Saints Rebound, With Too Much Brees?
It was a heartbreaker to see Brees get shutdown by the Seahawks. There is no question – guys like Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman are among the best defensive backs in the NFL, but the best quarterbacks can still put up numbers. After the 150 yard game, I was sure Brees would rebound, especially at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Four touchdowns later and a good amount of yardage against another stellar defense, and Brees was back on track. Carolina let up a season high 31 points last week to the Saints. However, I was still a little worried.
The Saints played marvelous defense against Carolina; Cam Newton had as much trouble moving the ball as Brees did the week before. Cameron Jordan and Junior Galette combined for five sacks, and the defensive backs – especially Corey White and Kenny Vaccaro, did great in pass coverage. Meanwhile, the Panthers were obviously off their game on both sides of the ball.
Drew Brees obviously lit up the scoreboard, but it made me a little nervous when I noticed the Saints went the running game only 17 times in both the Carolina game and Seattle game. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, you need to run the ball. Teams that are too pass happy will get more defensive backs on them than teams that are balanced. Both games combined for 114 rushing yards, and I have to say, I’m not a huge fan of this sort of reliance on Brees.
Going into the second quarter of the Seattle, New Orleans game, New Orleans was down 17-0. Obviously in this type of situation you will want to pass it a little more, but I do not think you have to go and abandon the running game all together. I realize Drew Brees is an amazing quarterback (bette than Peyton at home I tell ya), but when you’re going three and out all on the air, it just does not fly. I don’t care if Mark Ingram can’t get past the line of scrimmage, you got to keep at it! Let me bring up some games in the past where Brees has done well with the run game.
New Orleans Saints v. New England Patriots - November 30, 2009 (NO WIN 38 – 17)
In this game, Drew Brees posted a 158.3 passer rating, 5 touchdowns, 371 yards, and only 23 pass attempts. (18 completed) Now before you tell me the Saints were much different back then, keep in mind that there was a similar atmosphere. In this game, New Orleans ran the ball 26 times, averaging 4.3 YPG. Now is the part that you tell me, well New Orleans probably blew them out, but the game was not really sealed until halfway through the fourth quarter when Brees threw a 20 yard pass to Colston for TD. Sorry, but I think the a 14 point lead is not too close against Tom Brady. (Just came back against Browns last week, two TD in last 61 seconds)
New Orleans Saints v. New York Giants – November 28, 2011 (NO WIN 49 – 24)
Four TD, 383 yards for Brees this game, which was 35 – 17 in the fourth quarter, until Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas got a 35 yard and 12 yard rushing TD. Again, we see the Saints going more comfortable to the rushing attack, splitting carries pretty evenly between Ingram, Sproles, and Thomas. It tallied up to 30 rushing attacks by the end of the game. Now maybe my argument is flawed because New Orleans was destined to win anyways, but there has got to be some sort of correlation between carries and Brees success.
Overall, I would like to see New Orleans run the ball a little more to ease off pressure from Drew Brees. Balanced offenses work, and no defense will come out looking for the run when the QB has gone to the air the past 5 times with plenty of time on the clock.