Saints should have been up by 10 with two minutes left

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Monday night’s game between the Texans and Saints made history. It shouldn’t have.

It was the first game in the 50-year history of the Monday Night Football franchise that had multiple lead changes in the final minute, thanks to the touchdown scored by Houston receiver Kenny Stills with 37 seconds left and the 58-yard field goal from New Orleans kicker Will Lutz as time expired. The stage for the theatrics was set by the 47-yard field goal from Lutz with 50 seconds left, making the score 27-21.

It should have been 31-21. With the Saints facing third and two from their own 15 with 2:05 to play, quarterback Drew Brees uncorked a 41-yard bomb to receiver Ted Ginn, setting the Saints up for the eventual touchdown.

But watch the play. Brees, who turned 40 in January, didn’t put enough on the ball. If he had, he would have hit Ginn in stride, and Ginn would have scored easily, instead of waiting for the ball and being instantly tackled.

This isn’t a knock on Brees. He’s one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, a member of my own personal top five. But for any of these guys who continue to play after making it halfway to 80, it makes sense to look for any evidence of slippage.

Remember the NFC divisional round game against the Eagles? On the first play from scrimmage, the Saints dialed up a deep ball to Ginn. Brees, who surely knew for days that the play was coming, didn’t put enough on it, resulting in an interception that sparked a 14-0 deficit.

It worked out for the Saints then, and it worked out for the Saints last night. Brees has the brain necessary to stay calm and poised like he did when trying to get the team into field-goal position with a couple of ticks on the clock. And his numbers for the Week One game — the first season-opening victory for the Saints since 2013 — were off the charts as usual.

Still, there’s reason to continue to monitor his arm strength. His 41st birthday is roughly four months away, and very few quarterbacks have played at a high level at that age.

24 responses to “Saints should have been up by 10 with two minutes left

  1. Was this blogpost necessary? A lot of plays could have ended that game. Don’t give up a td in two plays and the saints easily win. Houston don’t let the saints score a fg with less than 40 seconds. It can go on and on.

  2. If if if.. what’s the point of this article. If Hopkins doesn’t drop those passes he usually catches them it’s a different game

  3. This is simply Florio pushing his prediction that Brees is “slipping” at age 40. Wrong. Go through every NFL and college game this weekend and you’ll find dozens of instances of long balls being slightly under-thrown by QBs of all ages.

  4. And yet…he’s still far, far better than 95% of all quarterbacks in the league…all of whom are younger than him. Good read though, Florio. You’ve come so far.

  5. This post reads like some 16 year old posting on some random football forum.
    What if Ginn drops it?
    What if the Saints score more points at end of first half and Brees doesn’t need to go long at that point, just kneel.
    As mentioned, seems more like certainly trying to awkwardly make some melodramatic point to fit a narrative.

  6. His arm looked plenty strong when he was running to his right and threw across his body for a strike in the end zone.

  7. Maybe he just missed slightly on the throw? Hitting a moving target 40-50 yards away isn’t automatic even for an elite QB. This isn’t Madden.

  8. Yeah, with that one throw, lets make an entire judgement about him. I can play too: DeShaun Watson is going to have trouble throughout his career because he doesn’t know how to land after a difficult tackle, Wil Lutz is not very good because he missed one of his field goals, DeAndre Hopkins missed a pass and must be losing a step at the downfall of his career because of it, JJ Watt did not get a sack and is seriously declining and nearing the end of his career, and lastly, Alvin Kamara went out of bounds when he should have stayed in bounds to keep the clock going near the end of the game and this means that he’s got a long way to go to be a good player thinking like that.

  9. Look at the pre-snap video and the whole play. Brees baited the Texans Defense into making their final commitment prior to the snap, then with just a few seconds left on the play clock, he crouched down and audibled into that play. Then he baited the Texans into single covering Ginn by not looking at Ginn right after the snap. Ginn got a quick release off of the line, a flat out speed release. Brees anticipated at least a chip on Ginn, but the Texans gave Ginn a free release. Brees glanced back at Ginn and then he launched the pass, off of his back foot, with pressure right in his face. He put the ball where only Ginn could catch it. That was a Hall of Fame play from a Hall of Fame QB. From pre-snap, to audible, to snap, to the first second of the play, all the way to the completion. Stop with this false narrative. Watch the entire play, it was a masterpiece from about 10 seconds left on the play clock until the reception.

  10. So I guess Deshaun Watson arm is failing when will fuller had to comeback and make that spectacular catch against eli apple could have been a touchdown

  11. But watch the play. Brees, who turned 40 in January, didn’t put enough on the ball. If he had, he would have hit Ginn in stride, and Ginn would have scored easily, instead of waiting for the ball and being instantly tackled.
    __________________________________________

    When “coulda”, woulda”, “shoulda” and “if” is the favorite words of someone trying to make a point they don’t make much of a point do they?

    And how many 20 something QBs hit that throw 100% of the time?

  12. There should be a mandatory retirement age of 38 in the NFL.
    Get rid of Brees and Brady.
    Give Geno Smith and Blake Bortles another chance.
    I’ll bet they would be stars if only they had another chance, or two , or ffty …

    Brees didn’t look as good as he did in the past, but he still looked good.

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