The Saints’ Road Conundrum: Is it Drew Brees?


Oct 5, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) is slammed down by Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) in the fourth quarter of their game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints won in overtime, 37-31. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints’ Road Conundrum: Is it Drew Brees?

Let me just get this out in the open (call it a disclaimer, if you will) before you continue reading: I love Drew Brees, and I believe he is the best option at quarterback for the New Orleans Saints for years to come.

The Saints have been horrible on the road in recent memory, as they haven’t won a regular season road contest since Week 12 of last season, when they defeated the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome 17-13. Note, I said regular season. I can’t overlook the Saints Wild Card Playoff win over the Philadelphia Eagles last season.

A conundrum is a confusing and difficult problem or question, which is exactly what the Saints have on their hands right now when it comes to their ability, or lack thereof, to produce a win on the road.

I suddenly had an epiphany when thinking about the recent woes on the road. A common theme has prevailed with the Saints losing their past six road games: Drew Brees turnovers.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look.

2013, Week 13 – @Seattle, 34-7 loss: Brees credited with fumble lost
2013, Week 15 – @St. Louis, 27-16 loss: Brees throws 2 interceptionsfumble lost
2013, Week 16 – @Carolina, 17-13 loss: Brees throws 2 interceptions
2014, Week 1 – @Atlanta, 37-34 loss: Brees throws an interception
2014, Week 2 – @Cleveland, 26-24 loss: Brees throws an interception
2014, Week 4 – @Dallas, 38-17 loss: Brees throws an interception

If you look further back, then you’d also see that Drew Brees has had only five road games in the past nineteen where he did not commit a single turnover. That’d be the following games:

  • 2012: @Green Bay, @Oakland, @Dallas
  • 2013: @Chicago, @Atlanta

With the exception of the Green Bay road game in 2012, the Saints won each of those road contests, outscoring opponents 142-107. Coincidentally, the Saints won against the Raiders, Cowboys, Bears, and Falcons.

When you tabulate all of the touchdowns and interceptions in the road games from the past nineteen, you come up with a 34-23 TD:INT ratio. It might look favorable, but as we know, the interceptions can work against you. In the past six regular season game losses, Brees has a 8-7 TD:INT ratio, and that’s not counting the fumble against the Seahawks he was credited with.

Here are his split stats from the past several years:

2013 Home: 8-0, 27 TD, 3 INT
2013 Road: 3-5, 12 TD, 9 INT

2012 Home: 4-4, 26 TD, 8 INT
2012 Road: 3-5, 17 TD, 11 INT

2011 Home: 8-0, 29 TD, 6 INT
2011 Road: 5-3, 17 TD, 8 INT

Perhaps the most glaring issue is the fact that the New Orleans Saints are 6-13 on the road since 2012. It’s no longer a question of whether they are or aren’t a good road team. In the thirteen losses, the Saints have been outscored 407-266, which is a differential of 141 points. In case you are wondering, seven of those games have been a one possession game.

Am I saying that Drew Brees is a bad quarterback? No. Has he struggled on the road in recent affairs? Yes, and you could even say it’s been beyond that. Am I saying it’s all his fault? No, and we can all point the finger as to who else is to blame. However, the problem with a lot of these interceptions/turnovers are the fact that they come at such a horrible time, and have generally resulted in huge momentum swings.

Overall, the main point of what I’m trying to convey is this: Drew Brees must play better and virtually mistake free for the Saints to have a fighting chance on the road, and for the rest of the season. Brees can win in the Superdome, but has four games left on the road this season to tackle: the Carolina Panthers, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Chicago Bears, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

I leave you with asking yourself one simple question: With the lackluster record of 2-3, how comfortable are you heading into a hostile road environment with the season/playoffs on the line?