Drew Brees' big day lifts New Orleans Saints to divisional win

  • By Jim Reineking NFL.com
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It's tough to win on the road, especially if your team continues to be embroiled in a scandal that just doesn't seem to want to go away.

Greatest on the road ...

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints have been a giant walking distraction since the bounty scandal bomb was dropped on March 2, 2012. The mess has trickled over into the season, and predictably the team struggled at the start of the campaign, losing its first four games and dropping far behind the division-leading and undefeated Atlanta Falcons.

A run by Brees at a decades-old passing standard seemed to help awaken the Saints. The Saints got their first win on the night Brees set a new record. After a bye week, the Saints were on the road looking to build off that emotional victory.

In a pivotal division game, Brees was stellar in leading New Orleans to a second consecutive win, a thrilling 35-28 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brees erased a 14-point first-half deficit in a hurry, leading New Orleans on long scoring drives on four straight possessions to take a 28-21 lead. Brees finished the day with 377 yards and four touchdowns, extending his NFL record for consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass to 49.

Also considered:

Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans

CJ2K's second of two touchdown runs against the Buffalo Bills -- an 83-yard sprint to the end zone that also earned the running back a unique place in NFL history -- eclipsed the rushing yardage totals from four of his previous games this season. Johnson finished with a total of 195 yards rushing as the back looks to put a lackluster start to the season in his dust.

Johnson opened the scoring on a wild and wacky afternoon in Orchard Park, N.Y. with a 16-yard touchdown run. Johnson's big day, coupled with quarterback Matt Hasselbeck's clutch play down the stretch, helped the Titans leave western New York with a 35-34 victory, giving Tennessee its second consecutive win after a disappointing 1-4 start to the season.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

A visit to St. Louis' Edward Jones Dome was supposed to be another road test for a Packers team that is starting to catch its stride following a woeful -- by Green Bay's lofty standards -- 2-3 start. Following an emphatic 42-24 win in Houston, the Packers faced another team with a reputation for being tough on visiting teams. The Rams entered Sunday 3-0 in home games, with the most recent win under the dome a loud and dominant 17-3 victory over the previously unbeaten Arizona Cardinals.

Instead, Cheeseheads helped give the Rams' home dome a Lambeau feel. Having visiting fans take over the dome is not an entirely unusual atmosphere for a Rams team that hasn't experienced much success in recent years. What also wasn't unusual was Rodgers' performance, which included 342 yards passing and three touchdowns, including a 39-yard highlight-reel scoring heave to Randall Cobb that ended the competitive phase of the 30-20 win.

Follow Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.

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