If Drew Brees is supposed to be washed up, someone apparently forgot to send him the memo, because for the first time all season the 41-year-old future Hall of Famer actually looked like a future Hall of Famer during the Saints‘ 35-29 win over the Lions on Sunday.
After struggling to throw the ball downfield for the past three weeks, there had been some whispers that maybe the Saints quarterback had lost his fastball, but that definitely didn’t seem to be the case in Detroit as Brees diced up the Lions secondary for 246 yards and two touchdowns in the win. The Saints offense actually got off to an ugly start after the Lions picked off a pass from Brees that had been tipped, but after that interception Brees caught fire, completing 19 of 24 passes. Although the interception helped put New Orleans in a 14-0 hole, that didn’t seem to bother Brees, who responded by leading the Saints on five straight touchdown drives.
Both of Brees’ touchdown passes were vintage Brees. The first TD pass was a short one (just three yards), but the ball needed to be thrown perfectly for the score to happen, and that’s exactly what Brees did.
That’s Brees putting perfect touch on the pass, which was caught by Tre’Quan Smith for a three-yard score.
Of course, we all know Brees can throw short passes, because he’s been doing it all season so that throw wasn’t a huge surprise. The bigger news for the Saints is that it looks like Brees can still throw downfield. Later in the second quarter, Brees threw another touchdown pass to Smith, and this time the ball traveled roughly 30 yards in the air, and once again it was a perfect throw.
That score, which came with 44 seconds left in the first half, put the Saints up 28-14. At that point, it felt like the game was over.
The most impressive thing about Brees’ performance is that he did it without Michael Thomas in the lineup. Although the Saints star receiver didn’t play on Sunday, he was definitely watching the game.
The win over the Lions was the first time that Brees and the Saints had ever won a game without Thomas on the field. Before that, they had been 0-3, including 0-2 this season.
Brees’ ability to throw downfield is one reason why the Saints offense has been so good for so long, if he can’t make the deep throw at least once in a while, then opposing defenses don’t have to protect that part of the field. Against Detroit, Brees absolutely proved that he can still make the deep throw.
If this is a sign of things to come, then the rest of the NFC is going to be in trouble. There’s a reason the Saints were one of the favorites in the conference to get to the Super Bowl, and if the Brees who played on Sunday is going to show up every week for the rest of the season, then the Saints are going to be tough to beat.
Alright, let’s get to the grades for every game from Week 4. If you’re looking for a deeper dive on the Broncos-Jets game that was played on Thursday, be sure to click here.
New Orleans 35-29 over Detroit
Seattle 31-23 over Miami
Cincinnati 33-25 over Jacksonville
Minnesota 31-23 over Houston
Baltimore 31-17 over Washington
Ravens-Washington grades by Jordan Dajani (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Cleveland 49-38 over Dallas
Browns-Cowboys grades by Patrik Walker (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Tampa Bay 38-31 over L.A. Chargers
Chargers-Buccaneers grades by Josh Edwards (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Carolina 31-21 over Arizona
Cardinals-Panthers grades by Bryan DeArdo (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)