Time, NFL records no match for Drew Brees

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

 

Drew Brees will be 41 in a few weeks, but Father Time doesn’t seem to have the New Orleans Saints quarterback in his grasp.

He came to the Big Easy in 2006, broken and recovering from what looked like a career-threatening injury. His new city, too, was reeling from the effects of the near city-wide flood after Hurricane Katrina. Together, they leaned on each other for support, strength and a resilient comeback.

With that in back of mind, it made celebrating Brees’ record setting performance on Monday Night Football against the Indianapolis Colts earlier this week all the more sweet. He entered the game with 537 career touchdown passes and went on to have one of the best games of his career in the nationally-televised contest. He put on a masterful performance, completing 29 of his 30 pass attempts (to nine receivers) for an NFL record 96.7 completion percentage and throwing four TDs, 307 yards (10.2 yards per pass), and no turnovers or sacks.

“Listen, it was special, everything about the night,” Brees said after the game. “(I) don’t know how they pick ‘em. Monday Night Football, playing the Colts, the team that we won the Super Bowl against 10 years ago. So the whole Super Bowl XLIV team is back for the 10th anniversary. And, obviously, national television, big game, and now that record in the balance, as well. It just kind of makes you shake your head. ‘Are you kidding me?’

“I never thought I would’ve had a chance to be a part of something like this, and just looking at the entire journey – 19 years, from five years in San Diego to 14 years here, and all the incredible teammates and coaches that I’ve had the chance to play with and for — this team right here, who’s very special. And, of course, our fan base, the Who Dat? Nation, everyone in the Dome tonight, everybody watching tonight.”

The Saints offense was dominant from the beginning, scoring on each of their first six possessions, including four touchdowns. Meanwhile the defense held the Saints scoreless until late in the fourth quarter. Brees walked off of the Superdome field with another win and the NFL touchdown record (541), passing Tom Brady (538) and Peyton Manning (539) in the process.

It was a command performance by the greatest saint to wear the black and gold. But it was a team effort, much like this 2019 season.

In Week 2, when Brees injured a ligament in the thumb of his throwing hand that forced him out of action for several weeks, no one – including the most diehard of the Who Dat? Nation – could or would have predicted the team would be entering the final two weeks of the season with the NFC South title won and opportunities to match their best record in franchise history, earn a first-round playoff bye, and Dome field advantage through the playoffs. But here they are, 11-3, competing to achieve all of their preseason goals.

With two games left in the season, the Saints played, arguably, their best game of the season against the Colts. The Tennessee Titans and Carolina Panthers are all that remain before the playoffs. If the Saints win these two games, they’ll not only match their best regular season record, but also match their best three-year run in the franchise’s 53-year history. Starting with their Super Bowl winning year of 2009, the Saints went 13-3, 11-5 in 2010, and 13-3 in 2011 for a total record of 37-11. In 2017, the Saints went 11-5, followed by 13-3 last year. They’re 11-3 now, and could tie the 37-11 mark with two more wins.

The first three-year run is highlighted by the Lombardi Trophy. Members of the 2009 team we on hand Monday night to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their championship.

The Saints are battling injuries, but are, again, one of the NFL’s elite teams. After the Minneapolis Miracle knocked them out of the playoffs in the 2017 season and the pass interference no-call spiked the 2018 season, the Saints are looking to avenge their shortcomings and return to the NFL mountaintop.

The team and their leader are focused. After enjoying a brief celebration of his feats, Brees told ESPN’s Lisa Salters, “For now, it’s on to the next challenge, the next opportunity. There’s more games to be won, and I feel like our best is yet to come.”

With the NFC’s top teams battling for playoff positioning – Seattle Seahawks (11-3), San Francisco 49ers (11-3), Green Bay Packers (11-3) and Minnesota Vikings (10-4) – the Saints will need a bit of help to get the top seed, but their fate is in their hands. Keep winning and they’ll bookend Brees’ tenure with another party with the Lombardi.

 

 

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