Under the Microscope: Drew Brees in December


Nov 30, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) looks on from the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret, but the month of December is crucial for any football team hoping to get into the postseason. It’s the final push for the majority of teams, and with only four games left on every team’s schedule, each game increasingly becomes more important than the previous one.

Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints, and the month of December, where do you begin?

For starters, Brees has had a heck of a week. He was subject to ‘splash reporting’, which stated the Saints would be looking for his eventual replacement after this season through the Draft by NFL Insider, Ian Rapoport, who obtained information through ‘Saints sources’. Brees, who was very irritated at the report, met this head on during his appearance on the Jay Mohr show Monday.

"“I know it has absolutely no validity to it,” Brees said. “A lot of time you can look at who’s writing that stuff and you can say ‘alright this guy is trying to make a splash or trying to make a name for himself’ whatever it might be.“In a lot of cases I’m not sure where they get their information, if they just completely make it up or if there are sources that are their cousins.”"

Brees reminded the entire football world of just how strong of a quarterback he is, as he earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for his exceptional performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road. Brees threw for 257 yards, 5 touchdowns, and finished with a passer rating of 140.0.

Brees was one of my five players that I identified last week as needing to ‘catch fire’ for the New Orleans Saints down the stretch, and that remains true for the Saints to get into the playoffs.

So, how has Brees fared in December? Let’s start with Brees’ Career Resume for this time of the year:

Record: 27-25 (52 Career Games)
Pass Completion: 1262/1925 (65.82%)
Passing Yards: 13,830
Yards/Game: 266
Touchdowns: 101
Interceptions: 39
QB Rating: 95.9

Brees also has three rushing touchdowns and two of his six career receptions in the month of December. Brees’ record (27-25) in December may not compare to that of Tom Brady (45-7) or Peyton Manning (46-20), but is still respectable.

Since joining the Saints in 2006, Brees only has a 20-15 record in the month of December. His best season came in 2011, when Brees and the Saints went a perfect 4-0.

Let’s also look at the past several seasons of Brees’ stats in the month of December:

[table id=25 /]

Overall, Drew Brees still commands the ultimate respect from opposing defenses. When you look at some of the best games he has had with the Saints over the Sean Payton Era, he has the ability to simply take over and dominate the opposition.

Some Memorable Games for the New Orleans Saints and Drew Brees in the month of December:

  • 12/10/06 – New Orleans 42, Dallas 17 (Brees: 384 yards, 5TDs)
  • 12/10/07 – New Orleans 34, Atlanta 14 (Brees: 328 yards, 3TDs)
  • 12/06/09 – New Orleans 33, Washington 30 (Brees: 419 yards, 2TDs, INT)
  • 12/13/09 – New Orleans 26, Atlanta 23 (Brees: 296 yards, 3TDs)
  • 12/18/11 – New Orleans 42, Minnesota 20 (Brees: 412 yards, 5TDs)
  • 12/16/12 – New Orleans 41, Tampa Bay 0 (Brees: 307 yards, 4TDs)
  • 12/08/13 – New Orleans 31, Carolina 13 (Brees: 313 yards, 4TDs)

The Saints face some familiar opponents in the final month of action (Panthers, Bears, Falcons, Buccaneers) who have given the team their fair share of trouble in recent years. Combined, these teams are 15-24-1. To suggest that the opportunity is there is likely a gross understatement.

Although Brees got a large ‘monkey off the back’ for the Saints last season with their road victory over the Bears (something that had not been done since 2002 or under Sean Payton), they haven’t defeated them in a cold weather atmosphere setting. Why is that relevant? I’m preparing you now for the storylines you’ll likely hear about on Monday Night Countdown and Monday Night Football. Brees and the Saints lost respective December matchups in 2007 and 2008. If you’d like to go a step further, the team lost the 2006 NFC Championship to the Bears, but that was in the month of January.

Brees has a career record of 34-19 against the NFC South lineup of Atlanta, Carolina, and Tampa Bay, which bodes well for the black and gold in the final stretch. However, during the month of December it remains a different story, as Brees is only 8-6 against NFC South foes since joining the Saints in 2006.

vs. Atlanta Falcons, 5-0
Losses: None
Wins: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

vs. Carolina Panthers, 1-4
Losses: 2006 (Brees played a series), 2008, 2012, 2013
Wins: 2013

vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2-2
Losses: 2007, 2009
Wins: 2012, 2013

To emerge victorious, the Drew Brees of last week against the Steelers is exactly what the Saints need to carry them. Brees has the perfect opportunity to continue playing at such an elite level with just four games remaining in the New Orleans Saints’ season. I believe that the Saints will win or lose based on the sole play of Drew Brees.

The bottom line is that you should bet on him to deliver, execute, and carry the Saints into the postseason. The Saints could be a very scary team in January, but as we all understand the football creed, we take it one game at a time.

Oct 26, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) celebrates a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers during the third quarter of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Packers 44-23. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports