Since an inexplicable road loss to the St. Louis Rams in late October, the New Orleans Saints have ripped off four straight wins to improve to 9-3 and they look to be hitting their stride at exactly the right time. And over the last two weeks, Drew Brees and the offense has been unstoppable. In their 49-24 win against the Giants in Week 12, Brees threw for 363 yards and 4 TDs. Then in Sunday’s 31-17 win over the sliding Lions, Brees racked up 342 yards and 3 more TDs, giving him 4,031 yards and 30 scores on the year with four more games still to play.
Brees is officially on pace to break Dan Marino’s single-season passing yardage record of 5,084. The Saints may be two games clear of the Falcons and in complete control of the NFC South, but the No. 2 seed and a potential first round bye in the playoffs are within reach if New Orleans keeps winning and San Francisco stumbles even just a bit. With the way the Saints play in their dome, that is of utmost important to the Saints playoff success.
Drew Brees joined WWL in New Orleans with the Monday Morning Quarterback to talk about being the first quarterback in the NFL to pass for 4,000 yards in the first 12 games, how big it was for the Saints to answer the Lions score in the third quarter when it looked like momentum might’ve been shifting, how nice it is to have a different player step up every game, on the lack of offensive turnovers recently, if he thinks Mark Ingram is more comfortable in the NFL now, and whether or not he thinks the Saints can run the table the rest of the year.
On being the first quarterback to pass for 4,000 yards in 12 games:
“We knew that this was going to be a tough challenge, especially coming off that Monday night win on a short week but we had a great week of preparation, we kind of adjusted the schedule to make sure we got plenty of rest, it’s all about getting a little bit better each week. Sometimes the statistics don’t always show that, but in the end, you want to make sure you’re improving a little bit each week because the opponents only get tougher. Each week, it seems like you’re playing for a little bit more and we want to keep this win streak going.”
On how big it was for the Saints to answer in the third quarter:
“It definitely was. Obviously we know this team’s very recent history and that is three comeback victories of 17 points or more they’ve had this season and a couple of them on the road. We knew the type of team we’re going up against, and certainly their ability to finish, especially in the 2nd half, in the 4th quarter. So, despite our slow start in the third quarter, we gave ourselves enough of a cushion in the first half and then padded that with a nice 4th-quarter drive to score a TD. Obviously our defense did a great job all game long containing some of their play-makers and giving us some opportunities offensively.”
On the idea that someone different steps up every week for the Saints on offense:
“Meech (Robert Meachem) played great. You know what you never know whose day it’s going to be. Last week, I’m not even sure if Meachem caught a ball and today, he comes up with three huge plays. That’s the nature of this offense and what we do. You never know whose opportunity it’s going to be. Everybody has package plays going into the game, but everybody has to wait and see. It’s a great thing for us and for me just to know that you’ve got all these play-makers and the ability to spread the ball around. It’s a lot of fun doing that.”
On the lack of turnovers recently on offense:
“No question, without a doubt, that is the number one stat. If you can win the turnover battle, if you can not turn the ball over, we’re 19-0 when we don’t turn the ball over. I think that is a pretty convincing stat. Obviously, you can’t let it affect your aggressiveness and your ability to push the ball down the field and mix it up, but you can certainly know when it’s time to take chances and know when it’s time to be a little more conservative. The fact of the matter is that this is an aggressive style of offense that spreads the ball around, keeping defenses off balance. You know, blitzing the defense with tempo.”
Whether or not he believes Mark Ingram is more comfortable now:
“The more times he carries the ball, the more confidence he gains. That’s the way it goes for young players. It’s repetition, repetition. It’s our ability to spread it around to all our running backs. Pierre (Thomas) had another great game, as did (Darren) Sproles, and Mark (Ingram).”
Whether or not he thinks the Saints can run the table the rest of the season:
“It’s one game at a time. The games don’t get any easier. On the road this week at Tennessee, that’s going to be a huge challenge, they’re playing very well right now. We’ll worry about the rest after that, but it’s all about Tennessee right now.”
How tough it is to play against a team they don’t see often like Tennessee:
“Yeah, there’s always a little more preparation for that because it’s once every four years and playing on the road, in a hostile environment, they’re playing well. They’ve got some big-time players on that team. We’re going to need our ‘A game,’ that’s for sure.”