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Anatomy of a Play: Giving Brees his due


We're doing an Anatomy of a Play on Drew Brees.

This season we've broken down plays by Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Brett Favre, Donovan McNabb, Carson Palmer, Tony Romo, Philip Rivers, Matthew Stafford, Jay Cutler, Matt Ryan, Kyle Orton, and Vince Young. Why have we waited so long to feature an MVP candidate on an undefeated team?

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One reason is that we like to choose deciding plays from competitive games, and the Saints simply haven't played many competitive games -- only three of their 12 wins have been by single digits. A better reason is that we're not perfect like the Saints. We try to pick the best of the best every week but sometimes mistakes happen. We're sorry.

To pay our respects, we've compiled our Top 10 list of Brees plays from the 2009 season:

  1. Week 9 - Down 17-3 to Carolina, Brees throws a ball into the deep outside void of the Panthers Cover 2 defense. The play results in a 45-yard gain for Marques Colston, allowing the Saints to kick a field goal before the half.
  1. Week 1 - Up 31-20 late in the third quarter vs. Detroit, Brees steps up in the pocket and delivers a strike up the seam to Devery Henderson for a 58-yard touchdown.
  1. Week 6 - Up 14-3 in the second quarter, Brees throws a ball into the end zone for Robert Meachem. While the Giants' coverage wasn't bad, the throw was perfectly placed, resulting in a 36-yard touchdown.
  1. Week 2 - Tied 10-10 with one minute left in first half, Brees throws a back-shoulder seam to Colston, beating an Eagles blitz for a 25-yard touchdown.
  1. Week 8 - Tied 14-14, with two minutes remaining in the first half, Brees recognizes a Falcons blitz and audibles his protection before the snap. The Saints pick up the pressure and Brees hangs in the pocket to throw a 30-yard post to Meachem.
  1. Week 7 - Down by 10 to the Dolphins, Brees looks and pumps to the left, getting the safety to bite. He then comes back to the right, finding Jeremy Shockey for 66 yards, beginning the Saints' huge fourth-quarter rally.
  1. Week 9 - Down 20-13 to Carolina late in the third quarter, Brees hits Meachem in the seam for a 54-yard game-tying touchdown. New Orleans went on to win 30-20.
  1. Week 10 - Up 21-17 in the fourth quarter, the Saints are in a dog-fight with the St. Louis Rams when Brees throws a beautiful play-action post to Meachem for a 27-yard touchdown.
  1. Week 11 - Up 17-10 late in the first half against the Patriots, the Saints run the same play that scored against St. Louis -- play-action with a post over the top to Meachem. Brees again throws a perfect pass for a 38-yard touchdown.
  1. Week 12 - Down 30-23 with 1:27 to go in Washington, Meachem's double-move beats the Redskins' secondary for a 53-yard, game-tying touchdown. Brees gives a little pump fake and throws a nice flat ball perfectly in stride. This play is the subject of this week's Anatomy segment.

The Saints are averaging the most points (36.7) and yards (429) in the league and Brees leads all NFL quarterbacks with a 111.3 QB rating, 9 yards per pass attempt, and 29 TD passes.

The success of New Orleans' offense is a result of more variables than I have time to mention here, but just to name a few:

» Years of accumulating talented players
» Outstanding preparation and play-calling by coach Sean Payton
» One of the best passers of our generation in his prime
» A very high confidence level

Can anyone stop the Saints this year? I personally don't think so.

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