- Drew Brees
- New Orleans Saints
- Saints 31, Chargers 24
- 29-for-45, 370 YD, 4 TD, 1 INT
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- Andrew Luck
- Indianapolis Colts
- Colts 30, Packers 27
- 31-for-55, 362 YD, 2 TD, 1 INT
- Watch Highlights
The Pregame Pressure
Drew Brees was facing a tremendous amount of pressure heading into the New Orleans Saints' matchup against the San Diego Chargers. The Saints were searching for their first win of the season after starting the year with four painful losses. Brees, who also had the added pressure of playing against his former team, didn't hide the fact that he was extra motivated by his history in San Diego. Finally, there was the pressure that stemmed from Brees' pursuit of a prestigious passing record. He came into this contest poised to break Johnny Unitas' mark of 47 straight games with a touchdown pass.
Luck was under a completely different type of pressure heading into the Indianapolis Colts' matchup with the Green Bay Packers. Colts head coach Chuck Pagano had recently been diagnosed with leukemia, and Sunday's game was going to be the first of several that he would be unable to attend. Despite his rookie status, Luck would need to help his teammates control their emotions and focus on a very talented opponent. The Packers came in eager to rebound from a shaky start to the season, and Luck would need to keep pace with the reigning MVP, Aaron Rodgers, for the Colts to have any hope of winning this game.
The In-Game Performance
Brees put up huge numbers in the Saints' victory, throwing for 370 yards and four touchdowns, the first of which broke Unitas' record. He was excellent on third down; the Saints converted in nine of 16 opportunities. Brees' four touchdown drives each covered 80 yards or more, and his pinpoint passing was the key element that helped the Saints overcome a 10-point second-half deficit and pull out the victory.
Luck played a masterful game, helping the Colts secure the upset by passing for 362 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for a score. The Colts erased a 21-3 halftime deficit behind Luck's accurate passing and playmaking ability. He was at his best with the game on the line; he marched the Colts right down the field before tossing the winning touchdown with just 35 seconds left on the clock.
The Post-Game Pick
This was a very tough call, but I'm going to give Drew Brees the nod for having the better performance. He faced more pregame pressure than Luck, and his in-game performance was more efficient. While the expectations were very low for the Colts, the Saints needed to win; a loss against the Chargers would've effectively ended New Orleans' season. Brees, however, didn't allow that to happen. The Saints are still facing long odds to make the postseason, but they now have a glimmer of hope, thanks to their record-breaking signal-caller. -- Daniel Jeremiah