the end zone, but was hauled down a yard short. Brees hit Joe Morgan with a pretty deep ball that Morgan was able to catch in stride and take for a 72-yard-gain. Two players later, he hit Jimmy Graham for a 10-yard-TD on a wheel route. Brees just missed a TD pass to Graham in the 2nd quarter. Graham ran a quick out route from the two-yard line and had the defender boxed out, but the throw was slightly behind him allowing the Safety to get a hand on the ball and knock it away. Brees has mastered the two minute drill at the end of the first half and led an 81-yard-TD drive in 1:51 seconds to end the first half. The two big plays on the drive were both to Marques Colston with the first going for 19-yards down the middle of the field to get the Saints into field goal range. After a spike, Brees again found Colston, this time for a 26-yard-TD down the left seam. Brees pump faked to freeze the Safety and then threw a pretty pass to Colston between the CB and Safety. Brees' big mistake came on the first drive of the 3rd quarter with the game tied 17-17. He attempted to hit Graham on a crossing route but facing some pressure threw the ball two yards behind Graham allowing the Ravens' defender to undercut the route and grab the interception which he returned 44 yards for a TD to take the lead. The Pick Six was followed by a 3 and out and the Saints never really threatened again, though Brees racked up some garbage time stats late, including a short TD throw to Jimmy Graham with :40 seconds left. Overall, it was a relatively strong game from Brees except for a couple missed throws that led to the Saints having to settle for three points and of course the game-changing interception that was the turning point in the game and led to the Saints' third straight home defeat.
2014 Week 13 vs PIT (19 / 27 / 257 / 5 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees played one of his best games of the season as he masterfully dissected the Steelers' defense without making any of the over-aggressive mistakes that have plagued him most of this season. Brees and the Saints offense got off to a little bit of a slow start, bogging down early on their first two drives and getting shutout until six minutes before halftime. Unlike past weeks, Brees did not force the issue though and lived to fight another day with safe check down throws to avoid turnovers. Once Brees got the offense rolling midway through the second quarter, there was no looking back. Brees started off the scoring by hitting a wide-open Ben Watson down the left sideline for a 15-yard-TD. Jimmy Graham drew the attention of multiple defenders and Watson was able to find a big hole in the zone defense to provide Brees an easy target in the end zone. On the next drive, Brees did a fantastic job of navigating the pocket to buy time and then put the ball on the money to Kenny Stills for a key 3rd-down gain of 44 yards. A few plays later, he hit FB Erik Lorig for a short touchdown as the Steelers' defense bit hard on the play action to Mark Ingram. Brees took advantage of great field position at the Steelers 15-yard line after a Roethlisberger INT to throw his 3rd touchdown of the day. Nick Toon lined up to the right and with the CB giving a big cushion ran a yard and stopped as Brees hit him with the quick pass. Toon did the rest, shrugging off four Steelers defenders on his way to the end zone for an 11-yard-touchdown. Brees tossed his 4th TD of the game late in the 3rd quarter. The Steelers CB bit hard on a double move by Kenny Stills who had ten yards of separation behind the Steelers defense. Brees was able to hit him in stride down the right sideline for a 69-yard touchdown throw. Brees threw TD number five on a 3-yard back shoulder fade throw to Marques Colston on 1st-and-goal.
2014 Week 14 vs CAR (29 / 49 / 235 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / 6 / 0 rush)
Brees played fairly poorly though not as bad as the 41-10 final score might indicate. It was a nightmare start to the game by the Saints. The Panthers took the opening kickoff and got seven points. The Saints quickly turned it over deep in their own territory (Ingram fumble) on their 2nd offensive play. After a Panthers FG, Brees promptly threw an interception on the Saints first play of their 2nd drive. After play action, Brees targeted Joe Morgan deep down the middle of the field. The ball was well thrown, but coverage was good and the Panthers DB just out-fought Morgan for the ball. It was an ill-advised decision by Brees but he took a chance and the Panthers' DB just made a better play on the ball than his WR (which was the theme of the day for the Saints offense). Following another Panthers TD drive, the Saints were down three scores after only three offensive plays and were never able to dig out from the big early hole. The Saints offense scuffled for the rest of the game. There were a lot of drops by Saints WRs and TEs, though the Panthers also had tight coverage on many of the plays. Brees was just slightly off target on a few throws, which allowed Panthers' DBs to get their hands on some balls but Jimmy Graham and the Saints WRs just didn't make plays when given the chance to. Brees threw a garbage time TD in the 4th quarter to Ben Watson on a short crossing route but the Saints were just going through the motions and playing out the string for most of the 2nd half. Overall, Brees didn't play great but he wasn't the reason the Saints lost. The Saints defense was atrocious all day and put the team in a deep hole early, while the Saints offense just couldn't find enough consistency to put long drives together.
2014 Week 15 vs CHI (29 / 36 / 375 / 3 / 0 pass, 3 / 2 / 0 rush)
Brees played a very strong all-around game as he managed the pocket well and used all of his weapons without becoming over-reliant on any one target. Brees' only small miscue was a bobbled exchange on the 2nd possession and while the Saints recovered, the resultant 4-yard-loss led directly to a missed FG attempt from over 50 yards away. Brees made a huge play to end the first quarter as he eluded multiple Bears in the backfield and threw up a prayer to Jimmy Graham that led to a big gain due to pass interference. The very next play, he found his TE Josh Hill wide open after a play action fake to Khiry Robinson and Hill was able to dive into the end zone for the first score of the game. As has been the case most weeks, Brees again led an impressive touchdown drive to close out the first half. He finished the drive off with a perfectly placed ball in the end zone on a slant route to Marques Colston just inches out of the reach of the defender. Colston was able to make the tough grab to push the Saints lead to 14-0 going into halftime. Brees' 3rd touchdown pass was a carbon copy of his first as the Saints ran the exact same play again. They faked the run left to Robinson and Brees rolled right and hit a wide-open Josh Hill for the easy 7-yard-touchdown.
2014 Week 16 vs ATL (30 / 47 / 313 / 1 / 2 pass, 2 / 8 / 0 rush)
Brees had a below average game with a handful of poor throws and a bad interception at the end that cost the Saints the game. After punching it in following a 99-yard-kick return, Brees and the Saints offense struggled mightily in the first half. The first quarter saw a pair of 3-and-outs with defensive pressure causing errant throws from Brees. The other first quarter drive ended with an interception on a 4th-and-7 from just inside the Falcons' 40-yard line. Brees had pressure in his face and tried to hit Marques Colston on a quick slant route, but the Falcons' CB jumped the route and was able to wrestle the ball away from Colston as the pair fell to the ground. Had the throw been made on any down but 4th, it would have been ill advised, but Brees had nothing to lose. Brees uncharacteristically missed some key throws. He had Jimmy Graham running open down the middle of the field for a big gain early in the 2nd quarter and airmailed the ball over his head. He missed an open Graham a few times early in the 3rd quarter as well. Brees also held onto the ball too long at times and took some costly sacks. Midway through the 2nd quarter with the Saints in FG range, Brees was sacked and fumbled the ball backwards. The Saints were able to recover but the fumble knocked them out of FG range and they were forced to punt. Brees should have had a touchdown pass on the first play of the 4th quarter. He hit Graham across the middle of the field and Graham fought his way forward with the ball barely breaking the plane of the goal line before Graham fumbled. The call was missed on the field and there was not clear enough evidence on the replay to overturn the ruling on the field. Brees put together a very impressive drive on his next opportunity quickly driving the team down for an 87-yard-touchdown drive. He capped it off with a pretty back shoulder throw to Jimmy Graham in the corner of the end zone on a play that the duo has pretty much perfected. Brees got the ball back trailing by six with 2:40 left and on the second play of the drive promptly threw an interception that essentially ended the Saints season. Brees faced pressure from his backside and threw a long out route towards Nick Toon that the Falcons easily intercepted. It was a terrible decision as the Falcons DB jumped the route and a poor throw as well with little muscle behind the ball. Overall, Brees had some fine moments but the game (like the Saints season) will be defined by the costly mistake at the end that cost the Saints a shot at the playoffs.
2014 Week 17 vs TB (24 / 38 / 281 / 1 / 3 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Brees and the Saints got off to a very sluggish start as they were unable to get anything going on their first two drives (while the Bucs offense was able to mount long drives on each of their first three possessions). The Saints 3rd possession saw Brees methodically march the team down the field for a long touchdown drive with an effective mix of short passes and running plays. The Saints were extremely aggressive all season in trying to put points on the board in the final two minutes before halftime. For the most part, they found success with numerous touchdowns resulting from smoothly run two-minute drills. In both games against the Bucs however, the aggressiveness backfired with INTs deep in Saints' territory. Facing a 3rd-and-2 from his own 28 with less than two minutes remaining in the first half, Brees threw a dangerous pass across the middle looking for Kenny Stills but the ball was tipped by a Bucs DT straight up into the air where it was picked off. The INT and a lackluster overall effort in the first half left the Saints trailing 20-7 at halftime. The Saints had only four offensive possessions in the half. The 2nd half started miserably for Brees with interceptions on each of the first two Saints possessions. After moving the team into field goal range on the first drive of the half, he threw into double-coverage and badly overthrew Stills in the end zone resulting in his 2nd interception of the game. On the next drive, Brees was again intercepted in the end zone as he made a horrendous decision to try to squeeze it in to Marques Colston on a slant route down the middle. The corner was in tight trail coverage and the Safety was very well positioned over top. There was no room at all to try to fit it in and the decision by Brees led to an easy interception for the Buccaneers. Brees was able to lead a couple of 4th quarter touchdown drives to secure the win for the Saints. He hit Marques Colston for the game winning 38-yard-touchdown with two minutes left. Colston came open on a crossing route and Brees hit him perfectly in stride allowing Colston to accelerate and sprint untouched the final twenty yards to the end zone. Overall, it was another weak performance from Brees with a couple uncharacteristically poor decisions that led to costly interceptions.
2013 Week 1 vs ATL (26 / 35 / 357 / 2 / 1 pass, 3 / 2 / 0 rush)
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.
2013 Week 2 vs TB (26 / 46 / 322 / 1 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
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 didn't 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.
2013 Week 3 vs ARI (29 / 46 / 342 / 3 / 1 pass, 6 / 21 / 1 rush)
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.
2013 Week 4 vs MIA (30 / 39 / 413 / 4 / 0 pass, 4 / 2 / 0 rush)
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 team's 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 Saints' 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 team's 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.
2013 Week 5 vs CHI (29 / 35 / 288 / 2 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
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.
2013 Week 6 vs NE (17 / 36 / 236 / 2 / 1 pass, 2 / 11 / 0 rush)
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.
2013 Week 8 vs BUF (26 / 34 / 332 / 5 / 0 pass, 4 / -1 / 0 rush)
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.
2013 Week 9 vs NYJ (30 / 51 / 382 / 2 / 2 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
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
2013 Week 10 vs DAL (34 / 41 / 392 / 4 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
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.
2013 Week 11 vs SF (30 / 43 / 305 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
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.
2013 Week 12 vs ATL (23 / 33 / 278 / 2 / 0 pass, 4 / -6 / 0 rush)
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.
2013 Week 13 vs SEA (23 / 38 / 147 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
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.
2013 Week 14 vs CAR (30 / 42 / 313 / 4 / 0 pass, 3 / 3 / 0 rush)
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.
2013 Week 15 vs STL (39 / 56 / 393 / 1 / 2 pass, 2 / 8 / 1 rush)
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.
2013 Week 16 vs CAR (30 / 44 / 281 / 1 / 2 pass, 1 / 9 / 0 rush)
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.
2013 Week 17 vs TB (24 / 31 / 381 / 4 / 0 pass, 2 / 8 / 1 rush)
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.
2013 Week 18 vs PHI (20 / 30 / 250 / 1 / 2 pass, 5 / 13 / 0 rush)
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.
2013 Week 19 vs SEA (24 / 43 / 309 / 1 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
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.
2012 Week 1 vs WAS (24 / 52 / 339 / 3 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
The box score reveals Brees threw for three-hundred and thirty-nine yards and two touchdowns, but for his home debut, backed by a raucous New Orleans crowd, the single-season passing yardage record holder looked decidedly ordinary. Brees had his hands full all afternoon with a hungry Washington pass rush, which batted several of his passes down and intercepted him twice. Brees threw, threw, and threw against the Redskins - to the tune of fifty-two pass attempts, for a completion rate of less than fifty percent, his lowest since 2006. The Saints' offensive line failed to keep the pocket clean for Brees on Sunday, forcing him to throw several passes to the sideline, the turf, and led him to be sacked twice. The Saints' offense, whether due to Washington pressure or mental fatigue, simply had trouble clicking against the Redskins. Driving towards the Washington end zone before the half, Brees was unprepared for the snap and had to check it down to Jimmy Graham. He threw an incomplete pass to Devery Henderson in which Henderson was triple-covered. Brees missed another certain touchdown from Marques Colston when Colston had the ball batted from his hands in the end zone, resulting in a touchback for the Redskins. New Orleans did not find its rhythm until late in the fourth quarter, down fifteen, when Brees drove the Saints downfield twice, once setting up a Lance Moore touchdown, and then another Sproles touchdown right before the two-minute warning. Brees did throw two interceptions in the game, one a Hail Mary pass that Reid Doughty lucked into as time expired and the other a heave by Brees right into the arms of DeSean Gomes, who returned it for forty-nine yards to set up a Washington touchdown. Missing his trademark accuracy and playing from behind most of the game, Brees still found opportunities to exhibit why he is one of the league's greatest quarterbacks. In the first quarter, he threaded the needle to Jimmy Graham for a twenty-yard touchdown. He showcased a tremendous amount of patience in letting Lance Moore's wheel route on fourth-and-ten develop in hitting him for a thirty-three yard touchdown. The veteran signal caller remained in control throughout the game, and even with the Saints down by double-digits, Brees remained icily cool as he drove New Orleans downfield, giving the impression that the Saints were never truly out of it.
2012 Week 2 vs CAR (31 / 49 / 325 / 1 / 2 pass, 2 / 0 / 1 rush)
Brees played a topsy-turvy game on the wet turf in Carolina on Sunday. The Saints, perhaps in response to their pass-heavy loss to the Redskins last week, adopted a rather predictable, run-first approach. The Saints committed to the run early, especially on first down. Brees' drops were kept to three and five-step and the game plan early on - that of attacking the Panthers' zone defense underneath - was executed well by Brees. As the game wore on and the Saints were forced into comeback mode, however, the pressure started to get to Brees. The Panthers' front four hurried him all day long. In the first quarter, he threw an uncharacteristic interception for his usually high level of play. The pass was intended for Jimmy Graham, but the underneath coverage was sound and the pass was picked off and returned for a touchdown. Brees' first drive ended with an easy pitch and catch touchdown to Jimmy Graham, who was untouched at the line of scrimmage. Despite having his leg bent awkwardly underneath him in the third quarter, he returned to the game and added a rushing touchdown late on when he reached the ball out over the plane of the goal line. It seemed as if Brees had the shackles put on him in this game and he was never able to open up the offense down the field, so perhaps the Devery Henderson absence was felt.
2012 Week 3 vs KC (20 / 36 / 240 / 3 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Brees started the day off as hot as quarterback can get and finished it equally cold. The difference wasn't so much in what Brees himself did but the help he received from his receivers and offensive line. On the Saints opening drive Brees completed three of four passes for 36 yards including a strike to Lance Moore for a touchdown. Even his incompletion was perfectly placed, just dropped by Marques Colston. On the second drive he showed great patience waiting for Devery Henderson to get behind the defense before throwing a beautifully thrown ball for a 36 yard gain. After a 17 yard connection with Moore it looked like Brees and the Saints were going to pick the Chiefs apart, but that's when the Chiefs turned up the pressure and the Saints attack began to stumble. It was more than a quarter before a pass was completed to anyone other than a running back, although Brees did a nice job of taking what the defense was giving him. The Saints last possession of the half ended with Brees being sacked and it was a sign of more things to come. Short fields presented by the Saints defense led a pair of short touchdown passes from Brees, both easy throws to the flat to open targets. The first went on a pick play to Jimmy Graham from the one yard line and the second on a little flare to seldom used full back Jed Collins. The touchdown pass to Collins would be the last Saints score with 5:41 to go in the third quarter. Two minutes later a well thrown 34 yard completion to Lance Moore would be Brees' last completion. That drive ended after an interception which was a result of poor decision making and a worse throw form Brees. He underthrew Devery Henderson who was not open down the left sideline and Stanford Routt made the pick. Brees would go 0-5 while taking two sacks over the final 24 minutes of game action. In fairness to him that included three drops, terrible protection and an aggressive Chiefs defense.
2012 Week 4 vs GB (35 / 54 / 446 / 3 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees tallied up a line of 446 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Like Rodgers, he clicked with various different receivers, though they were the usual suspects in Colston, Moore, Graham and Sproles. Part of his big day was because he attempted a whopping 54 passes (he hadn't attempted that many passes in a regular season game since October 2010). The pass protection was decent for the most part with a few miscues here and there, as Brees was sacked just twice on the day against a solid Green Bay pass rush. Brees' first touchdown pass was a 20 yard toss to Marques Colston that frankly shouldn't have been a touchdown. Colston pushed off on his defender fairly clearly to nab the score, yet the officials didn't call anything, which I'm sure had Green Bay fans experiencing all sorts of nausea and deja vu. Brees' second touchdown was a fairly 'garden variety' toss to Darren Sproles for 6 yards. Sproles was in the backfield, had a mismatch, badabing-badaboom. The last touchdown of the day for the Saints was an 80 yard play action beauty to Joseph Morgan. It was a well disguised play, as the Saints lined up with 1 WR, 2 TE and 1 FB, indicating run all the way. The ball was actually underthrown, but Morgan made a good adjustment and warded off a couple tacklers to scoot in for the score. The good comes with the bad, however, as Brees had 2 or 3 passes that should have been picked. One was off a tip, but one in particular would have been a death knell for the Saints had Tramon Williams and Morgan Burnett not run into each other. It's also worth noting how pass heavy the Saints are in the redzone and near the goal line. This is a boon to Brees owners, but may actually be a detriment to the Saints in real life.
2012 Week 5 vs SD (29 / 45 / 370 / 4 / 1 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees will remember this as his record-breaking day, but his success was largely a result of excellent pass protection and the sheer domination of Marques Colston. Even though the Saints couldn't establish the run to allow Brees to throw off of play-action, the Chargers had no answer for his weapons on the outside and rarely got to Brees outside of their five sacks. Fittingly, Brees' pocket presence and intelligence was shown off on his record-breaking touchdown to Robert Meachem. Brees has made a living off of the type of play he made for that pass. He felt the pressure in the pocket to step up, while keeping his eyes downfield before pump faking the out to Meachem and then delivering a pinpoint pass to the receiver in stride. Brees' ability to adjust his feet and keep his weight underneath him at all times was vital to the success of the play. Brees showed off his famous accuracy and intelligence on three relatively simple touchdown passes to Marques Colston also but had some nervous moments also. On the first drive of the third quarter, Brees had to step up into the pocket to avoid pressure before throwing a pass to Meachem wide open in the left flat. Brees missed Meachem however as he threw the ball behind his receiver. Meachem tipped the ball with an extended hand before it lofted into the hands of a defender. It was an inexcusably bad throw from Brees. He was then nearly intercepted when he threw a pass to Colston deep on a seam route with two defenders in position to catch the football ahead of the receiver. Brees never saw Marcus Gilchrist waiting on the route. Brees' worst throw of the day was negated by a penalty for roughing the passer, but that penalty was commited after the throw was made and completed to the defender. Brees either mixed up the route with his receiver or simply made a terrible play off his back foot. He threw the ball directly to Demorrio Williams with no receiver in sight. Brees was let off because of the penalty, but it proved to be a pivotal play and a mistake he was saved from with indiscipline from a rookie pass rusher eager to make an impression.
2012 Week 7 vs TB (27 / 37 / 377 / 4 / 1 pass, 1 / 1 / 0 rush)
Brees had a pretty routine Drew Brees day at the office in Tampa Bay. His only interception of the day came on a tipped pass when it was impossible to blame him. His first touchdown pass was a very impressive play design that made his job easy. The Buccaneers were in zone coverage while the Saints had one receiver to the left, two to the right with a tight end and running back also on the field. Colston ran a shallow crossing route underneath the defense while the two receivers on the far side ran deep across the field to take away the coverage and give him plenty of space. Colston caught an easy pass from Brees before easily running it into the endzone. Brees' second touchdown pass looked as easy as his first, but at least this time he was forced to manipulate the coverage with pump fakes before dropping it off to a wide open Darren Sproles. Sproles caught the ball eight yards from the goalline but ran it in with ease. Brees was finally made to work for his third touchdown...well, kind of. Near midfield, Brees had just completed a big pass over the middle to Lance Moore. He then faked the run to Pierre Thomas, before rifling the ball down the right sideline to a wide open Josh Morgan. Brees actually underthrew Morgan slightly after pump faking. Still, the pass was good enough to reach the receiver who beat two defenders before getting into the endzone. A well orchestrated touchdown drive during the two minutes before half-time, culminated in another relatively easy touchdown pass to tight end David Thomas. That also meant Brees had over 300 yards in the first half. He was somewhat stifled in the second half, but his lack of production was largely a result of the Buccaneers holding possession and the Saints looking to run the ball more.
2012 Week 8 vs DEN (22 / 42 / 213 / 2 / 1 pass, 2 / 2 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees had a very inconsistent game. Outside of some early pressure from the Broncos defensive line, he was largely comfortable in the pocket but couldn't develop much rhythm with his receivers. Brees still threw a touchdown pass early, the 300th of his career. When the Broncos' defensive line was closing in, Brees stood tall(well, you know what I mean) in the pocket and hit Darren Sproles running a slant outside. Sproles carried the ball forward beating defenders to get into the endzone. While that was the big positive in the first half, Brees couldn't carry that momentum as he threw an interception to Wesley Woodward on fourth down at midfield soon after. Brees was trying to hit Jimmy Graham who was double covered and never seemed to consider Woodward. Graham was at least third or fourth in Brees' progression as his head spun from side to side. When he let the ball go he wasn't under pressure and could potentially have run for the first down. Although Graham would likely have caught the football, Woodward made an athletic catch to take him out of the equation. It was a rushed throw from Brees. Very unlike the Saints' offense, there was a lack of urgency in the group all through the game that ultimately allowed the Denver Broncos defense to stay on top of them.
2012 Week 9 vs PHI (21 / 27 / 239 / 2 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
After last week's erratic performance in Denver, Brees orchestrated a balanced, efficient offensive attack against a vulnerable Philadelphia defense. When he wasn't feeding his three-headed running back monster, Brees picked apart the very overrated Philadelphia secondary. During his team's third drive, Brees utilized his ground game to set-up the play action pass. Brees found a rejuvenated Jimmy Graham down the left sideline for a 20-yard gain. After two strong red zone runs, Brees found Marques Colston dragging across the back of the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown strike. Thanks to some strong defensive play and inside running, Brees accumulated just 104 first half passing yards on nine completions as the Saints took an 18-point lead into halftime. After halftime, Brees took his first possession and led the Saints back into the red zone. Brees completed five of his six pass attempts for 68 yards. However, Brees uncharacteristically fumbled the ball away on a 1st-and-Goal play from the Philadelphia 9-yard line. Brees was waiting for Marques Colston to get open in the back of the end zone, but held onto the ball for too long and was sacked. Brees would atone for his mistake during his next drive. On a 3rd-and-7 play at midfield, Brees found Lance Moore down the seam for a 23-yard gain. Brees continued to methodically work his way down the field, finding his running backs on wheel routes and his receivers on intermediate routes. The drive resulted in a short, six yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham. This scoring drive gave New Orleans a 28-13, fourth quarter advantage. Despite not filling up the box score with a lofty passing total, Brees was in complete control of the game and had no problem finding his receivers in big spots.
2012 Week 10 vs ATL (21 / 32 / 298 / 3 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
The Saints went as run-heavy as they have all season, a near-even run-to-pass ratio. The result was an unspectacular, but efficient outing from one of the league's best in Drew Brees. Brees completed twenty-one of his thirty-two pass attempts - the Saints ran the ball twenty-nine times - for two hundred and ninety-eight yards through the air. The Saints' signal caller actually started off the day on a sour note, getting intercepted by Falcons cornerback Asante Samuel on his first pass attempt of the game. Credit goes to Samuel for making an excellent read on Brees and getting in front of Saints receiver Marques Colston to intercept the pass, which eventually led to a Falcons touchdown a few minutes later. With a game plan focused on max protection that included multiple tight end sets and an occasional extra offensive lineman, Brees had all day to throw against the Falcons. The Saints' reliance on the run game allowed Brees to sell the play-action pass incredibly effectively, faking the handoff only to hit Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, and Lance Moore down the field. The passing attack led by Brees was brutally efficient, attempting over nine yards per pass and completing over sixty-five percent of those attempts. New Orleans did not do anything particularly extravagant against the Falcons - in fact, this was, arguably, the Saints' most run-of-the-mill offensive game plan they employed in what seems like years. Most of Brees' passes were of the short-to-intermediate variety, with his big pass plays coming on a twenty-three yard pass that Lance Moore snagged with one hand while diving, and a forty-six yard go route pass that Jimmy Graham hauled in to put the Saints in the New Orleans red zone. Brees accumulated touchdowns based more on the will of his receivers to find the end zone than simply his ability to get them the ball - both Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston employed second, and sometimes third efforts in order to hit paydirt. This is not to say Brees was inaccurate, because he was incredibly so - most of his incomplete passes hit off the hands of his receivers, or the quarterback threw the ball into the ground to avoid a sack. What viewers saw on Sunday against the Falcons was vintage Drew Brees in a game where the Saints actually asked him to do less rather than more. Being down 10-0 early in the first quarter might have some teams hitting the panic button, but interim head coach Joe Vitt stuck with a balanced run-to-pass ratio that allowed Brees to use play-action to move the ball down the field with ease. With the Saints using max protection more often than usual, Brees had plenty of time to cycle through his reads and select the right receiver for the play. It remains to be seen whether the Saints, being one of the league's most pass-happy teams, will continue to employ a more balanced playcalling ratio, but it certainly allowed Drew Brees the time to slice apart the Falcons secondary - in a number of pass attempts one might call "limited" for him - to the tune of a 31-27 Saints victory.
2012 Week 11 vs OAK (20 / 27 / 219 / 3 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Always consistent, Drew Brees and the Saints' offense was super efficient on Sunday, scoring points on half of their drives despite taking their foot off the gas after only three quarters. Like he often does, Brees asserted early control on the first drive, opening with a much too easy out to a wide open Marques Colston for 14 yards. Brees just missed a TD on his next throw as Darren Sproles fill in Travaris Cadet was left uncovered on a wheel route out of the backfield. Brees badly underthrew the streaking Cadet, with pass coming up short, as Cadet was unable to make the catch. Not to be deterred Brees and Cadet connected on the next play on a swing route, with Cadet catching the ball in the flat and turning up field for 17 yards. Brees dumped the ball to Pierre Thomas on a quick out, with Thomas coming up just short of the end zone. As they Brees likes to do inside the five, he play faked on the following play and TE Jimmy Graham slipped off the line untouched and was wide open in the back of the end zone for the one-yard TD catch. Brees and the offense had a rare three and out the following drive, with the lone throw falling incomplete to Lance Moore as Brees was blasted by Phillip Wheeler just as he released the ball. Brees booted right to open the following drive, finding Jed Collins in the flat uncovered for the 11-yard gain. Working the play fake again two plays later, Brees had an eternity in the pocket before he slipped outside and hit Graham who had broken off his route to come back and help his scrambling for nine yards. Brees tried to catch the Raiders off guard with a quick screen to Devery Henderson, but the play was easily defended, picking up only three yards. With safety Michael Huff locked into single coverage with Colston, Brees tried to take advantage of the matchup, but Huff was able to ride Colston step-for-step, getting his hands up late to knock the pass away and force another New Orleans punt. Following an Oakland score, Brees fired the offense back up on the following drive needing only eight plays to go 82 yards for a TD. Colston found a pocket in the zone coverage on the first throw, picking up a too easy 24 yards. Brees just missed connecting with Joe Morgan two plays later on a deep post off play action, slightly overthrowing Morgan on the potential 51-yard TD pass. Brees needed some help on his next throw, as it sailed just a bit, but Colston made a tremendous catch elevating and securing the toss just before safety Matt Giordano delivered a shot. The pass went for 17 yards, but more importantly kept the drive going as it came on 3rd down. After an intentional grounding penalty set the Saints back, Brees cared very little, patiently waiting for Lance Moore to get behind the coverage and throwing a strike to the WR for a 38-yard TD. The throw was pretty, with just the right amount of touch to sail the coverage but not drive Moore out of bounds. After two drives that saw only two passes from Brees (both to Graham for a total of nine yards), Brees drove the nail in the coffin on the third drive out of halftime. Working the same swing pass to Cadet to opposite side, the two connected for eight yards. After three consecutive runs, Brees went play action on the fourth, as Moore again was able to get behind the coverage. Brees delivered another perfect pass, over the underneath coverage and away from the crashing safety for a 15-yard TD pass. With a 35-10 lead, Brees and the passing offense took a back seat to a bruising running game to finish the game off. However, Brees nearly did throw an INT on a screen pass late in the game as DT Desmond Bryant read the play perfectly, but was unable to make the play as the pass went right through his hands. An unfortunate mismatch, Brees only threw when he had to, but did so with great efficiency with no turnovers and no sacks.
2012 Week 12 vs SF (26 / 41 / 267 / 3 / 2 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Standing behind a make-shift offensive line, Brees made the most of the time he was given. New Orleans ran a number of quick throws to negate the pass rush and on many of these plays Brees was able to get the ball out accurately. The spot-on timing between Brees and his receivers was apparent, as the ball often was thrown before receivers had even made their breaks. Even on deep balls, Brees was often able to put the ball in a location where the receiver was able to make a play, such as his long throws to Joseph Morgan or Lance Moore. Brees' touchdown pass to Colston was one such play, as the quarterback took only a few seconds to look and throw a great ball to a spot where only Colston was able to get it. The large wide receiver made a great play on the high pass, twisting and leaping to catch the ball. New Orleans' use of the running game early also helped Brees, as his play-action passes usually sprung a man open, and Brees was able to move through his progressions quickly and find the open target. On the first touchdown throw, Brees ran the play-action and David Thomas slipped behind the pass rusher. Brees was able to throw and accurate pass to the open tight end, who was able to run the short distance for a touchdown. Brees' touchdown pass to Jed Collins was similar, as Brees executed the play-action pass that sprung Collins loose behind the pass rush, and again Brees was able to throw an accurate ball while pressured, and Collins was able to dive in for a touchdown. But even with the three touchdown throws, Brees did not have his finest game. His offensive line struggled more and more as the game progressed, and with the loss of the back-up right tackle in the second quarter, Brees suffered from a lack of protection. Though quick throws were successful, as the game went on and New Orleans fell behind Brees began to run more long passing plays and the pass rush was able to get to him. When Brees wasn't sacked he was often under heavy pressure and hit. This pressure forced Brees in to making decisions quicker than he would have liked, and twice Brees made poor decisions that resulted in pick-sixes. On his first interception, Brees had locked on to Jimmy Graham and Ahmad Brooks read the quarterback's eyes. Slipping beneath Graham's route, Brooks was able to easily pick off the throw and run the rest of the short field for a defensive touchdown. Brees' next interception was less of an issue of locking on and more of an issue of throwing in to double coverage. When Brees threw a touchdown to Colston, the quarterback put the ball high enough where Colston was able to make a leaping grab. However, there was no safety sprinting towards Colston in the end zone. This was the case on the second interception, as Brees threw another high ball for Colston to leap and catch, but the safety took out Colston's legs and the receiver landed on his head as the ball drifted in to Donte Whitner's hands for another pick-six. With New Orleans down 28-14 by the second interception, New Orleans was forced to abandon the run game and lean on longer throws, which put Brees under even more duress as the pass rush was able to tee off and not worry about the running game.
2012 Week 13 vs ATL (28 / 50 / 341 / 0 / 5 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees threw an interception on the Saints' first drive of the game as he tried to hit Marques Coltson on a deep post route behind the Falcons' safeties. Brees either never saw Thomas DeCoud coming across the field, or simply underthrew the pass to Colston who was wide open in the endzone. Many won't blame for his second interception, as the ball did hit Chris Ivory, but Brees rocketed the pass behind his head on a checkdown into the flat. He may have been trying to throw it away as he saw Sean Weatherspoon arriving late, but regardless, it was a poor throw and a pivotal interception for the linebacker. Brees didn't let it play on his mind as he made excellent throw after excellent throw to convert what were often long third downs. Before the end of the first half however, poor clock management cost them a chance at any points in the redzone. After the half, Brees marched his team down the field in expert fashion again, but Lance Moore dropped a wide open reception in the endzone, before the Falcons stopped Pierre Thomas in space to force the field goals. Having led the Saints on two field goal drives in the third quarter, Brees threw across his body running out of the pocket straight into the chest of William Moore. Brees wasn't focused and was too relaxed throwing the football. It was a simple read as the Falcons sat in zone coverage across the field. Dare I say, it was a rookie mistake from a veteran. Brees' fourth interception came when he was trying to throw the ball away under pressure and it went straight into Jonathan Babineaux's belly. That interception cost the Saints any chance of a dramatic comeback and ended Brees' record for consecutive games with a touchdown. Brees' touchdown streak was given life when Michael Turner fumbled the football late on, before Brees threw an interception to Corey Peters that was negated for offsides. All that did was change the number of the intercepting player, as William Moore caught a deep pass on the very next play after the negated Peters interception.
2012 Week 14 vs NYG (26 / 43 / 354 / 1 / 2 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees looked frustrated on Sunday as he was left to win the entire game by himself with little help from his teammates. Brees struggled with turnovers and lead too many drives that stalled in the redzone and the Saints ended up kicking field goals. Brees almost connected with Henderson deep for a long touchdown but an excellent pass break up by CB Webster saved the TD. Brees was picked off as he forced a high pass to TE Graham that got tipped and fell into the lap of a NYG DB. Brees was able to connect well with WR Morgan, who caught two passes deep down the field which helped change the Saints field position greatly. Brees used RB Sproles well for a touchdown play, hitting the quick RB in the flat and watched as he scampered into the endzone for the score. However Brees then threw a costly interception to NYG DB Browne in the redzone, throwing late and too far in front of TE Graham. Brees then had to fight against very wet conditions in the fourth quarter and this killed off any chance at a Saints comeback. Brees then finished the game with some completions/yards in garbage time. His struggle with turnovers continued but he was getting no help from his defense and special teams, though his running game was an honourable mention.
2012 Week 15 vs TB (26 / 39 / 307 / 4 / 0 pass, 1 / 11 / 0 rush)
There is no better cure for a case of the production ills than the league's worst passing defense. After struggling for three consecutive weeks, Drew Brees finally got some reprieve on Sunday in the form of Tampa Bay's passing defense. Firing right out of the gate, Brees had the Saints at midfield in two plays; a quick 12-yard strike to Jimmy Graham followed by another 13-yard hit to Marques Colston. Going back to work two plays later, Brees faked the toss right and booted left, connecting with an uncovered David Thomas for 12 yards. Brees and Pierre Thomas worked the screen game on the following play, picking up 20 yards down to the Buccaneer 12-yard line. A perfect cap to the way too easy drive, Brees found Thomas again two plays later for a nine-yard TD over the middle. The offense went three and out on their next drive, but really a poor drop from Sproles on 3rd down prevented what could have been a huge play. Brees read the coverage perfectly, with Sproles isolated in man coverage against a LB, but the RB was unable to bring the short toss in. Had the pass been completed, the middle of the field was barren and could very well have gone for an 83-yard TD pass. Brees went back to work on the third drive, opening with a short swing to Sproles for two yards before following it up with a 15-yard completion to Graham over the middle. Brees hit Sproles on another short toss before working play action two plays later and finding Colston over the middle for 26 yards. A 12-yard slant to Lance Moore took the offense inside the Tampa ten-yard line, but the offense stalled and had to settle for a rare red zone FG. Brees had two rare misses on the following drive to send the Saints to their second three and out in four drives. The offense bounced back, however, as Brees had his best throw of the game on the drive's first completion. Facing a 3rd and 11 and pressure in his lap, Brees blindly threw to Colston (who had yet to get out of his break) for a 21-yard completion. Clearly in rhythm, Brees threw three straight completions to finish the drive off, bookended by a pretty 16-yard strike to Moore and a two-yard TD pass to Sproles. Brees missed all four throws on the following drive, but like he had done all day, made up for the punt with one more TD drive just before half. Brees opened the drive with a short eight-yard hit to Graham before absolutely getting his TE destroyed on the following play. A deep shot down the seam, Brees' throw was high and S Mark Barron blasted an over extended Graham to ensure the incompletion. Brees went right back to Graham after a time out, again down the seam and this time Graham made a tremendous catch to get the Saints down inside the Tampa ten. Brees eyes looked right before coming back to Moore on the left who was hitched just beyond the goal line for the seven-yard TD pass. Just as they had done in the first half, the Saints went right through the Tampa defense on their opening drive of the 2nd half with little resistance. After five consecutive drives, Brees hit Graham on a short 10-yard crosser. Two plays later, Brees had his longest (and easiest) completion of the game, a 34-yard TD pass to Joe Morgan. With Morgan easily beyond the coverage, Brees merely had to put the ball on Morgan for the TD. Up 31 and cruising, Brees spent the rest of the game killing the clock before being replaced by Chase Daniel on the Saints' final drive.
2012 Week 16 vs DAL (37 / 53 / 446 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees operated like a man on a mission today, pouring on the yardage, touchdowns and completion percentage. Brees also kept his day turnover free, as did the rest of the Saints offense. Brees did experience some pressure here and there from the Cowboys pass rush, but the Cowboys secondary played absolutely atrociously and allowed Brees to carve them up all day long, specifically in the middle of the field. Brees often found running backs and tight ends open at will down the middle, and many of these completions found the receiver with no defender within 8 to 10 yards. Brees's first touchdown of the day was a 6 yard play to Lance Moore. Moore juked his defensive back with a nice double move then leaped into the endzone. The second touchdown pass of the day was a 5 yarder to Pierre Thomas from the shotgun. Thomas faked like he was going to pass protect, then leaked out to the middle of the field where no one covered him. The final Brees touchdown pass of the day was a 3 yarder to David Thomas. Brees went play action and no one covered Thomas. Simple play, easy execution. Brees did have 3 passes that were nearly picked off and probably should have been, but again, with the way the Dallas secondary and linebackers were playing, it's no wonder he was able to be successful.
2012 Week 17 vs CAR (29 / 43 / 396 / 4 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees' surpassed the 40-touchdown pass mark in consecutive seasons in this game with a typically solid display. With the rushing attack being stymied for the most part by a stubborn Panthers' defense, Brees had to work his magic in the pocket and find his targets downfield. He did this with the utmost precision and timing, locating Jimmy Graham on seam patterns and threading the needle to Marques Colston as he wreaked havoc from the slot. Brees' first read was often taken away as the Panthers played predominantly two-deep concepts defensively to take away the deep pass. Brees was not bothered, simply taking the short to intermediate passes. His first touchdown pass came on a fourth-down red zone opportunity, finding Marques Colston on a quick out pattern from the slot. Adding his second touchdown pass not long after, Brees delivered a quick pass to TE Jimmy Graham, who got inside leverage on his defender and did the rest. The pass rush bore down on Brees more and more as the game wore on, but he managed to keep his cool. Only on one occasion did he force a pass into coverage, and that resulted in his lone interception. The pass was thrown into an area with three Panthers defenders lurking, and it was easily picked off. With the game out of hand in the fourth quarter for the Saints, Brees' remaining completions were forced short and he managed to matriculate the ball down the field late on for a pair of touchdowns, the first to Marques Colston on a seam route and the second on a screen pass to the fleet-footed Darren Sproles, who sprang loose down the left sideline. Brees capped off another spectacular season with a very respectable outing.
2011 Week 1 vs GB (32 / 49 / 419 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / 3 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees started the new season with an all-around accomplished display at Lambeau Field despite having to play from behind throughout the game. The Packers defensive front stifled him often, so Brees had to be mobile in the pocket and at times he made some risky throws into tight windows, especially between the hashes in the short to intermediate range. The Packers secondary maintained a high level of play throughout the game, meaning Brees often had to settle for check down patterns to Sproles. The coverage of the home team was so tight on one particular play that Brees panicked and took a sack which backed the offense up at least ten yards. Brees' decision making overall was sound and he showed good accuracy on most of his completions. The Packers defense mixed up their pre-snap alignments, but the cerebral passer was able to decipher the code more often than not. Off play action in the first quarter, Brees attracted FS Nick Collins to the line of scrimmage and took advantage of his over aggressiveness, tossing a touchdown pass - albeit slightly inaccurately - to WR Robert Meachem on a post route. Brees recognised the error instantly and capitalised. With the Saints in need of some plays from their leader, Brees executed a beautiful pump and go with WR Devery Henderson for a score in the third quarter. The cornerback stopped his feet and was unable to regain momentum to catch up with the wide out, who trotted in untouched. In the two minute drill, Brees was clinical in his approach. He completed a phenomenal pass to WR Marques Colston down the seam with trail coverage from CB Charles Woodson and coverage over the top from a safety, threading the needle to find his man. On a well-designed red zone play, Brees faked a backside smoke route, then faked a draw, only then to throw right to a wide open Jimmy Graham. The play confused the Packers safeties, who were out of position.
2011 Week 2 vs CHI (26 / 37 / 270 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
He certainly was slowed down some by the Bears vs what he saw in Green Bay the week previously. Drew is excellent working the short game and just when the Bears thought they could bottle him up he would hit a long pass play to Henderson or later n Jimmy Graham. Brees was calm even when the defense was bearing down on him. He never made a critical mistake the entire afternoon which is difficult against the Bears. Brees certainly was not dazzling by any means but he was very efficient. He never looked rattled and he seemed to know exactly who to throw the football to. It's difficult to get excited about dump offs, screens, and short out routes but just when you think there isn't much to his game he will dial up some stretch play on the defense. With Colston out, Moore still not 100%, it's difficult to say how limited he is in this offense right now. The offense did not have an outstanding day but the again the Bears had shut down Atlanta pretty good the week before so it's not surprising that Brees and the Saints had to earn every yard in this game.
2011 Week 3 vs HOU (31 / 44 / 370 / 3 / 2 pass, 4 / -1 / 0 rush)
n a game where the Saints were not able to mount a consistent rushing game, Brees arm was called on to carry the team. While trailing in the fourth quarter especially, nearly every play was a passing play until the final two minutes. Brees had good protection for much of the day, but threw an interception on one play the pocket broken down. His second interception was a miscommunication between he and Jimmy Graham, who didn't break off his route where Brees expected. Brees worked the pocket well and made good use of pump fakes. Late in the game he looked to Lance Moore heavily. The Saints pass blocking was especially strong down the stretch.
2011 Week 4 vs JAX (31 / 44 / 351 / 1 / 2 pass, 3 / 10 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees had a somewhat average fantasy day that was let down by some key turnovers. The Saints somewhat strive to have a balanced offense but often end up throwing almost twice as much as they pass even against a Jacksonville offense that only put up 10 points all game. Brees was accurate from the pocket, decisive and the Saints relied on their QB to pick up first downs. Brees relied heavily on TE Graham and RB Sproles to make plays for him however. He targeted Sproles on many third downs as a security blanket out of the backfield which was a successful strategy and hit Graham down the middle of the field for big plays when the defense looked vulnerable. Brees showed a lapse in vision as he attempted to get the ball to Sproles but failed to see the JAX LB who made an easy interception. He had a tipped pass easily go into the hands of a Jaguar defender for his second interception and could have been picked a third time in the redzone but another Jaguar could not hold onto the pass. Brees played a lot of short ball and although had some mistakes, really kept the Saints on the field and made some big plays with TE Graham which was enough to win this game handily.
2011 Week 5 vs CAR (32 / 45 / 359 / 2 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees summed up the word 'surgical' with his performance against the Panthers on Sunday. Brees ran the offense with a precision that only the elite quarterbacks in this league can execute. He was accurate, on time and in synch with his receivers. When he thought the Panthers defense were off kilter, he went to the hurry-up and took advantage of their sloppiness. Brees connected with favourite target Jimmy Graham on several occasions, showing the great chemistry that exists between them. His play in the pocket was tremendous - when he felt the pressure he would make a subtle slide to buy himself an extra second. His first touchdown pass was a quick hitter in the flat to FB Jed Collins off play action - a simple completion for Brees. His second touchdown pass to Pierre Thomas was the game-clinching score and took his total for game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime to eighteen for his career in New Orleans. Brees' one mistake of the day was an interception on a pass that was intended for Jimmy Graham. Brees saw that Graham was covered underneath and over the top and so he tried to throw the pass high for Graham to go up and get it. Unfortunately the pass was slightly out of his reach. It was tipped by Graham and intercepted. Brees played a sublime game overall and showed why he is considered one of the elite players in the league, not just at quarterback.
2011 Week 6 vs TB (29 / 45 / 383 / 1 / 3 pass, 3 / 21 / 0 rush)
It's tough to gauge how much head coach Sean Payton being knocked out of Sunday's football game with a torn MCL and a broken kneecap did for the offense and Brees. On the surface you see that he completed ⅔ of his passes and think he must have been accurate. However he missed badly on some throws and several more of them could have been picked off on Sunday which made Quinton Black's interception in the end zone towards the end of the game quite fitting. Brees does all the little things though that you wish other QBs would do such as constantly looking at still shots of the defense form the sidelines; he is a professional in every sense of the word. After he found Colston wide open streaking to the end zone he started going 3 and out quite a bit the rest of the 1st half. 2 passes he threw early on could have been intercepted but it took a Robert Meachem tipped ball to the waiting hand of Tanard Jackson to create the 1st interception of the day. The 2nd interception by Biggers was a poorly under thrown pass. The final interception could have been avoided if he had looked and found Meachem who drifted out the backside and was wide open in the end zone but instead he forced it into coverage and it was picked off. Bress didn't prevent the Saints from winning the game but it was not his best performance of the year and he made a lot of yards connecting on short plays where his receivers racked up yards after the catch. 1 TD vs 3 Int is not a typical day from Brees but keep in mind this was New Orleans' 3rd game in a row on the road in 3 weeks.
2011 Week 7 vs IND (31 / 35 / 325 / 5 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
See the dictionary definition of child's play. That's what Drew Brees made of the Colts' defense Sunday night. It wasn't just that he completed passes to 8 different receivers or that he threw more TDs than incompletions, but his ability to effectively use all his weapons to completely out-class a proud Colts defense, racking up 557 yards of total offense without the benefit of a 100 yard rusher or receiver that made his effort so impressive. There are only 3 offenses that operate with the efficiency Brees and the Saints displayed Sunday night, and they seem to be on a collision course set for late January/early February. No RB received more than 14 carries and no receiver more than 7 targets. Instead, the Saints got 9 different players involved in the offense through the run and pass game, with Brees making most of the calls based on his pre-snap reads. Brees had one of the best days of any QB all year (despite somehow having a less than perfect QB rating), and he did it all in 3 quarters of football.
2011 Week 8 vs STL (30 / 44 / 269 / 1 / 2 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Brees clearly had a game to forget. Against a surprisingly stout Rams defense, he simply wasn't able to adjust. At the start, Brees had all the time in the world in the pocket but had trouble finding anyone open downfield. Then, when Brees found Lance Moore underneath a couple of times, the Rams brought the pressure. Brees continued to try and get the ball to his favorite targets, Colston and Graham, but the Rams simply took them out of the picture with a mixture of pressure - to the tune of six sacks on the day - and good coverage. You could say that Brees beat himself in this game; against a weak defense he tried to dictate the action again and again, and came up with the same result. The more he couldn't beat it, the more he tried to - which led to mistakes. In the second half, he forced the ball to a well-covered Devery Henderson and was easily intercepted. Then looking for Jimmy Graham, another interception, this time for a defensive score that put the game out of reach. Brees actually had one more poor throw that should have been an interception, but the defender dropped it. His Achilles heel was that he absolutely would not take what the Rams were giving him - generally the underneath options - until it was far too late to make a difference. The late touchdown drive was a valiant effort, sure, but was basically a garbage time score.
2011 Week 9 vs TB (27 / 36 / 258 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 20 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees moved into tenth all time in league history in completions, surpassing the mark of Joe Namath. Brees played a very sharp game, being smart with the football and taking what the Bucs defense presented to him. In an uncharacteristic mistake, Brees overthrew Devery Henderson on an early deep shot, but he recovered quickly. Brees showed his ability to improvise and dodge pressure several times in this game, allowing him to buy some extra time to make plays down the field. On his first touchdown pass, Brees recognised Lance Moore isolated on the outside in man coverage and audibled to a fade route to Moore. He lofted a picture perfect pass to Moore, who dutifully caught it for the score. Brees' second touchdown pass was a quick screen pass for a 21 yard score to new favourite target Darren Sproles. Brees' sole mistake of the game was a pass on a swing route intended for Sproles which was intercepted. On the play, CB Ronde Barber played peel coverage, keying on the back out of the backfield but making it appear as though he was in zone. Brees simply did not see him. Overall, Brees played a near perfect football game, typical of his home performances.
2011 Week 10 vs ATL (30 / 43 / 322 / 2 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees saw a size mismatch with his receivers and ATL's defense all game long and kept using this to his advantage. Despite having two drops early on, Brees focused a heavy amount of his targets on TE Graham. Graham was a huge thorn in ATL's defense as he dominated anyone who tried to cover him and Brees knew his guy would win almost every one on one match up. Brees also used Colston a lot over the middle of the field and to pick up many first downs. Colston has a huge frame that Brees likes to target. Colston's massive frame has a huge margin of error for slightly inaccurate passes and the two had a great connection on Sunday. Brees was throwing into tight windows all game but relied on a size advantage to squeeze the ball to his teammates. Brees scored a TD on a ridiculously easy play where Graham was completely uncovered and wide open in the end zone. Brees took a shot to Meachem deep who bailed out his QB with a terrific catch as he plucked the ball away from an ATL DB and gave his team a big touchdown. Brees took a lot of chances on Sunday when his guys had favourable match ups and simply put a lot of faith that his guy would come down with the ball on many pass plays. This worked a lot against the Falcons and he really had a big-time performance, redzone inefficiencies led to a very close game however as they kicked too many FG's.
2011 Week 12 vs NYG (24 / 38 / 363 / 4 / 0 pass, 1 / 8 / 1 rush)
Drew Brees' only worry coming into this game should have been the pass rush of the Giants. This did not show up on Monday night and he completely had his way with whatever was called by the Saints. Brees made big catches downfield look routine against a defense that offered very little resistance in pass rush, stopping the run or covering people down the field. Brees was able to find Moore on a designed short out route that allowed Moore to turn upfield for Brees' first touchdown of the game. Brees missed a wide open WR Moore earlier in the game but made up for this with a second touchdown to Moore. Brees found him in a similar play that let Moore use his quickness to split the defense and give Brees his second touchdown pass. Brees had a lot of time in the pocket at times and was able to find WR Henderson deep downfield as a result. Brees identified TE Graham on the goal line as he was facing backed - off coverage. Brees immediately took advantage of this for an easy "pitch and catch" type of TD pass that looked too easy. Brees managed to escape the Giants defense on one way where it looked like a sure sack but he turned it into a first down over the middle at the last second to RB Thomas. It got embarrassing for the NYG secondary as Brees was able to juke a NYG safety near the goal line and beat him for a rushing touchdown also. Brees then turned a short field thanks to a fumble into a quick strike touchdown pass to Graham on a deep corner route and capped off an almost perfect performance
2011 Week 13 vs DET (26 / 36 / 342 / 3 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees was once again right on target in this one, continuing his streak of touchdown throws and keeping pace to break the yardage record. Aside from his three td passes, he also threw a pass to Colston in the endzone that Colston wasn't able to catch, despite a perfect throw. The defender did get a hand up, but Colston could have snagged it. Brees connected on a long pass with Meachem and continued his great redzone work with a precision pass to Lance Moore. He opened the game focusing on Marques Colston and really played ball control in the 2nd half, getting a lot of balls to Graham and Sproles.
2011 Week 14 vs TEN (36 / 47 / 337 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / 6 / 0 rush)
Brees was his usual steady self against the Titans. While he started slowly with two drives that sputtered on the Tennessee side of the field, he eventually found his rhythm in the second half and guided the Saints to a much needed win as they fight to keep pace in the NFC. Brees's best three throws of the day came on scoring plays. On the first, he hit Jimmy Graham on a fade to the right side of the end zone despite sensational Titan coverage. The play was ruled an incompletion as Graham stepped out of bounds but the position and touch of the pass were stellar. He also hit Marques Colston for a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns. On the first, he lofted a 35 yard pass between the middle and deep seams of the defense for a score. On the next, he deftly floated a pass between two defenders as Coltson broke to the right side of the end zone on a "go" route. Brees continues to look unflappable in the pocket and his line is a doing a great job protecting him. He is in complete control of the offense and as seen against Tennessee, it is a matter of "when" not "if" when it comes to getting the offense started.
2011 Week 15 vs MIN (32 / 40 / 412 / 5 / 0 pass, 2 / 4 / 0 rush)
When you look at the Drew Brees stat line, please keep in mind that he took his last snap with 12:53 to go in the 4th quarter. Pocket presence and accuracy are his greatest strengths, and the latter was most evident in the first half, with Brees completing 15 consecutive passes. The former was best demonstrated by his late first half TD pass to RB Darren Sproles. Brees felt the pocket collapsing on the edges, so he slid subtly to his right and delivered a strike to Sproles cutting across the middle of the field for the score. Brees and the offense did have difficulty with the noise from the Metrodome crowd, resulting in a few miscues--including an errant shotgun snap before he was ready. The ball was recovered by Minnesota and led to a FG. That was about the low point for Brees and the Saints, though, as he simply took apart the Minnesota defense, completing passes to 9 different receivers at throwing TD passes to 4 different teammates--all in just over 3 quarters of play. One can only imagine the numbers Brees could have put up had the game been even a little more competitive and had he played the full 60 minutes.
2011 Week 16 vs ATL (23 / 39 / 307 / 4 / 2 pass, 1 / 9 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees entered the game only needing 305 yards to surpass Dan Marino for the single season record for passing yardage and based on the early game production it was evident that the record was going to be broken on the final Monday night football game of the season. Driving his team downfield basically on every possession Brees was forced to earn his yardage by using his legs and his uncanny ability to move in the pocket while keeping his eyes fixated down the field finding open receivers in the soft spots of the zones. Brees connected on his first touchdown of the evening with Marques Colston for an 8-yard touchdown allowing his receiver to catch the ball and turn up field and dive for the end zone. Jimmy Graham got into the mix catching a perfectly located pass where only his large frame could reach the ball for 9 yard score. The future hall of famer could've had another touchdown only to have the ball deflected from his all-pro tight end in the end zone resulting in a unorthodoxed interception. Brees did however manage to recover in the second half throwing an aggressive ball to Robert Meachem for a 24 yard score on a great play action fake causing the secondary to flinch for a moment. Brees did seem to get a little nervous the closer he got to the milestone at times appearing to let the moment get the best of him while trying to accomplish greatness. Finally with just under 3 minutes left in the game Brees found Darren Sproles for a 9 yard touchdown placing his name in the record books for passing yards in a season and for being the only quarterback to surpass the 5,000 yard barrier twice in his career.
2011 Week 17 vs CAR (28 / 35 / 389 / 5 / 1 pass, 1 / 5 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees had a simply magnificent display to end his record-breaking season. Despite rumblings that the Saints would sit him if the 49ers game got out of hand, they opted to continue to build momentum and keep him in until late in the fourth quarter. Brees surgically picked apart the Panthers defense, often relying on his big targets Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston to do the damage. His five touchdown passes do not flatter him one bit. Brees audibled pre-snap for his first passing touchdown - a strike down the seam against zone coverage to Colston. His second touchdown to Colston was a good job to taking advantage of the Panthers poor coverage. Seeing Colston one-on-one with a safety, and with plenty of time, Brees fired downfield and Colston obliged. Brees continued to tear apart everything the Panthers threw at it, adding passing scores to Jed Collins, Darren Sproles and Jimmy Graham on a beautiful seam route in the red zone. Brees should continue to thrive in this offense in 2012 and beyond.
2011 Week 18 vs DET (33 / 43 / 466 / 3 / 0 pass, 4 / -1 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees and Sean Payton had a very good offensive plan for this game and executed it extremely well. The New Orleans offense presented too many mis matches that DET could not handle and Brees exploited these all game. Brees felt the rush very well, holding the ball and allowing his WR's time to get open when he had good blocking and getting rid of the ball quickly in times of pressure. His offensive line gave him more than enough time in the pocket and the running game threat proved invaluable as he was able to utilize play action. Brees started the first quarter with a big play over the middle of the field but the Saints struggled with turnovers in the first half and this limited every Saints production. Both Colston and Brees fumbled in the first half which took potential touchdowns away and cut drives short. Brees found WR Meachem open deep down the field with a terrific pass on a go route but Meachem dropped the ball. Brees wanted the big play however and on the very next play he hit WR Henderson deep on a post route who just used his speed to blow past the safety with a well thrown strike down the middle from Brees. Brees did take some risks however and could have been picked off at least twice but DET DB's seemed unable to make the catches when they counted. On the next drive Brees found WR Colston deep on go route with a perfect over the shoulder pass that dropped right into Colston's hands. Brees then identified that TE Graham was uncovered and got him the ball straight away for the easy touchdown. Brees got some more easy numbers as the Lions let WR Meachem streak down the field without anybody covering him for another big score. Brees simply would not stop trying to hit the big play and another strike found Meachem on a go route who fell down just short of the goal line and was unfortunate not to score. Brees owes his performance in great part to his offensive line and running backs who took some of the pressure off the passing game.
2011 Week 19 vs SF (40 / 63 / 462 / 4 / 2 pass, 1 / 5 / 0 rush)
It was a roller coaster ride for Drew Brees on Saturday. He engineered the opening drive deep into San Fran territory but unfortunately Pierre Thomas coughed up the football on a vicious hit which put the brakes on things. The next drive was 3 and out as Brees was sacked on 3rd down. The final drive of the 1st quarter Brees threw an ill timed interception which set up San Fran in great territory and suddenly the Saints were down 14-0. Drew stuck with the game plan and continued to dice up the Niners defense and managed to hit Jimmy Graham for a touchdown to cut the lead to 10. Brees would have another successful drive in the 2nd quarter finding Colston on a deep route up the right sideline and Colston managed to get both feet in and knock the pilon down on his way into the end zone. Brees had the Saints in good position for the 2nd half cutting the Niners lead to 17-14 despite throwing another interception that San Fran fortunately did not cash in on. The 2nd half was slow in the 3rd quarter but Brees led the team on 2 late touchdown drives to take the lead on each of them going ahead 24-23 and then again 32-29 but both times he was let down by the defense which was unable to stop the Niners at the end of the football game. Overall he had a tremendous day but just came up a little short in the end. Brees threw for over 450 yards and 4 touchdowns, he did his job.
2010 Week 1 vs MIN (27 / 36 / 237 / 1 / 0 pass, 4 / -6 / 0 rush)
Like a maestro conducting a talented orchestra, Saints QB Drew Brees, had the New Orleans offense playing together in perfect rhythm early on in this game. It appeared that the Saints would come out and stretch the thin, depleted secondary of the Vikings all night long, and they had some success doing so early on. After the first few drives however, the symphony took a dramatic turn and resembled more of a slower paced score. The 2nd half saw a complete change in game plan, mostly comprised of Brees handing the ball off to Pierre Thomas on cut back plays. Brees hit nine different receivers with the leading receiver tallying a pedestrian 62 yards. His only TD came on a 29 yard pass to Devery Henderson in the first quarter. Robert Meachem dropped a would be 2nd TD in the 4th quarter, leaving Brees' fantasy owners disappointed in his opening performance.
2010 Week 2 vs SF (28 / 38 / 254 / 2 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Whether it was the nasty winds of Candlestick Park or excellent downfield coverage by the 49ers, the star QB ran a much more conservative game-plan on Monday night. Of course in the end it really didn't matter because when the Saints needed to move the ball late in the 4th, Brees completed multiple downfield throws to put his team in position to win. Still Brees threw a ton of check down passes, hitting his RB's & TE's for combined 19 passes. Very typical of Brees was the completions to 8 different players (including a 7 yarder to himself). Conservative but nearly flawless in his execution on this night.
2010 Week 3 vs ATL (30 / 38 / 365 / 3 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees was more or less his typical self save for one of his two interceptions being due to an uncharacteristically dumb decision. Brees was about to be sacked in the second quarter and instead of taking the sack he attempted an underhand/underthrown shovel pass right into the hands of a sidestepping Thomas DeCoud. Brees' other interception came on a deep bomb to Devery Henderson that was beautifully picked off by Brent Grimes. Other than these two mistakes Drew Brees was more or less Drew Brees, completing a ridiculous 83.3% of his passes for another-day-at-the-office 365 yards. If it weren't for Saints kicker Garrett Hartley's overtime field goal kick miss, Brees' masterful performance would have been for a winning effort. The man's accuracy is just unreal - especially when thrown deep. He either threw a laser or a rainbow and both of them were absolutely beautiful. He stayed in the pocket and remained calm and collected from the first quarter all the way to his potentially-game-winning drive in overtime. All that really needs to be said about his overall performance Sunday is that his yards-per-passing-attempt was an absolutely asinine (in a good way) 9.6. When you combine this with the fact that he went 30/38 with 365 yards... this man truly is the Picasso of quarterbacks. But he is human, which is good to see sometimes.
2010 Week 4 vs CAR (33 / 48 / 275 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Brees came out early and efficiently executed a varied gameplan that got all of his receivers and both primary running backs involved, but the first drive was rendered fruitless with Lance Moore fumbled at the goal line. He moved the offense well on the second drive, and this time Moore held on to the ball as he entered the end zone. A third drive into Carolina territory was ended by a Chris Ivory fumble, and a fourth first-half drive into Panther territory stalled out inside the 20 and only yielded a field goal. Brees was not finding open wide receivers downfield mostly because of good Panther coverage. Instead, he settled for numerous short route and checkdown targets to the tight ends, RB Ladell Betts, and WRs Lance Moore and Devery Henderson. Brees also went cold early in the second half, making uncharacteristically bad throws to let the Panthers regain momentum, but he made all the necessary plays to get the Saints in position for what would become the game-winning FG. It wasn't a performance his fantasy owners will love, but Brees did more than enough for his team to win on Sunday.
2010 Week 5 vs ARI (24 / 39 / 279 / 2 / 3 pass, 2 / 2 / 0 rush)
He played alright through the first three quarters of the football game and then he had to push things in order to try and get the Saints back in the game and that's when Brees started making mistakes. 2 of his interceptions came in the 4th quarter after the Saints fell behind 23-13. It should be noted also that John Carney missed an easy chip shot FG that would have ended up being the game tying FG and Brees likely would not have thrown the last interception which was returned for a touchdown and instead the game would have headed into overtime. The lack of a running game and a true weapon at the position is hampering the Saints and making them much easier for defenses to sit back and defend. I was looking for signs of the injury to Brees near his knee but didn't really see anything that was conclusive that he might be suffering more than we know. He moved around fins and was able to buy extra time in the pocket. His big play of the day was a 50 yard strike to Robert Meachem which almost brought the Saints all the way back. This game was not lost by Brees but rather the overall effort of the Saints and a lack of a running game.
2010 Week 6 vs TB (21 / 32 / 263 / 3 / 1 pass, 2 / 2 / 0 rush)
He was surgeon like during the 1st quarter of Sunday's game. That term gets tossed around some but Brees just tore thru the Bucs defense like swiss cheese early. He was 8 of 9 for 141 yds and 2 TDs in the 1st quarter which means his stats the rest of the way were actually pretty bland however the Saints got up early and went on long drives that ate up chunks of clock. The Bucs only had 4 drives in the 1st half. To say the Saints were efficient is an understatement. If Brees is suffering from a knee injury it certainly didn't show this past weekend. The touchdown he threw to Lance Moore on the 1st drive was an absolute rope down the sidelines, not one of those floaters that WRs run underneath; no this was a rope and it was a thing of beauty. The Bucs DB had no idea what hit him on that play. Overall a very strong effort for the Saints and FF owners.
2010 Week 7 vs CLE (37 / 56 / 356 / 2 / 4 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
356 yards and a couple TD's..Another ho-hum performance for Drew Brees, right? Wrong. Brees was horrific in this game. If you watched the first half, and had no idea who the players were, you would assume that Brees was one of the worst QB's in the league. Not only did he throw 4 int's, two of which were returned for TD's, but he threw 2 additional passes that were right in the defenders hands. There should have been SIX interceptions. And there was also one other pass that COULD have been intercepted, though it would have taken a great play. Brees was just not on the same page as any of his receivers. It also looked like his receivers weren't getting open either. Many times, Brees just stood in the pocket waiting, and then was forced to take a sack or throw it away due to the defense of the Browns. It was an incredible gameplan by the Browns. Brees was able to throw for a bunch of yards in the 2nd half, due to the prevent defense of the Browns, which definitely padded his stats. But in crunch-time, Brees and the Saints could do nothing offensively. It really seems to me that the Saints miss Reggie Bush.
2010 Week 8 vs PIT (34 / 44 / 305 / 2 / 1 pass, 3 / -2 / 0 rush)
Brees looked much better in this game than in his last outing vs Cleveland. In fact, his second half in this game was vintage Brees. He completed 20 of 22 for 191 yards in that half alone by throwing short, rhythm passes and being deadly accurate. Under siege all night, he stayed composed and ended the game as its most effective player. His only blemish was a first half throw that he rushed while being blitzed. He was looking for his slot receiver on a post but didn't see Ike Taylor - who left his receiver on the outside to undercut the throw and pick it off. It would've been a very difficult thing for any QB to see - especially throwing from his own endzone in the face of the ferocious Steelers' pass rush, but we've come to expect Brees to be safer with the ball than he's been this year. He shook it off, however, by attacking the holes in Steeler zones. Intermediate routes on the sidelines between corners and safeties seemed to work most of the second half, and having big receivers like Colston, Meachem, and Henderson certainly doesn't hurt. The touchdown to Colston was a beautiful read and perfect throw. Brees sniffed one-on-one coverage by Steelers' corner Bryant McFadden on Colston and hit him with an outside ball that only he could catch. After a huge Steelers blitz combined with Brees holding on to the ball for a second too long created a fumble, the Saints came back out on their next possession and really utilized short routes to get the ball out of Brees' hands fast and neutralize the rush. The Saints got next to nothing on the ground in this one and pretty much abandoned the run game. Brees had to win this game with his arm and his receivers. He did so and is on his way back to being his old elite self if the Saints continue the creative, quick-hitting playcalling that made them so dangerous last year.
2010 Week 9 vs CAR (27 / 43 / 253 / 2 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees had a solid game, completed the majority of his passes, and led his team to a fantastically easy victory over the hapless Carolina Panthers. But I continue to see signs that this offense is just not clicking. In the first half, they only had one real TD drive, as their first TD was after a fumble recovery. The Panthers did a really nice job attacking Brees in the first half, and forced him into some bad throws. The INT was a result of a rushed throw, and he threw another terrible pass that a defender should have intercepted. Brees just wasn't on the same page as many of his receivers for the first portion of this game. But as the game went on, Brees settled down, and begin to hit Colston and Moore and keep possession of the ball. There is a complete lack of big play ability by the Saints right now. It looks like teams are able to put more pressure on Brees now, and cover the deep portion of the field. The loss of Bush certainly plays a large part in that, as not having that safety valve certainly is changing the way that teams are attacking New Orleans. It will be interesting to see if the offense takes off when Bush returns.
2010 Week 11 vs SEA (29 / 43 / 382 / 4 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees seemed more than content early on to go with the short game: His running backs, tight ends, and slot receiver were all targeted, while the wide receivers were completely ignored. In the second quarter, he converted a third-and-long over the middle to Marques Colston, and that seemed to get Brees revved up a bit as he started looking downfield after that. His first score was a short pass to Robert Meachem, who he found in the end zone while under heavy pressure. On the first drive of the second half, he simply carved up the Seahawks zone defense, completing three consecutive medium-long passes (17, 19, and 32 yards) en route to the TD. With exception to his interceptions, he was completely in control at this point, and the Seahawks defense never really challenged him. His interception will remain a blip on the radar as he completely misread the defense and made a terrible throw to the goal line. And then, perhaps just to show that he's not perfect after all, on 3rd down, inside the ten, he tossed the ball just a bit short to Colston and they settled for the field goal. He threw another interception on the second last play of the game as he went for one more in the back of the end zone. Yes, the game was basically over, but this didn't feel like Brees and co. trying to rub it in at all. This was a team that was having fun, and for a change, why not give the fans a few more plays to watch instead of killing the clock?
2010 Week 12 vs DAL (23 / 39 / 352 / 1 / 1 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)
Brees had a typical game for the Saints, working the short and medium crossing and sideline routes while setting up the long bombs down the field that ultimately put the Cowboys away for good. Brees opened the game completing his first six passes, including two long bombs to Devery Henderson of 57 and 22 yards, setting up both short TD runs by Chris Ivory. Brees continued to spread the ball around for most of the game, working the short passing routes with Lance Moore and Jimmy Graham and then mixing it up deep with passes to Colston and Henderson. Brees could have had an even bigger day, but Colston, Henderson, Graham and Moore all dropped passes at one point or another in the game where Brees had thrown a perfect pass but they simply couldn't hang on. On his interception, Brees put a perfect pass deep over the middle to Jimmy Graham, but the ball skipped off of his hands and was intercepted. Lance Moore also dropped a pass where he was wide open, but took his eyes off the ball before he made the reception. Even Reggie Bush dropped an easy pass in the second quarter that could have been a TD because there was no one around him. However, Brees proved on the final drive of the game why he's the best QB in fantasy and one of the best in the NFL. After the turn over by Roy Williams, Brees targeted four different receivers before going over the middle to Lance Moore for the game winning TD. The Dallas secondary was completely on their heels on the drive, and by the time the Saints reached the Red Zone, they had no idea who was getting the ball.
2010 Week 13 vs CIN (24 / 29 / 313 / 2 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees started slow and found himself under pressure a lot early, but things broke loose for larger gains in the passing game starting with a long seam pass to Jimmy Graham near the end of the first half. Brees hit Robert Meachem deep twice on play action, once for a TD and once to set up the game-winning TD. He also threw to Lance Moore to set up good down and distances and keep the offense sustaining drives. He was accurate as always and only made one mistake, an overthrown deep ball to Marques Colston that was picked. Brees is playing at an elite level and his stats show it.
2010 Week 14 vs STL (25 / 40 / 221 / 3 / 2 pass, 1 / 7 / 0 rush)
Although Brees continued with his interception woes in Sunday's game, tossing two of them on the day, his three touchdown passes -- including a beautiful rainbow-bomb to Lance Moore -- ultimately overshadowed all of this. Although this hasn't been one of Brees' best years whatsoever, what is considered a poor season for him would otherwise be a stellar season for another quarterback. As such, Brees remains an every week starter at quarterback and may very well start looking like the player from the last two years as we head into the home stretch of the NFL season.
2010 Week 15 vs BAL (29 / 46 / 267 / 3 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees day wasn't quite as good as his numbers, but it wasn't entirely his fault. He was under pressure from the Ravens front seven all day and rarely got comfortable in the pocket. Brees did move around well and get in a rhythm during the two-minute drill at the end of the first half, but he wasn't able to hook up on any deep balls, and he couldn't get the team moving in the late fourth when they only needed a field goal to tie. One TD pass was off play action to Jimmy Graham, another Graham TD was on a ridiculous twisting one-handing catch. Brees third TD went to Lance Moore on a ball that seemed more like a mini-hail mary intended for Marques Colston that Moore somehow caught and got both down inbounds in the corner of the end zone. Brees was off early and also fumbled twice on third quarter drive that ended in a field goal because the Saints were able to recover both fumbles. The team never committed to the run game and put the contest on Brees shoulders, and he couldn't muster enough to overcome the Ravens in the end.
2010 Week 16 vs ATL (35 / 49 / 302 / 1 / 2 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
The Falcons came right out of the gate with a ton of blitz packages which limited Brees ability to get the ball down the field throughout the game. However, after some initial problems moving his team Brees adjusted and focused on the short and intermediate plays leading the Saints to a come from behind win on MNF. Brees was not perfect on the night, in fact he made some mistakes that nearly cost his team a victory including back to back drives where tipped balls led to INT's, one of which was returned for a TD. Brees showed his resolve by rebounded brilliantly to engineer a long clock draining TD drive culminating in his lone TD toss on the night to Jimmy Graham. On the drive Brees eluded defender after defender to complete passes. When the dust cleared on the evening he fought through a tough and consistent pass rush all night for another 300 yard effort and Saints a win.
2010 Week 17 vs TB (22 / 38 / 196 / 1 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees played the bulk of the game, only coming out after the first series in the fourth quarter. The former Super Bowl MVP looked a little off during the game which might be because he was missing his main WR, Marques Colston while Robert Meachem was well covered by Ronde Barber most of the game. The Bucs did do a good job of bringing pressure and were certainly doing everything they could to make their case to make the playoffs. Facing a charged up defense and lacking several weapons, Brees seemed to float through the game and while he always gives his best effort, you are sort of left wondering if he might have been a little less than 100% focused. He does continue to bond with rookie tight end Jimmy Graham, and hit him yet again for another touchdown late in the first quarter. Even that play was a little less than what we're used to with Brees as Graham had to reach over Barber to get the ball. Graham later left with an injury and that likely hurt Brees as well.
2010 Week 18 vs SEA (39 / 60 / 404 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / 6 / 0 rush)
With Chris Ivory and Pierre Thomas having been put on Injured Reserve earlier in the week, everyone knew that Brees would throw the ball a lot in this game. When the Saints got behind, however, the phrase "a lot" went from an estimate 45-50 attempts all the way up to 60. The combination of Coach Sean Payton and Brees are perhaps one of the only pairings who could have handled such a heavy burden on the passing game. Brees put on a clinic with his ability to scan a defense and make decisions rapidly enough to avoid pressure. Color analyst Mike Mayock repeatedly said "touchdown or check down" when referring to Brees' style, and that was spot-on analysis. Brees showed an incredible amount of patience all game long - not forcing passes deep unless they were there and using his checkdowns to supplement a running game that was half-strength at best. He fit passes in narrow areas short, intermediate, and deep. From decision-making to execution to his hurry-up offense at the end of the game, Brees was fantastic.
2009 Week 1 vs DET (26 / 34 / 358 / 6 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees had no trouble carving up the Lions' defense, spreading the ball around and taking advantages of mismatches in man coverage and holes in the Detroit zones to great success. Rarely flushed from the pocket, Brees had time to go through his progessions and wait for routes to develop downfield. Brees did try to force balls into coverage and missed a timing route or two, but his performance was nearly flawless. His lone interception came on an underthrown deep pass on a flea flicker in the first half.
2009 Week 2 vs PHI (25 / 34 / 311 / 3 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
You would think that a team without their top running back would struggle with being one dimensional. It would add weight to that argument when the same team threw for six touchdowns in the first game of the season. Couple all of that with the pass-happy QB slated to face a team that forced seven turnovers in Week 1 and it would be easy to expect a bad day for the Saints if they decided to throw often. Well, so much for that. Brees was beyond comfy in the pocket most of the day, only getting pressured on a few occasions as the Saints' line blocked well and Brees found his wideouts or Reggie Bush in plenty of space. He was in total command all day and showed that his big day against Detroit was no fluke. It would be hard to pick a QB to start over Brees while he is playing at such a high level.
2009 Week 3 vs BUF (16 / 29 / 172 / 0 / 0 pass, 6 / 8 / 0 rush)
This was a sub-par outing for Drew Brees, no question. He did just enough to keep the chains moving in the second half while letting a strong running game control the clock. Not to say he played badly; he didn't. No passing touchdowns is a rarity for this team, but also he had no interceptions. His main targets are all reliable (Bush, Colston, Shockey) but he was under pressure for most of the day and, since the ground game was basically dominating while the defense kept Buffalo off the score sheet, they didn't throw the ball as much as usual. Brees was efficient in leading his team to victory, and seemed to be just fine with the slightly different game plan. Just don't expect it to happen again too soon.
2009 Week 4 vs NYJ (20 / 32 / 190 / 0 / 0 pass, 3 / 5 / 0 rush)
For the second week in a row Drew Brees was held without a touchdown pass and managed a pedestrian 190 yards through the air. But Brees did complete 20 of 32 throws and started the game with 5 straight completions leading to a New Orleans field goal. Brees only attempted three passes of more then 10 yards, completing 2, one each to Jeremy Shockey and Devery Henderson. Brees calmly weathered the mixed-looks offered by the Jets defense, using short passes to successfully negate the pass-rush.
2009 Week 6 vs NYG (23 / 30 / 369 / 4 / 0 pass, 1 / 6 / 0 rush)
Brees had a masterful performance, that was only marred by a deep pass that Brees missed to a wide open Devery Henderson. Everything Brees did worked, he was barely under pressure all day, and his receivers kept making plays for him. His field vision, decision-making, timing, and accuracy were magnificent, and Brees kept successfully throwing the ball in the general vicinity of receivers to give them chances to make individual plays. With Lance Moore and the running game all completely healthy now, this offense looks like the early season juggernaut we saw before weeks 3 and 4 slowed down this attack.
2009 Week 7 vs MIA (22 / 38 / 298 / 1 / 3 pass, 2 / 3 / 2 rush)
Brees stood tall despite being harassed all day by unstoppable blitzes from the Dolphins. The Saints were constantly in terrible down and distance situations early, and Brees coughed the ball up twice when he got snowed under by pass rushers. He also threw an early INT on a miscommunication with Devery Henderson. The only score the Saints had until late in the first half came after a long kickoff return. Finally late in the half, Brees drove the Saints down and scored on a QB sneak on a play that could have left the Saints empty-handed if it didn't work because there was only a few seconds left in the half. The successful blitzing didn't stop in the second half, but there were more plays that the Dolphins just sent four, and Brees carved apart the 'Fins defense when he was given time. He scored on another sneak in the second half, and threw a TD to Marques Colston on a rollout play deep in Miami territory. Brees had two other interceptions on a tipped ball, and a pass at the goal line that was taken away from Colston. Colston couldn't get another possible TD that he had both hands on late in the game. Even though Brees had more turnovers than TDs, his energy and efforts helped turn the game and surge the Saints past the Dolphins in the end.
2009 Week 8 vs ATL (25 / 33 / 308 / 2 / 1 pass, 2 / 3 / 0 rush)
Brees didn't exactly have his way with the Falcons secondary, but he teamed up with his receivers to get big plays at key moments, and defeat a Falcons defense that was getting decent pressure and covering pretty well against the juggernaut Saints passing offense. Brees fumble that was returned for six came on a play with a delayed safety blitz that Brees underestimated. His interception could have been a big play, but Brent Grimes made one of the DB plays of the year with a levitating, explosive leap to pick the ball out of the air. Otherwise, Brees was putting the ball up in places for Colston, Shockey, and company to make one on one plays, and they didn't disappoint. Brees didn't dissect the Falcons as much as he just let his playmakers outplay them.
2009 Week 9 vs CAR (24 / 35 / 330 / 1 / 1 pass, 2 / 4 / 0 rush)
This was yet another game that showed us why Brees is one of the true elite QB's in the NFL and for fantasy owners. Brees shook off a slow start that saw him under heavy pressure from the Panthers D-line to lead his team another win and his 5th 300 yd game of the season. The early pressure forced a fumble on the games 2nd drive and a rare red zone INT underthrowing Colston inside the 5 yd line. Brees didn't really get into a groove until the 2nd half and then it was vintage Brees from there on out. He led his team to 3 straight scoring drives to start the 2nd half and essentially took the game over. He found more time in the pocket as the game progressed and was able to go through his progressions, often hitting his 2nd and 3rd options when needed. The Saints playmakers continue to make plays in front of him, and the offense is a well oiled machine.
2009 Week 10 vs STL (18 / 26 / 223 / 2 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
On paper this looked to be one of the juicier matchups for Brees this season, however due to a myriad of reasons (play calling, game pace, mistakes, Rams blitzing) he turned in a rather pedestrian performance in week 10. Brees looked sharp on his reads but seldom threw the ball downfield, opting instead for short and intermediate routes mixed in with a heavy dose of the Saints running attack. He turned the ball over twice in the contest, but neither were poor throws (one on a tip, the other on great coverage). Despite all of this, Brees still managed to lead the Saints to yet another win, spreading the ball to 7 different players and throwing two key TD passes on the afternoon.
2009 Week 11 vs TB (19 / 29 / 187 / 3 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees played disciplined football, taking few deep shots, but easily locating mismatches and keeping the defense off balance. Brees made a very nice TD throw on the move, using his superior field vision and accuracy to locate Robert Meachem, threading the needle just out of reach of very tight coverage by Tanard Jackson on the second one to the 2007 first-round pick. Without Reggie Bush and Lance Moore, Brees used FB/TE David Thomas to move the chains with short completions, and he also ran the two-minute drill to perfection to give the Saints a 10-point lead at halftime. The Saints were thwarted on some first-half drives because of good coverage on short third-down routes, but they were able to score on their first three drives of the second half, putting the game comfortably out of reach. Brees again showed why he is a true fantasy stud, putting up quality numbers even without an aggressive gameplan or big passing plays.
2009 Week 12 vs NE (18 / 23 / 371 / 5 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
It wasn't quite a flawless performance from Brees, but it was according to the passer rating. Brees was making outstanding decisions, moving around the pocket, and throwing with the typical hyperaccuracy we have come to expect from him. He found Devery Henderson all alone on a busted coverage, threw perfect balls to the deep middle to Colston and Meachem for TDs, and had terrific anticipation between he and his targets even when the Pats had the plays covered well. He even stared down Henderson on the first drive, or six TDs would have been his total on the night. Brees made a statement and put to rest any debate over who the better QB is in this game.
2009 Week 13 vs WAS (35 / 49 / 419 / 2 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees had lost five straight games when the temperature was 45 or less as it was for this one, so he needed some time to get warmed up. Nothing came open early in the game, so Brees settled for a lot of short targets, but the Redskins inability to get pressure on Brees soon allowed some bigger plays to come open. Brees patiently waited for Marques Colston to sneak behind the defense for a long TD to tie the game in the second quarter. In the two minute drill, Brees finally faced some blitzes, and it put the Saints in a third and very long. Under pressure, Brees put the ball up for grabs and it was picked by Kareem Moore, but Robert Meachem stripped Moore and took the ball all way for a TD on a play that should keep fantasy football commissioners scrambling for days. Brees was held in check for a lot of the second half, but he came alive hitting long sideline routes during the comeback drive, and baited LaRon Landry into biting on a short route so that he could hit Robert Meachem deep to tie the game in the last two minutes. Brees didn't have his best game, but he was given too many chances and too much time by the Redskins defense.
2009 Week 14 vs ATL (31 / 40 / 296 / 3 / 0 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Despite the scoreboard being close, Brees had his way with the Falcons defense in week 14. He picked them apart right from the start in this one. Brees was not under a lot of pressure during the game, but when he was he rolled out away from the defense to make some terrific on the run throws. His decision making was strong as usual while faced a lot of zone coverage. Brees and his receivers were quick to adjust and find the holes throughout the game. He carved up the Falcons porous secondary for 3 TD's and a season high 77.5% (31-40) completion rate. He has thrown just 1 INT in his last 4 games and he is in the midst of a very impressive stretch of efforts.
2009 Week 15 vs DAL (29 / 45 / 298 / 1 / 1 pass, 2 / 8 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees has solid numbers by the end of Week 15 but his inability to convert several scoring chances along with an interception against a Dallas Cowboy defense that was playing inspired football on Saturday night. Brees missed an open Devery Henderson for a touchdown, under throwing him in the second quarter and turning a would-be score into a turnover. Brees was under pressure often from Dallas' front seven that forced two fumbles by Brees and also accumulated four sacks as New Orleans fell from the ranks of the unbeaten. Brees racked up solid numbers by the close of the contest as he nearly led another comeback but his modest first half (12 of 19, 127 yards and an INT) put the Saints behind. Brees will likely play most of the Week 16 game against Tampa Bay in an effort to regain his early season form and end his regular season in a winning way.
2009 Week 16 vs TB (32 / 37 / 258 / 1 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees didn't have a bad game, in fact he had a string of at least 15 straight completions in the second half. He did everything he needed to for the Saints to get the last-second field goal to win. Still, Brees was only able to nibble with short passes, save for a 30 yard TD in the first half when Ronde Barber guessed wrong. He was almost picked in the third quarter, and he also took a drive-killing sack when he didn't read an LB blitz. Brees played well throughout, but he didn't land the knockout blow when the Saints opened up an early lead, and he led the Bucs feel like they could get back in this game because he was unable to lead the Saints to any scoring drives in the third quarter/early fourth.
2009 Week 19 vs ARI (23 / 32 / 247 / 3 / 0 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)
Brees threw effective short to medium passes on the first drive, and built from there. Brees was effective because he was not trying to do too much - and he consistently was given just enough room from the Cardinals defense. He showed his typical penchant for precision, lasering more than a few balls into the arms of well covered receivers. Brees moved the ball well all day, beginning with touchdowns on the Saints first 3 possessions (2 rush, 1 pass). His 44-yard flea flicker touchdown pass gave the team all the momentum they needed, and the Saints held the lead for the duration of the game. Brees' final tally of 3 TD passes was all the more impressive given the amount of time they were playing with a comfortable lead.
2009 Week 20 vs MIN (17 / 31 / 197 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees did not have the big game that many expected of him against Minnesota, but ultimately Brees did just enough for the Saints to emerge victorious from the NFC Championship Game. Brees attempted just 31 passes and accumulated modest yardage (197 yards passing), but the biggest numbers on the day were three touchdowns against zero interceptions. Brees' longest pass came on a screen to RB Pierre Thomas who broke it for a 38-yard score in the second quarter. Two short touchdowns to Devery Henderson and Reggie Bush completed the three score evening for Brees as he avoided the Minnesota pass rush and kept New Orleans from committing very many mistakes which ultimately gave New Orleans the chance to win the game. Brees took the one and only possession of overtime down the field and set up the game-winning field goal with two key short passes on the drive. Brees likely will have to top the 200-yard mark to keep pace with Peyton Manning in two weeks, but three touchdowns should be enough for any team to have a realistic chance to win the Super Bowl.
2008 Week 1 vs TB (23 / 32 / 343 / 3 / 1 pass, 3 / -2 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees showed just why he is a top fantasy option at QB, throwing for 343 yards on 23 of 32 passing and adding three touchdowns against one of the better, most physical defenses in the league. He took advantage of all of his weapons, connecting on scoring strikes to WR's David Patten and Devery Henderson as well as RB Reggie Bush. Those scoring plays came from 39, 84 and 42 yards out, respectively. The only negative for Brees for the game was his first quarter interception that Tampa Bay DB Philip Buchanon returned for Tampa Bay's first score of the game. Brees did lose a fumble, but fortunately for the Saints they were able to recover it.
2008 Week 2 vs WAS (22 / 33 / 216 / 1 / 2 pass, 1 / 9 / 0 rush)
It was not a day Drew Brees will remember fondly. In his defense, he completed an impressive 66% of his passes and neither of the 2 interceptions were his doing. The Washington defense was able to generate a sufficient pass rush to limit his time in the pocket to look down the field for big plays. Many of Brees completions were of the short variety. He was frequently checking the ball down to his RB's. It was clear that he missed injured WR Marques Colston's big body and frame to throw to. He led a drive just before the half that was ruthlessly efficient and ended up with the Saints kicking a field goal. The lone touchdown pass of the contest went to Robert Meachem when the Saints went to a four wide set.
2008 Week 3 vs DEN (39 / 48 / 421 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees put the ball in the air nearly 50 times as the Saints had to come from behind early and often, playing catch up all afternoon. He was pressured occasionally, but only sacked once. Though Brees wasn't intercepted he did have a couple hiccups in his day, a muffed exchange from center on third and goal that resulted in no points and a two point conversion pass that sailed above and just out of reach of Reggie Bush. No Marques Colston, so Brees hit nine different teammates with the most passes going to Bush, including his lone TD toss, but the most yardage to Robert Meachem, thanks to a 74 yard connection.
2008 Week 4 vs SF (23 / 35 / 363 / 3 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees did not seem to be affected by the loss of two of his main receiving weapons. He was given plenty of time to throw by his offensive line and he used that time to find receivers three times on deep passes that led to three touchdowns. Brees started slow, only connecting on five of his first thirteen throws, with an interception. The passing game began to open up in the second quarter as Brees began hitting his receivers in stride on short routes. The success in the short passing game led to openings on deep passes and Brees took full advantage by connecting with his receivers on two long touchdown passes, and almost had a third one when the receiver was tackled at the one yard line.
2008 Week 5 vs MIN (26 / 46 / 330 / 1 / 2 pass, 3 / 6 / 0 rush)
Brees was a little off balance all night, being forced to move around the pocket frequently. While he was able to do this and make some amazing throws, he was unable to lead his team to victory. He fumbled a ball which was returned for a touchdown and threw two interceptions, one of which was not his fault. He displayed his ability to fit the ball in tight windows and take advantage of the opponent, but it did not end up winning them the game as he was responsible for three turnovers.
2008 Week 6 vs OAK (26 / 30 / 320 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / 7 / 0 rush)
Brees performed laser surgery on the Raiders defense. At the end of the first half he had completed 17 of 19 passes for 196 yards and a QB rating of 109.7. Then he got hot. Brees finished the game completing 26 of 30 passes, good for three touchdowns and a QB rating of 144.4. Using multiple formations and interchangeable personnel, Brees methodically guided the Saints offense up and down the field all afternoon. In all honesty, there were times when it looked more like a scrimmage.
2008 Week 7 vs CAR (21 / 39 / 231 / 0 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees had a rough afternoon against the Panther defense. He had three passes knocked down, two more dropped, and was the focal point of a blistering pass rush. He was held without a touchdown pass for the first time this season and threw for 231 yards after four straight 300 yard games. He also threw one interception on a pass intended for Colston.
2008 Week 8 vs SD (30 / 41 / 339 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / -26 / 0 rush)
Brees played extremely well, but was also given a lot of help by his offensive line. He was nearly sacked twice on the opening drive, but that was the extent of any pass rush mustered by the Chargers. He was afforded tremendous protection, which gave him extra time on every pass to make the best decisions. Brees completed passes to eight different receivers (would have been nine had Pierre Thomas not lost a reception due to a penalty). He never locked onto one player, because he didn't need to. If the Chargers focused on one guy, the Saints simply threw it to someone else that was wide open. His day could've gone even better, but Lance Moore was tackled down at the one yard line following a reception (Deuce McAllister ran one in on the next play). And soon after, Brees badly misfired on a deep pass to Devery Henderson that should have gone for a 49 yard touchdown. Henderson had beaten his defender, but Brees underthrew him and it fell incomplete. That said, Brees caught a couple of breaks along the way as well. There was a ball that deflected off the hands of TE Billy Miller that was seemingly intercepted by Steve Gregory, but the play was ruled an incompletion. Later, S Eric Weddle jumped a route and came up with a diving interception. New Orleans challenged the call, however, and it was ruled that Weddle failed to maintain possession of the ball all the way to the ground. About the only real negative on the afternoon for Brees was the unfortunate result of a strategic decision by HC Sean Payton. With the Saints leading by seven, Payton opted to have Brees take the snap and run the ball into the end zone before throwing it away for the intentional safety. Since Brees needed to throw the ball backwards, that made it a lateral and Brees was hit with a 26 yard rushing loss and a fumble on the play.
2008 Week 10 vs ATL (31 / 58 / 422 / 2 / 3 pass, 2 / 10 / 0 rush)
The final numbers will show the Brees had an excellent day, but the statistics do not tell the entire story. Brees had to create his own opportunities as he was facing a strong pass rush that was constantly in the backfield. The pressure applied had an effect on him, with two of three interceptions the result of him trying to rush his throws and force passes into areas where his receiver was double covered. The other interception, on the opening play of the game, was entirely his fault as he had plenty of time to throw but threw the ball deep downfield to a well covered receiver. Most of his yards came in garbage time when the Falcons were playing in a prevent style defense with a two score lead for most of the second half. He was able to lead the team to two second half scores, but the final score came on a fluke play where Lance Moore was able to catch a tipped Hail Mary pass in the end zone.
2008 Week 11 vs KC (25 / 36 / 266 / 1 / 1 pass, 3 / -2 / 0 rush)
Brees averaged 40 pass attempts in his first nine games. He threw slightly less often against Kansas City. He completed 69 percent of his passes in the game. Brees benefited from good pass protection and an anemic Chiefs pass rush and was not sacked in the game. His prettiest throw was a bomb down the right sideline that Lance Moore snagged in stride for a 47 yard touchdown. Brees had one pass intercepted. Devery Henderson slipped while Jarrad Page read the route and picked the pass off.
2008 Week 12 vs GB (20 / 26 / 323 / 4 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
QB Drew Brees was nearly flawless against the Green Bay Packers. He connected on two passing scores of 70 yards and hit WR Lance Moore for two scores on the way to a resounding victory. Brees and the Saints eased up offensively in the fourth quarter but the damage was already done. Brees led the team on a series of impressive scoring drives by mixing up long and short passes. He exploited mismatches when possible and seemed to be in control of the game from the start. After falling to the ground in the first half, Brees limped around for a few seconds but stayed on the field and appeared fine for the rest of the game.
2008 Week 13 vs TB (25 / 47 / 296 / 2 / 3 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Against a stingy Tampa Bay defense, Drew Brees did his normal thing. He finished 25 of 47 for 296 yards and two scores. Brees connected with WR Lance Moore on a 13 yard scoring play and later hit Pierre Thomas for a 20 yard scoring play. On the negative side, he did throw three interceptions, one of which came in the red zone on a play intended for TE Jeremy Shockey, and two others that came in the crucial fourth quarter. The weather conditions were definitely a factor with the Saints passing game, where their receivers had a number of key drops due to the weather.
2008 Week 14 vs ATL (18 / 32 / 230 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / 0 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees only threw for 230 yards and two touchdowns as he rarely took any deep shots downfield. The game plan was for Brees to take what the defense gave him and to use formations that would take advantage of mismatches with Jeremy Shockey and Reggie Bush. Brees was able to move the ball downfield by mixing in short and medium range passes with an occasional deep pass to keep the defense honest. He made no mistakes and did not face much pressure as the Saints would keep an extra blocker in to help out on deep passing plays.
2008 Week 15 vs CHI (24 / 43 / 232 / 2 / 2 pass, 1 / 1 / 0 rush)
Brees had a poor first half to his standards even though he threw for a touchdown. He threw an interception and he completed only ten of 24 attempts for 93 yards. Brees threw a two yard touchdown pass to RB Pierre Thomas out in the flat after a Chicago turnover in the first half. He also threw an interception to S Mike Brown in that that half and had a couple of other passes that probably should been intercepted. Chicago got good pressure on Brees in the first half and forced him into some bad passes. Brees had another big interception in the second half when it looked like the Saints were driving for a score, when he threw the ball to DE Adewale Ogunleye. Brees did drive the Saints late in the game and hooked up with WR Marques Colston on an 11 yard touchdown pass for his second score of the game. Brees looked much sharper late in the game but, he did not get an opportunity to win the game in overtime as the Bears scored on their first possession.
2008 Week 16 vs DET (30 / 40 / 351 / 2 / 0 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)
Brees leads the NFL in passing yardage and touchdowns. If he can pass for 402 yards in the season finale, he will break Dan Marino's single season mark of 5,084 yards. Brees had an easy and efficient game against the Lions. He was not sacked and averaged 8.8 yards on his 40 attempts. Brees threw two second half touchdowns to Marques Colston. Brees was credited with negative three yards rushing on three kneel down plays to end the game. Brees set a career high for passing yards and broke the Saints' record for touchdowns in a season.
2008 Week 17 vs CAR (30 / 49 / 386 / 4 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees needed a total of 402 passing yards to break Dan Marino's single season passing mark and came within one pass completion of breaking the mark. With the Saints falling behind early they needed to go to the pass in order to get back in the game. They almost succeeded when they took a one point lead with just over three minutes left in the game. Needing only 16 yards after the final score the Saints got the ball back with one second left on the clock. Brees had an open receiver to his left and instead threw the ball deep downfield to his right, with the ball being off target. Despite coming up short of the record, he had an excellent game passing for 386 yards and four touchdowns. He did face pressure from a good pass rush that forced him to dump the ball off early to his backs and tight ends, and sometimes before his receiver was ready for the ball. The Panther defensive backs did not make it any easier as they did a good job of double covering the main receivers and would hit the receivers after the catch was made. The coverage was responsible for the first interception and almost came up with a second pick, but the pass was ruled to be incomplete upon review.
2007 Week 1 vs IND (28 / 41 / 192 / 0 / 2 pass, 1 / 4 / 0 rush)
Brees had a tough game as he and Saints offense struggled to sustain drives and put points on the board. Brees only led the offense to three points. He was ten for 14 in the first half, but only had 53 yards passing. The Colts pass defense simply would not give Brees or his receivers anything deep and he was forced to hit receivers for short, underneath passes. Things did not get better Brees in the second half as the Colts built a big lead and Indianapolis unleashed an effective pass rush. He only had 75 yards passing after three quarters as the Colts pulled out to a big lead. He added three turnovers in the second half as he had two interceptions and a lost fumble. He did add 117 yards passing in the fourth quarter while the game was out of reach. Brees didn't have a pass over 13 yards until he hooked up WR Devery Henderson for 23 yards with 38 seconds left in the game.
2007 Week 2 vs TB (26 / 44 / 260 / 1 / 1 pass, 3 / 10 / 0 rush)
Brees does not look like the same quarterback he was last year, at least through the first two weeks of the season. His final numbers weren't terrible, but his inabilities to convert on third downs early in the game or come up with any big plays downfield were a big part of the problem. Brees totaled 260 yards on 26 of 44 passing that included a four yard touchdown to WR Marques Colston. However, he also had a costly interception that set up a Tampa Bay score and was not able to get into rhythm against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense.
2007 Week 3 vs TEN (29 / 45 / 225 / 0 / 4 pass, 1 / 9 / 0 rush)
Brees started slowly and was not able to muster a first down until the second quarter. He hurried his throws at times, but he was sacked only once. Going into the fourth quarter, he was actually having an okay game, and the Saints were trailing by only three points. In fact, it seemed as though he was getting a little rhythm and gaining confidence. But on the last play of the third quarter, Brees scrambled for a first down and took a hard shot to the head, and he completely unraveled after that. On the very next play, he was sacked and fumbled the ball away, and thereafter he was shaky and seemed to lack confidence. Perhaps Brees was more affected by the blow to the head then he let on--who knows. Whatever the case, his fourth quarter was a complete disaster, which included three INT's, one of which was returned for a TD. Surprisingly, Brees' favorite target in this game was WR Lance Moore, though he frequently looked for Marques Colston as well.
2007 Week 5 vs CAR (29 / 47 / 252 / 0 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees began the game by completing eight of his first ten passes; the only incompletions were on deep passes, one of which was intercepted. Brees threw for 252 yards, but that number could easily have been higher if the Saint receivers had managed to hang on to his throws. The Saints had two passing touchdowns taken off the board when they were called for an illegal formation penalty on the first one and when the officials ruled that the player went out of bounds at the two yard line. The passing game seemed to be most effective when Brees targeted the running backs on screen passes or receivers on short passes.
2007 Week 6 vs SEA (25 / 36 / 246 / 2 / 0 pass, 4 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees had a very strong game and he needed one to recover from his poor performance in the Saints first four games of 2007. He hit eight different receivers for catches, but his favorites were wide receiver David Patten and running back Reggie Bush. Brees played flawless football. He didn't turn the ball over and he made good decisions with the ball throughout the game. Brees threw a touchdown pass to both tight end Eric Johnson and wide receiver Marques Colston.
2007 Week 7 vs ATL (22 / 34 / 219 / 2 / 1 pass, 2 / 8 / 0 rush)
Brees connected on 65% of his passes for an average of 6.4 yards per attempt. The interception by Brees occurred near the end of the second quarter on a fourth and two play where he tried forcing the ball on a play where could have easily run for the first down. He still doesn't look like the player from 2006 but he did enough to help his team win.
2007 Week 8 vs SF (31 / 39 / 336 / 4 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees made it look easy all day long, as he passed at will to whomever he wanted, wherever he wanted. He found ten different receivers, went 31 for 39 on pass attempts, and threw for four touchdowns. One has to remember the 49ers are not a good defense, but he seems to have put his early season woes behind him.
2007 Week 9 vs JAX (35 / 49 / 445 / 3 / 0 pass, 2 / 7 / 0 rush)
Brees was superb. He executed the game plan very well, and made excellent decisions in where to throw the ball and when. He threw all the passes asked of him easily and accurately for the most part, and was clearly in command of the offense. Thanks to his quick decision-making, he was able to get rid of the ball before the Jaguars' pass rushers could get to him, and usually in the intermediate distance range, not just shorter passes. Brees usually threw the ball where his receivers had the advantage, and as such they were able to gain yards after securing the ball many times. The only significant mistake Brees made was losing a fumble in the second quarter. However, in keeping with the day he and his teammates had, that lost possession was not converted into points for the Jaguars.
2007 Week 10 vs STL (25 / 36 / 272 / 2 / 2 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees was not good early on this game. He threw two first half interceptions under pressure. The second pick was a wobbly pass which was grabbed by LB Pisa Tinoisamoa . Both first half interceptions led to scores for the Rams' offense. Brees was under pressure for most of the game. The protection schemes just did not work for the Saints as the Rams brought more pressure than they could handle. He was forced to throw off his back foot often and simply had no time to find his receivers early on. After the Rams jumped out to a huge lead, they eased up on defense and Brees was able to start complete passes and finding his receivers. Brees ended the game with nice looking numbers but for the first three quarters of the game Brees and the Saints were unable to handle the Rams surprisingly aggressive defense.
2007 Week 11 vs HOU (33 / 49 / 290 / 1 / 2 pass, 1 / 6 / 0 rush)
Brees was fairly sharp in the first half and seemed determined to not let the inadvertent interception prevent him from leading his team to scores, but was ultimately undone by more turnovers and an inability to generate many big plays during the second half. He was able to move the ball well in the first half, involving a variety of receivers and making good decisions as to who to throw to. However the Saints were unable to generate an effective running game, which made it more difficult for Brees in the second half. As a result he utilized short passes almost exclusively in the second half, hoping his receivers would break free for significant yards after the reception, but was unsuccessful. Brees threw the vast majority of his passes in the second half to Marques Colston and Reggie Bush.
2007 Week 12 vs CAR (24 / 36 / 260 / 3 / 1 pass, 1 / 8 / 1 rush)
Drew Brees went 24 of 36 for 260 yards. He threw three touchdown passes and also ran one in from eight yards out. He spread the wealth around hitting Moore, Miller and Colston for touchdowns. With the Panthers down just four points at the half, Brees took over the game in the second half. He put together three touchdown drives in the third quarter to put the Saints ahead, 31-6. Brees was intercepted once but it did not hurt the Saints as they forced a turnover on downs on the Panthers next possession.
2007 Week 13 vs TB (17 / 23 / 179 / 2 / 0 pass, 1 / 4 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees was able to make a few big plays in the passing game, but they were too few and far between. Brees connected on touchdown passes with WR Devery Henderson from 45 yards out and WR Terrance Copper from four yards out. He also hit WR Marques Colston on a 40 yard pass play, but aside from that and the 45 yard touchdown to Henderson, Brees accounted for just 94 yards on his 15 other completions for just over six yards per completion. He did not have any turnovers, but was sacked three times.
2007 Week 14 vs ATL (28 / 41 / 328 / 3 / 0 pass, 2 / -1 / 0 rush)
Brees had a great game Monday night against the Falcons. Brees picked apart the defense with many very difficult throws into good coverage. He managed to find Marques Colston for two touchdowns and David Patten for one. He also was able to improvise a couple of times against the Falcons pass rush to buy more time.
2007 Week 15 vs ARI (26 / 30 / 315 / 2 / 0 pass, 4 / -2 / 0 rush)
Brees had a great game going 26 for 30 for 315 yards and two scores. He found Marques Colston for 18 yards and David Patten on a 33 yard strike in the first half. His passes were crisp and he completed them to seven different receivers. He led the Saints' offense on scoring drives of 81, 74, 55, 7 and 44 yards. He was not intercepted, but did fumble once but recovered it.
2007 Week 16 vs PHI (30 / 45 / 289 / 0 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees started the game by completing his first six passes, and ten of his first 13. His first completion was on a beautiful pass to Devery Henderson that put the Saints in excellent field position for their first score. That was the only time that he was able to connect on any type of deep pass play. He was forced to use short, quick passes on the sidelines along with screen plays due to the pressure being applied by the blitzing defense. On some instances he would have time to throw deep over the middle, but he was undone by dropped balls by his receivers. He did catch one pass on a ball that was batted directly back to him and he took off gaining eight yards.
2007 Week 17 vs CHI (35 / 60 / 320 / 3 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees completed 58 percent of his passes for an average gain of 5.3 yards per attempt en route to a passer rating of 75.7. Brees was helped out by a three touchdown performance, but hurt by early interceptions as well as the departure of Marques Colston in the second half of this game. In a season which he lost Deuce McAllister for most of the season, and had Reggie Bush at partial strength for much of the season, Brees threw the ball with regularity, and as a result, completed more passes in a season than any other quarterback in history.
2006 Week 1 vs CLE (16 / 30 / 170 / 1 / 1 pass, 3 / -2 / 0 rush)
The debut of Brees with New Orleans was a positive one, despite just a 68.8 passer rating and 5.7 yard average per passing attempt. Brees spread the ball around well, and appeared to be in sync with rookie running back Reggie Bush on checkdowns and passes out into the flat. His touchdown pass to Marques Colston was a crisply thrown slant, though he made a poor decision on his interception as the safety was sitting on the outside pass. It was noted at one point late in the game that the significant majority of his passes were being thrown to the right side of the field, traditionally where Colston lined up, and to where Bush came out of the backfield.
2006 Week 2 vs GB (26 / 41 / 353 / 2 / 1 pass, 4 / -4 / 0 rush)
Brees was horrible on the Saints' first three possessions, fumbling twice and throwing and interception. His turnovers quickly led to 13 point deficit and the making of a long afternoon for Brees and the New Orleans offensive. Brees regained his composure and turned the momentum in New Orleans favor, leading two touchdown drives in the second quarter. He appeared to have no problems with his right shoulder as he showed plenty of arm strength and nice touch on several passes. Brees completed 26 of 41 passes for 353 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also had three fumbles, losing two of them to Green Bay.
2006 Week 3 vs ATL (20 / 28 / 191 / 0 / 0 pass, 1 / 1 / 0 rush)
Brees was impressive on the Saints' second possession. He converted first downs of 11 yards, 14 yards and 28 yards, all to different receivers. Brees then made a crucial block on a double reverse play which saw Devery Henderson score an 11 yard touchdown. Brees was not under much pressure from the Falcons front four and was able to lead the team down the field for two field goals later in the first half. The second came at the end of the half when Brees was able to manage the clock well and move the ball 54 yards in under two minutes to set up the field goal. Brees was efficient, completing 20 of his 28 passes. With the game under control, Brees only threw nine times in the second half. He targeted Joe Horn deep on one play but the ball was well overthrown. Marques Colston was his favorite receiver with ten targets.
2006 Week 4 vs CAR (28 / 38 / 349 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
Brees had good numbers by the end of the game, but he was not really setting the world on fire as a passer. He connected with ten different receivers, but none of his receivers had a reception over 20 yards until the waning moments of the game. Reggie Bush did manage a 32 yard catch in the first half, but all of that came from Bush's running after the reception, not via Brees' prowess. The final drive of the game was a quick strike to WR Marques Colston for an 86 yard touchdown, the only TD pass of the game for Brees. It moved him over the 300 yard plateau, but again not much of his performance was awe inspiring. The Saints' passing game was very much about ball control and short to medium passes, with the occasional chance at breaking a long gain.
2006 Week 5 vs TB (21 / 33 / 171 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / -3 / 0 rush)
Brees had an efficient outing, completing 21 of 33 passes for 171 yards and one touchdown. He seems to be the perfect fit in New Orleans, and his experience and decision making are definitely something the Saints haven't had in the recent past. His one touchdown was a nine yard strike to tight end Ernie Conwell, but Brees also had touchdown passes dropped by both Conwell and WR Joe Horn. Both were very catchable passes that should have been hauled in.
2006 Week 6 vs PHI (27 / 37 / 275 / 3 / 2 pass, 4 / -1 / 0 rush)
Brees started the game off very well, having a first half stat line of 12 of 15 for 109 yards and two touchdowns. Brees was very accurate throughout the game, completing 73% of his passes. He targeted Joe Horn many times in the deep passing game, and was able to connect on a 48 yard bomb to tie the game for the Saints in the fourth quarter. Drew Brees' phenomenal game included a fourth quarter in which he completed 11 of 12 passing attempts for 134 yards and a touchdown. This drive lead to the game winning field goal with no time left on the clock.
2006 Week 8 vs BAL (24 / 45 / 383 / 3 / 3 pass, 3 / 6 / 0 rush)
His first quarter stat line reported on NFL.com was much worse than actual play. He was credited for a fumble and interception in the first half. The fumble was actually RB Reggie Bush's, and the interception was from a pass that hit RB Aaron Stecker in the hands, but popped up into the air for a pick-six interception. Brees rebounded hitting WR Joe Horn on a long touchdown pass before halftime on a deep seam route. The pass was beautifully zipped into Horn just over the safety. After being pinned back at his own goal line Brees dropped back to pass in the end zone. Under heavy pressure he tried to unload a pass in the left flat as he was being hit. The pass was easily intercepted and returned for a touchdown making it a 28 point game and officially a rout. Being done by 28 points early in the third quarter it allowed ample time for Brees to post monster garbage time stats including two deep touchdown passes to WR Marques Colston.
2006 Week 9 vs TB (24 / 32 / 314 / 3 / 0 pass, 6 / 9 / 0 rush)
Brees got off to a hot start, and never really looked back. He connected on his first eleven passes of the game, including first quarter touchdown passes to WRs Marques Colston (15 yards) and Devery Henderson (52 yards). Brees connected with Henderson again on a 45 yard scoring strike in the third quarter that put the game out of reach. He seems to be the perfect general on the field for the Saints - making great decisions and showing poise and control in the huddle. Brees bounced back from his rough outing last week against the Ravens, finishing 24 of 32 for 314 yards and three touchdowns. He did not turn the ball over and took advantage of an ailing Tampa Bay defensive backfield to finish with a great game through the air.
2006 Week 10 vs PIT (31 / 47 / 398 / 1 / 0 pass, 4 / 14 / 0 rush)
Brees continued to fly under the radar of top notch quarterbacks with another solid performance. He eclipsed the 275 yard mark for the sixth time this season and led his team to four first half scoring drives. After TE Billy Miller fumbled his first completion in the first quarter, Brees went on to complete 16 of his next 21 passes to close the first half with 201 passing yards. He went three of four on the Saints' first scoring drive and capped it off with a rollout touchdown pass to WR Terrance Copper for three yards. His completion percentage dipped in the second half, but he still threw for 197 second half yards. Brees took advantage of Pittsburgh over the middle using Copper and WR Marques Colston on several big gains and made wise decisions in checking down when necessary. Brees only had a few miscues on two over throws and two dropped interceptions, one of which would have gone for a defensive touchdown. He was also victimized by three dropped passes and two WR fumbles. He added 14 yards rushing on three scrambling attempts and had one fumble (not lost).
2006 Week 11 vs CIN (37 / 52 / 510 / 2 / 3 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
For the plus side, Brees finished the game with a Saints record 510 passing yards, (151 of those coming in garbage time) and added two touchdowns. The 510 yards are the sixth highest single game total in league history. Additionally, Brees' sixth 300 yard game as a Saint ties him with Archie Manning for the most in team history. Manning played in New Orleans for ten years; Brees has played there for ten games. The day started well enough, as Brees hooked up with Joe Horn for a 72 yard bomb on a flea flicker. He typically had plenty of time to throw, and the Cincinnati defense couldn't do much to contain the New Orleans receivers. About the only time they did stop them was when the Saints dropped passes, there were at least three drops totaling over 70 yards. Unfortunately for Brees, some of the other stops were his own doing. Entering the game, Drew Brees hadn't been intercepted in over 100 pass attempts. Then CBS pulled a Joe Bryant by announcing that statistic several passes before Brees threw a costly pick in the end zone. Brees would later throw a second interception in the end zone, turning what could have been a legendary game into merely an incredible one. Finally, his third interception (tying his career high) was returned 52 yards for a touchdown by Ethan Kilmer. The interceptions were extremely costly, but they were also really the only poor passes he made all game long. Once Cincinnati went up 31-10, the Bengals picked up huge chunks of yardage against a very soft defense. During this time, Brees went 12-13 for 151 yards and a touchdown. He nearly added another one on the final drive of the game, but time expired as WR Terrance Copper was tackled at the Cincinnati nine yard line.
2006 Week 12 vs ATL (21 / 30 / 349 / 2 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees aired it out deep down field to WR Devery Henderson on his first pass attempt of the day for a 76 yard touchdown. Henderson beat CB DeAngelo Hall straight down the middle of the field and Brees dropped into his hands beautifully. The lack of a significant pass rush from Atlanta allowed Brees to stand tall and confident in the pocket through the first half. He got his second passing touchdown on a Hail Mary pass as time expired in the first half. At the start of the second half Brees cooled off. Consecutive three and outs and a near interception on an out pattern gave a chance for the Falcons to dig their way back into the game, but Brees finished strong. He completed all seven of his final passing attempts in the fourth quarter including a 46 yard bomb to Henderson that led to the final McAllister touchdown.
2006 Week 13 vs SF (17 / 28 / 186 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / 14 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees started out the game against San Francisco trying to establish a passing game, but without his favorite target once again, rookie WR Marques Colston, the air attack struggled. Brees targeted replacement starter WR Devery Henderson six times in the first half, but his three drops severely limited the offensive production. Adding to that issue was the loss of WR Joe Horn, who appeared to aggravate his groin after his first and only catch and left the game after just one quarter. Brees improvised as he is known to do and just changed the game plan. He threw to his next best playmaker, RB Reggie Bush, who became the primary target for the rest of the game and he delivered over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown. Most of Brees' yardage and his only touchdown were to Bush, as the 49ers struggled to contain the rookie running back.
2006 Week 14 vs DAL (26 / 38 / 384 / 5 / 0 pass, 5 / -6 / 0 rush)
Brees had a phenomenal game. He set a career high with five touchdown passes. Brees threw the ball with confidence and could seemingly make no mistakes. He distributed the ball to ten different receivers, connecting with fullback Mike Karney (two), running back Reggie Bush, wide receiver Devery Henderson, and tight end Jamal Jones for touchdowns. Brees completed 68.4% of his passes while leading his team to a crushing defeat of the Cowboys. His favorite targets were Bush and wide receiver Marques Colston. Brees went over the 4,000 yard passing mark for the season, his first time ever accomplishing that feat.
2006 Week 15 vs WAS (21 / 38 / 207 / 0 / 1 pass, 1 / 3 / 0 rush)
Brees played, by all accounts, his worst game of the season. He was under a lot of pressure from the beginning to the end, and never really looked comfortable. He was also victimized by several costly drops by receivers, some of which would have gone for big gains. But even when he had open receivers, he was just as much to blame for delivering inaccurate passes (both high and short). Brees was visibly upset on several occasions, frequently pounding his fist or yelling to himself after a poor play (by him, not by the receivers). The interception was simply a terrible pass intended for WR Devery Henderson that was badly underthrown. Henderson had actually beaten his man, Carlos Rogers, down the lift sideline, but Brees put far too much air under the pass and it was easily picked off. Brees was also nearly intercepted earlier in the game for what could have been a touchdown by Late in the game, the Saints marched down for a potential game winning touchdown but once again failed to put the ball in the end zone. Brees threw incomplete to WR Marques Colston in the front right corner on a second down pass, a ball that was tipped away nicely by CB Shawn Springs. And on fourth down, Brees missed WR Terrence Copper in the end zone for the score. Had the ball been put on Copper's right shoulder, it likely would have gone for a score. But it was too far towards the middle of the field, and easily knocked away by Springs. Brees came close to scoring on two other occasions. The first was on a deep pass to WR Devery Henderson in the first quarter that was dropped at the ten yard line (though there were two defenders in the area, so he may not have scored). The second was a 20 yard screen pass to Deuce McAllister, who was tackled down at the four yard line. McAllister carried the ball on next three plays, scoring on the third chance.
2006 Week 16 vs NYG (13 / 32 / 132 / 1 / 0 pass, 5 / -1 / 0 rush)
Brees didn't get the chance to post monster numbers in this game because the Giants had such a hard time stopping the run. Brees had a chance to move the ball with this arm during the first quarter, but as soon as the Saints coaching staff realized they didn't have to throw Brees was relegated to handing off. Brees did miss out on a big play because of a terrible drop by WR Devery Henderson. Brees hit Henderson streaking down the center of the field with a beautiful pass that could have easily been a long touchdown, but Henderson had the ball bounce off his hands. Brees only attempted five passes during the second half, but did complete a 40 yard ball to WR Terrance Copper on a rollout to the right side. Copper got open behind the defense on a blown coverage and nearly scored getting pushed out at the two yard line. His touchdown pass to WR Marcus Colston in the second quarter on fourth down from the two yard line was a perfect throw on Colston's back shoulder where only he could make a play on the ball.
2006 Week 17 vs CAR (4 / 5 / 46 / 0 / 0 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees started the game and drove the Saints right down the field. The drive was capped off with a Reggie Bush one yard touchdown run. Brees started the second drive and completed a pass on the first play. He then came out of the game since the Saints are not playing for anything. Brees finished four of five for 46 yards. He looked very good. Brees came out to a standing ovation and chants of M-V-P.
2006 Week 19 vs PHI (20 / 32 / 243 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / -2 / 0 rush)
Brees completed 20 passes for 243 yards, connecting with eight different receivers. Brees recovered from a shaky start, missing his favorite target in WR Marques Colston on errant passes, to settle down and complete 11 of 20 before halftime. Brees distributed the ball well, getting it in the hands of both of his running backs and all three of his tight ends. His third RB, Aaron Stecker, actually had a touchdown within in his grasp but Stecker could not pull in the difficult catch in the end zone. Brees also finished the first half with a 45 yard Hail Mary attempt that was nearly in Colston's hands long enough for a touchdown, but was ruled incomplete. Brees used his backup TEs (Billy Miller and John Owens) to the tune of four catches and 78 yards in the third quarter, while throwing his only touchdown of the game on a short pass to RB Deuce McAllister who ran 11 yards for a touchdown. With the game nearly decided in the fourth quarter, Brees only attempted four passes in the final period, but his final toss to Colston was for 13 yards and a key first down that chewed away precious extra time off the clock.
2006 Week 20 vs CHI (27 / 49 / 354 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 8 / 0 rush)
Brees came out throwing early and marched the Saints into field goal range with a long 40 yard pass to WR Devery Henderson, but couldn't put New Orleans on the board after getting sacked knocking them out of field goal range. Brees was dropped on their second drive as well when he got slammed in the back from a blitz. He fumbled, but lucked out that an offensive lineman recovered the ball. Through much of the first half Brees struggled with his accuracy. He missed WR Marcus Colston on a deep cross putting the ball several years behind him on a third and long on separate plays. Just before halftime Brees came to life connecting with all three of his receivers on a 73 yard touchdown drive. He put three balls on Colston including a thirteen yard touchdown pass. Brees opened the third quarter building on the momentum from the end of the first half. On the second play of the third quarter he lobbed a pass over the linebackers down the left sideline to RB Reggie Bush. Bush turned the short pass into an 88 yard touchdown pass. Brees was flagged for intentional grounding midway through the third quarter. He dropped back into his own end zone under heavy pressure. He flipped a pass into the right flat intended for nobody. The safety increased the Bear lead to four points and things really started to come apart for the Saints. Brees fumbled after being sacked by DE Adewale Ogunleye at the start of the fourth quarter before throwing an interception on a deep ball down the left sideline.
2005 Week 1 vs DAL (18 / 35 / 209 / 2 / 2 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
Brees playing without his favorite target of last season Antonio Gates led the team on scoring drives on four of the teams eight possessions. His interception on the last drive was on a tipped pass. It's too early to panic as he clearly missed Gates who'll return for Week 2. In the absence of Gates, Brees seemed to lock on to Keenan McCardell.
2005 Week 2 vs DEN (15 / 23 / 175 / 0 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
After going three and out on their opening drive, Drew Brees engineered drives of 80 yards and 83 yards that both ended in touchdown runs by LaDainian Tomlinson. Brees was given time to throw in the first half but saw more pressure from the Broncos in the second half. Keenan McCardell and Antonio Gates saw the vast majority of targets from Brees, particularly on third down plays. Brees was sacked four times, fumbling on a hit from Ian Gold. The opening play of the second half was a poorly thrown pass from Brees that was intercepted by Champ Bailey and returned for a touchdown. Brees was also picked in the fourth quarter but the play was overturned after the Chargers challenged the call.
2005 Week 3 vs NYG (19 / 22 / 191 / 2 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees was phenomenally accurate against the Giants, going 19 of 22. He hit both Antonio Gates and Keenan McCardell for touchdowns. He led his team on seven scoring drives. Despite a relatively low yardage total, he was nearly perfect.
2005 Week 4 vs NE (19 / 24 / 248 / 2 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Drew Brees had another stellar outing, this time against one of the league's better (but injury depleted) units. Brees constantly made crisp, accurate passes all afternoon, and picked apart the Patriots' secondary with precision. Brees' touchdown passes were things of beauty, especially the one to Reche Caldwell. He didn't seem to lock onto any one receiver, and spread the ball around fairly evenly. During the second half, Brees converted so many third downs it seemed as if San Diego would never be stopped. At one point in the telecast, CBS commentator Phil Simms said about Brees, "He looks a lot like Tom Brady out there." High praise indeed, but it was warranted after the performance Brees put on. If this keeps up for Brees, he'll force the Chargers into keeping him around. And if they should choose to deal him, he would certainly net a lot in return. Brees lost four yards passing on a play called back due to penalty.
2005 Week 5 vs PIT (20 / 35 / 219 / 1 / 1 pass, 2 / 3 / 0 rush)
Brees started off slowly, completing one of four, but managed the game well from that point on. He used Tomlinson, Gates and Parker on short and medium range routes often in taking whatever the Steelers gave him. He got in a groove in the second quarter completing five of six before Antonio Gates let a pass slip through his hands for an interception. Down 14, Brees then led San Diego to 16 unanswered points. He tossed an 11 yard touchdown pass to Gates in the second quarter and then helped the Chargers get in field goal range on three consecutive drives in the second half. It is within those field goal drives that might raise an eyebrow as two ended with incomplete passes and the other on a completion short of the first down. Even so, Brees was effective and helped put up 22 points against a top defense.
2005 Week 6 vs OAK (14 / 20 / 164 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / -5 / 0 rush)
Brees was quietly efficient, completing 70% of his passes and tossing a score to a wide-open LaDainian Tomlinson for 35 yards. Brees wasn't asked to do much in the second half, as the Chargers merely waited out the clock for the most part and Brees was just three of eight after halftime. He was nearly intercepted on a third down play late in the game, which was a curious call to begin with since San Diego was trying to run out the clock. Outside of that one dangerous pass, Brees was flawless. He could have had an earlier touchdown pass to WR Keenan McCardell, but the receiver simply dropped the ball in the end zone.
2005 Week 7 vs PHI (23 / 40 / 299 / 2 / 2 pass, 1 / 9 / 0 rush)
Brees played reasonably well and efficiently in this game, as he was able to make a number of big throws and rally his team from a ten point second half deficit. He was pressured all afternoon by a heavy rush from Philadelphia blitzers, and more often than not, made good reads to find the open receiver. His first touchdown came on a 19 yard strike to Keenan McCardell after he looked the safety off then threw the ball into tight single coverage. Brees' second touchdown pass came on a nice throw to Antonio Gates on a short fade pattern. Brees' cannot be blamed for his first interception, which drilled McCardell in the shoulder pads before landing in the hands of an Eagles' defender.
2005 Week 8 vs KC (25 / 43 / 324 / 3 / 1 pass, 1 / 1 / 0 rush)
Brees was again efficient, despite a rocky start. Of his first ten passes, several were off-line, too high, deflected at the line, etc. He just didn't look very sharp. He was bailed out on a couple of occasions by his receivers making excellent plays. As the game went on, Brees started looking better and better, until the point where it appeared he could once again do very little wrong. His touchdown passes to Gates were all outstanding throws, especially the first one. Brees wasn't perfect, as evidenced by the interception and the slow start. Not only that, Brees had several passes knocked down at the line of scrimmage by defenders. But when it came time to make throws, Brees made several perfect passes, threading the needle with precision and incredible accuracy. Brees lost two yards passing on a play that was called back for penalty.
2005 Week 9 vs NYJ (20 / 27 / 270 / 1 / 1 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
He didn't have as great a game as the stats would seem to indicate, but once again didn't make many glaring mistakes. He put up big numbers mostly courtesy of the ability of both Antonio Gates and LaDainian Tomlinson to make something happen after the catch. The Chargers ran a number of quick slants and short passes to get the ball into the hands of the playmakers, though on several occasions Brees made perfect passes down the middle to a streaking Antonio Gates. Basically, Brees "managed the game". Brees made a bad read on two consecutive plays late in the second quarter, where he had open receivers in the end zone but failed to see them over the oncoming pass rush. He also made a bad mistake on the interception he threw, as he was falling backward and tried to make a pass that he can't. Lastly, while it wasn't entirely his fault, he did fumble to give the Jets the ball in San Diego territory, rather than putting the game out of reach. Fantasy owners should know that Brees didn't play a spectacular game, but as long as he's playing pitch and catch with the two big playmakers, he can continue to be a good fantasy option.
2005 Week 11 vs BUF (28 / 33 / 339 / 4 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Brees turned in one of the best performances of his career. He spread the ball around magnificently to his receivers, and combined both quick passes with the occasional downfield strike to put up some very big stats. Early in the game, the Chargers opted to attack mostly with WR screens and quick passes. Yet when asked to make a pass downfield, Brees was on the money. His second touchdown pass, to WR Eric Parker, was a thing of beauty as Brees executed a nice pump-fake before heaving the ball downfield to a wide-open Parker. He faced almost no pressure from the Buffalo front, and it showed in his ability to survey the field and pick the most open guy.
2005 Week 12 vs WAS (22 / 44 / 215 / 0 / 3 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
Brees played what can be called his first really poor game of the season. While he hasn't been asked to carry the load too often (besides last week), he still had been putting up terrific stats. Sunday, the Redskins' pressure continuously got to him, forcing him into some bad passes. San Diego made an adjustment towards the middle of the second quarter, and began attacking with more quick strikes like we've seen from them in recent weeks. Even so, Washington was still able to get so much pressure on Brees that the passes weren't coming out of his hands crisply. What's more, he had to hurry the throws so a lot of times his intended receiver didn't have enough time to adjust for the ball. That was probably the main reason for San Diego receivers dropping an astounding eight of Brees' passes (four by Antonio Gates alone). Brees nearly connected with Reche Caldwell on a touchdown pass in the second quarter, but the Washington pressure forced a hurried throw, and the pass fell inches from the diving receiver. Brees turned the ball over three times, though he entered the game having thrown just eight interceptions all season long. On one of the interceptions, Brees was looking deep down the sideline and had the ball snagged by Carlos Rogers. Had the ball been thrown a bit further, it could have been an easy touchdown. The day could have been even worse for Brees too, as LaVar Arrington nearly intercepted a pass over the middle, and Rogers had his hands on another deep pass to Vincent Jackson, but both passes were dropped by the defenders. On the other hand, Brees did suffer his share of bad luck as well. His Hail Mary pass to the end zone at the end of regulation was tipped up into the air and intercepted by Washington. He also had another pass deflected up in the air and subsequently picked off. Brees was the targeted receiver on a pass attempt from LaDainian Tomlinson early in the first quarter, but the pass was broken up.
2005 Week 13 vs OAK (17 / 22 / 160 / 2 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees only had 40 yards with a little more than six minutes left in the second quarter, but on the Chargers fourth drive, he completed all five of his pass attempts for 44 yards. Brees continued to look good in the second half, making a great pass to Eric Parker after eluding two tacklers and finishing the drive off with a one yard touchdown pass to Parker. He ended the first half completing all five of his passes and leading his team to a touchdown, which put them up by seven. He finished the game with efficient numbers, completing 17 of 22 passes for two touchdowns and no interceptions.
2005 Week 14 vs MIA (35 / 52 / 279 / 2 / 1 pass, 3 / 11 / 1 rush)
All you really need to do is look at Brees' stat line to see San Diego lost. Anytime a Marty Schottenheimer-coached team is throwing the football 50+ times in a game (30 in the first half alone), it usually means bad news. Brees set career highs in both attempts and completions, though his productivity didn't reflect the inordinate amount of passes he made. He was misfiring badly early on, sailing several passes well over the heads of his intended targets. He settled down on the second drive of the game, which culminated in his first touchdown pass of the afternoon. It was on that drive that he made a great improv play by dumping the ball to Lorenzo Neal for a five yard gain rather than taking a sack. After those nice plays however, it was pretty much all downhill. Brees took a sack late in the first half at a crucial point to knock the Chargers out of field goal range, three points they could have sorely used at the end of the game. He also had an extremely costly fumble that, in essence, ended the game. San Diego still technically had a chance to win later, but down nine with just over a minute to play and no timeouts isn't really how one draws it up. He salvaged his day and actually turned it into a terrific fantasy game by running in a four yard touchdown and adding a late scoring pass to TE Antonio Gates to get the Chargers to within two, but neither play was particularly difficult. On the Gates play, it was more a great effort by Gates than anything else. Brees was nearly intercepted by Travis Daniels, but Daniels was unable to corral the pass. Brees lost two completions (but zero yards) on passes to Lorenzo Neal that were called back due to penalties.
2005 Week 15 vs IND (22 / 33 / 255 / 1 / 2 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
Brees opened the scoring with a long pass play to Keenan McCardell for a touchdown. On the play, Brees used a pump-fake to the right before throwing back down the seam for the score. Brees has become extremely adept at using the pump-fake, and is certainly one of the best in the league at utilizing it. In addition to the touchdown, San Diego came out throwing the ball almost non-stop. The Colts appeared content with stopping Tomlinson and letting Brees beat them. And, for a time, he did just that. Even though the Chargers weren't scoring touchdowns (Brees threw incomplete to Antonio Gates late in the second quarter on third and goal from the 4, and San Diego settled for a field goal), they were marching downfield for points and had compiled a 16-0 advantage late in the third quarter. That's when things started to go wrong. First, he was hurried and intercepted in San Diego territory. That led to an Edgerrin James touchdown. Then on the next possession, he fumbled inside the five yard line and the Colts recovered it. This led to a Dallas Clark touchdown. The Colts turned a 16-3 deficit into a 17-16 lead within a span of three minutes thanks to two costly turnovers. Even in the fourth quarter when the Chargers caught a break (fumbled kick return), Brees gave the gift right back to the Colts when he was intercepted in the end zone. He made up for that later on, though. Just as the Colts appeared ready to put the game away, Brees made his most important completion of the year. With 8:47 left to play and facing a third and nine from his own nine yard line, he completed a 54 yard pass to a streaking Keenan McCardell. A faster receiver may have scored on the play, but regardless it was a huge play in the game. Brees' ability to remain calm and cool even with the season on the line was outstanding, and he really rallied the team with LaDainian Tomlinson on the bench with an injury.
2005 Week 16 vs KC (18 / 33 / 161 / 1 / 1 pass, 5 / 31 / 0 rush)
Brees produced fairly well for the day with 161 yards and one touchdown. He even contributed 31 yards rushing. He had too many of his passes dropped. The one pass that bounced off of Tomlinson's hands might have been the beginning of the end for the Chargers against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. His playoff dreams are gone for this year, but he can still play for pride and the chance at a big new contract next year.
2005 Week 17 vs DEN (8 / 14 / 68 / 0 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
QB Drew Brees suffered a potentially serious shoulder injury. Brees dislocated his right shoulder when he dove onto a pile to try and recover a fumble. His arm was pinned underneath another player as his body rolled forward, and the injury looked bad at the time. Brees didn't appear to be in excruciating pain, but he didn't look all that comfortable, either. He held his arm straight in front of himself as he walked off the field, and was ruled out of the game within minutes. After the game, WFAN radio in New York was reporting that Brees will have to undergo surgery to repair the injury and also may have torn the labrum in his shoulder. If that is the case, then any trade talks involving Philip Rivers would have to be put on hold, as Brees' status for the beginning of the 2006 season would be in question. As for the game, Brees didn't do much during the brief time he was in the game. His favorite targets in the early going were the standards: McCardell, Gates, Parker, and then Tomlinson in that order. He was bailed out on a possible interception run back for a touchdown when Broncos' LB Ian Gold dropped a sure pick that could have gone the other way for six.