Sunday Night wrap-up: Drew Brees can still get it done, differently

AP

Drew Brees was never a strong-armed downfield thrower, he’s gotten by this long and this well by being precise.

But whether it’s the shoulder injury that kept him out last week or the lack of decent protection or some combination of the two, Brees is a different quarterback now.

There were a few adult throws mixed in, but Brees was largely reduced to playing small-ball in the Saints 26-20 overtime win over the Cowboys, which makes it curious that he went yard to win the game.

He averaged 6.3 yards per pass attempt for most of the game, as they were clearly focusing on him getting the ball out quickly. But that may be a necessity the rest of the year, unless something significant changes. That number pumped up to 7.2 after his last-minute-of-regulation drive, and 8.8 after his 80-yard pass to C.J. Spiller that won the game in overtime.

Brees is going through some of the same kind of late-in-his-game changes Peyton Manning has had to accept, although the recent injury makes it unclear how much of it is by choice.

Watching him labor through some throws (the super slow-motion replays on NBC showed he’s not winding up as he used to), it’s clear he’s not 100 percent. Obviously some smaller percentage of Brees gives them a better chance than 100 percent of anyone else, but it does force them to adapt.

And how well he’s able to will determine whether the Saints will be able to salvage anything of this season after a horrid start.

Here are five more things we learned during Sunday Night Football:

1. Raise your hand if you want to play for the Cowboys. Seriously, they need you.

Losing third-down back Lance Dunbar to a knee injury was bad enough, but then wide receiver Brice Butler went down with a hamstring, after he caught a 67-yard pass.

It’s a good thing for them that tight end Jason Witten has superhuman healing powers, because they’re running out of options.

The fact they’ll get quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant back at some point alleviates some of the worry, but getting to the point of their return with a chance might only be possible because they live in the NFC East.

2. It’ll be curious to see if the Saints can make anything of this season. Or whether they can rebuild their home field advantage.

For what used to be the toughest building in the league to leave with a win, the Saints have been hospitable hosts, having lost six straight there.

But now they’re 1-3, and have won one in a row.

3. Defensively, the Saints are kind of a grease fire. But there are some solid parts to work with, if they can only add to that number.

Rookie pass-rusher Hau’oli Kikaha is one of those parts. The second-rounder picked up his third sack of the season in the third quarter, and has shown quite a bit of potential.

He’s more of an effort rusher than a guy who gets there on raw physical gifts (though he’s not untalented), but he’s getting there often enough to be noticed.

There are guys at each level of the Saints defense you have to account for (defensive end Cameron Jordan and a healthy safety Jairus Byrd could play for a lot of teams), but there aren’t enough of them.

There are a lot of young kids who are playing a lot of snaps because why not, but guys such as Stephone Anthony, Bobby Richardson and Tyeler Davison along with Kikaha suggest there is hope it gets better some day.

4. Jerry Jones was right. The Brandon Weeden touchdown pass to Terrance Williams in the fourth quarter was a thing of beauty.

It also gives Matt Cassel another week to learn the playbook, as the veteran trade acquisition was inactive again Sunday.

Weeden wasn’t offensive Sunday night, and isn’t nearly the problem.

5. Neither one of these teams is particularly disciplined.

The Saints extended several Dallas drives in the first half with penalties on their defense, but the Cowboys returned the favor in the second half.

A 12-men-on-the-field penalty gave the Saints just enough yardage to let kicker Zach Hocker try a 51-yarder, and he hit it to tie the game at 10-10 in the third.

The Cowboys were called for the same penalty last week, which makes it seem kind of inexcusable. But at the rate people are getting hurt there, some degree of confusion is probably expected.

43 responses to “Sunday Night wrap-up: Drew Brees can still get it done, differently

  1. The cowgirls got clobbered…most of them went to the locker room! Geaux Saints

    At least we got one! Lol

  2. I predicted the Saints would win this game and got 9 thumbs down and 16 thumbs up for it because I knew the Cowboys would give up a ton of yardage to Brees even if he was hurt. The Cowboys defense is overrated, their offensive line is great but with Randle out they will have to rely on Weeden more which I don’t think they want, and more importantly the Cowboys are going up against a fresh Patriots team next week and it won’t be pretty. I’m not a hater or lover of the Saints but I will say good job Saints.

  3. Who would have thought this could be Washingtons division.

    With the Cowboys injuries and whatever is going on with the Eagles it’s a strange year in the NFCE.

  4. Thank you Drew for wiping that big stupid grin off of Tony Romo’s face. Enjoyed watching the Jones family squirm at the end then go home angry.

    A good day!

    Lots of respect for Drew and how he carries himself. Almost makes you forget about that ridiculous contract that is ruining the team. He earned it tonight.

    Go Hawks!

  5. I though that Randle was gonna run for 200 yards behind the greatest O Line in the history of the NFL. I also thought they would dominate the time of possession.

    Wait you mean none of this happened?

    Oh that’s right…..sacks are coming

  6. This comment might seem small minded but as a Patriots fan it was great to see a team that Goodell demonized win and an owner who said he “supports Goodell 100%” lose.

    Brees and Brady are two of the great guys in the NFL and, for some reason, both were targeted by the NFL suits; Brady directly and Brees in directly.

    I hope the Patriots embarrass Jerry Jones next week. Everyone understands the owners own the NFL but trying to take out guys like Sean Peyton and Tom Brady was not just unjust, it was cowardly.

  7. Dallas is decimated with injuries, New Orleans just don’t have the players this year. I don’t think either team are going to make the playoffs this year.

  8. The way the refs called this game, I thought for sure Jerrah had Blandino back on the bus for more hookers and cocaine. Congrats to NO for pulling it off!

  9. I don’t think anyone would argue the Cowboys are absolutely cursed when it comes to injuries (Sean Lee again seriously?), but if their 2nd stringers can’t beat the 2015 Saints, who can they beat?

    Looking at their schedule, I don’t see any sunshine until weeks 9 & 10 with the Eagles & Buccs. That would leave the Cowboys anywhere between 2-7 to 4-5 when Romo & Dez get back.

    I’m not giving up on the season but changes need to be made if they want different results, 2nd stringers or not.

  10. And next week the Pats are going to come on down to Jerrah’s billion dollar mausoleum and light the place on fire. Can’t wait

  11. Of all times to beat the Cowboys was tonight. With Romo out, with Dez out, and others, this was the time.

    Brees has been hurt. I saw some of the throws he made in the first half and they were accurate but did not have his normal zip on them. Brees made some great passes today. The Saints offensive line protected Brees when it really counted and the Cowboys defensive line was trying to get to him each and every down, but they made Brees untouchable, which was really good to see.

    A great first win! Keep up building on this!

    Allons les Saints!

  12. Sometimes one win is all that is needed to get the team confident and motivated. This was thet game. geaux Saints!

  13. And next week

    The season is OVER

    A 21 point loss In front of Jerry.

    Over under 10 times it shows his ‘stunned’ face on camera during the devastating loss.

  14. Drew Brees is statiscally the best downfield thrower. PFF says nobody goes deep more frequently with greater accuracy. Maybe its different now, but the deepball is what got him all those numbers

  15. “a few adult throws “… Drew will spank your butt, even with a bum shoulder, anytime big boy!!

  16. raisedbrow64 says:
    Oct 4, 2015 11:54 PM
    Blatantly illegal pick play puts the man who would have guarded Spiller out of the game… Wow. How did they miss that?
    ====================================
    same way they missed blatant illegal pick by Witten

  17. That OT drive is what the Saints O used to look like.

    It should give them confidence to know they can do it when needed.

    And we’re only 700 games behind in the division. And the FalDcons are different somehow, and the Panties are rather good…

    Early days, lad, early days

  18. I have to say that of all the games I attended at Texas Stadium, the best visiting fans were from New Orleans. Those Saints fans really love their team, win or lose, and they’re always happy and fun to be around.
    Of course, it goes without saying that the worst visiting fans came from Philadelphia, but that’s another comment.
    Dallas is in deep doo doo. New England is going to destroy them next Sunday, and after the bye, they have to play Seattle, a resurgent New York again, and a pesky Washington twice, not to mention several other teams that will give the Cowboys trouble. On the remaining schedule, I can see them beating the Eagles and the Dolphins, but the rest will be hard to beat even when/if Bryant and Romo return.
    The offense can’t sustain drives. The defense can’t stop drives. Part of that is coaching, and part of it is injuries and lack of talent. But part of it is penalties, which goes to lack of discipline.
    Pundits keep saying, they’re going to get better when they get some players back. What if better isn’t good enough? Dallas fades in the second half, and they have a long history of fading in December. They won’t make the playoffs.
    Anyway, congratulations Saints fans for a well deserved and much needed victory. I know New Orleans will be partying tonight.

  19. So you think a healthy Jairus Byrd may be able to get on the field for some other teams? He has been all pro thus far during his career when healthy.

  20. Big win for dem Saints! The defense actually looked decent most of the night. Granted, Dallas had quite a few injuries and picked up a few more during the game. Delvin Breaux better learn to get his head around or OCs on the schedule will be picking up some cheap PI calls against him.

  21. It was a fun game to watch but if anyone is under the impression either of these teams aren’t awful on both sides of the ball they are being delusional.

  22. Dallas lost this game on Brees’ first pass, when an INT was dropped that hit the DB between the numbers. Low and behold, it happened again in the second half, when a LB did the same thing.

    Brees threw flutter balls and it lacked velocity, but Murka’s team can’t catch.

  23. “Brees is going through some of the same kind of late-in-his-game changes Peyton Manning has had to accept, although the recent injury makes it unclear how much of it is by choice.”

    I don’t think any of the changes Father Time mandates are “by choice” …

    I don’t think having an altered throwing motion due to a present injury is “by choice” ….

    let the man heal, then see where he’s at … when he can throw with a motion “by choice” ….

  24. It is not “curious” that he went “yard for the win” as he really didn’t go “yard for the win”. It was a short pass that saw the recipient run “yard” AFTER THE CATCH.

  25. “but getting to the point of their return with a chance might only be possible because they live in the NFC East.”

    Yea, because the AFC South is so dominant. As well as the AFC East, which the Patriots have ran since forever, and the NFC South, who yes has two undefeated teams now, but hasn’t been the hotbed of contender’s, EVER. But hey, let’s not let the parroting sheeping go to waste.

  26. gawainsghost says: Oct 5, 2015 2:23 AM

    I have to say that of all the games I attended at Texas Stadium, the best visiting fans were from New Orleans. Those Saints fans really love their team, win or lose, and they’re always happy and fun to be around.
    Of course, it goes without saying that the worst visiting fans came from Philadelphia, but that’s another comment.
    Dallas is in deep doo doo. New England is going to destroy them next Sunday, and after the bye, they have to play Seattle, a resurgent New York again, and a pesky Washington twice, not to mention several other teams that will give the Cowboys trouble. On the remaining schedule, I can see them beating the Eagles and the Dolphins, but the rest will be hard to beat even when/if Bryant and Romo return.
    The offense can’t sustain drives. The defense can’t stop drives. Part of that is coaching, and part of it is injuries and lack of talent. But part of it is penalties, which goes to lack of discipline.
    Pundits keep saying, they’re going to get better when they get some players back. What if better isn’t good enough? Dallas fades in the second half, and they have a long history of fading in December. They won’t make the playoffs.
    Anyway, congratulations Saints fans for a well deserved and much needed victory. I know New Orleans will be partying tonight.
    =================================

    Thank you for a classy post, best of luck to you and yours.

  27. Brandon Browner and Zach Streif need to be cut immediately. One holds too much, the other not enough. Sheesh.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.