The Saints pulled out an improbable 35-34 victory on Sunday by coming back from 13 points down in the fourth quarter for their first win of the season.
An emotional response to such a comeback is to be expected, but it was an emotional day for Saints quarterback Drew Brees long before the rally was underway. Sunday marked Brees’ first game in San Diego since 2005, when he hurt his shoulder in his final game with the Chargers and wondered if his career might be over.
It wasn’t, of course, and Brees wound up writing many more chapters with the Saints over the last 11 years.
“I’m grateful for a lot of things in my life,” Brees said to his teammates before the game, via the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “But I’m most grateful to be a part of this! Because right here, right here on this spot 11 years ago, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to play football again. I thought my dream was getting ripped away from me. But I got another chance. To play for the New Orleans Saints. And to be a part of this team! I don’t take that granted. Not once! Embrace this opportunity, men. Let’s show these boys about the New Orleans Saints.”
Safety Kenny Vaccaro said he “could see tears starting to swell in [Brees’] eyes” while he was speaking to the team and tackle Zack Strief said he’s “really glad [Brees is] walking out of here with a smile on his face” after the game.