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Drew Brees

Sunday's game only latest postseason disappointment

Drew Brees flopped on Sunday, and maybe we should have all done a better job of seeing it coming. The warning signs were there.

Brees is 42, and the decline in arm strength has been apparent. He can’t make a lot of the throws nowadays, and there are times where it looks like he shouldn’t be in the league. When the Saints lost at Las Vegas in Week 2, it was looking like maybe Brees had stuck around a year too long. And there were ugly interceptions and near-interceptions in late-season games against Kansas City and Minnesota. He’s got the weakest arm of any starting quarterback, so he’s been trying to get by solely on his smarts.

We have seen Brees stumble in the postseason before. The Saints are 3-4 in the postseason the last four years, and all but one of those games were in the Superdome. In 2018, the Saints weren’t as impressive as expected in a win against a modest Philadelphia team before stumbling in the NFC Championship against the Rams, a game in which Brees’ mistakes were pivotal. In 2019, the Saints underperformed in a home playoff loss against Minnesota, with Brees again coming up short (when New Orleans rallied in the second half of that game, it was with Taysom Hill sparking them).

Against the Bucs, Brees didn’t have enough arm strength to connect on any downfield throws. When they connected on a long touchdown to TreQuan Smith, it was with Jameis Winston throwing it on a gadget play. Had Taysom Hill been active for this game, no doubt they would have utilized him to try to further cover for Brees’ shortcomings.

Looking at regular season and playoff games, the dip has been pretty severe. Brees in the last four years has gone 22-6 in regular season games at home. He’s averaged 293 passing yards in those games, with 62 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. (Per game, that’s 2.21 TDs and .46 interceptions).

In the same four seasons, Brees has gone 3-3 in home playoff games. He’s averaged 256 yards in those games, with 10 TDs and 7 interceptions. (Per game, that’s 1.67 TDs and 1.17 interceptions.)

Below see the game-by-game numbers for all of Brees’ home games. (In the chart showing playoff games, I’ve also included his one road playoff game.)

Awesome career. In my opinion, he’s one of the top 5 quarterbacks of all time. But it’s over.

BREES: REGULAR SEASON HOME STARTS SINCE 2017
YearOppResultComAttPctYdsTDInt
2017N.E.L 20-36274560%35620
2017Det.W 52-38203067%18622
2017Chi.W 20-12232882%29900
2017T.B.W 30-10222781%26320
2017Was.W 34-31294171%38521
2017Car.W 31-21253474%26910
2017NYJW 31-19263672%28121
2017Atl.W 23-13212875%23911
2018T.B.L 40-48374582%43930
2018Clev.W 21-18283580%24320
2018Was.W 43-19262990%36330
2018LARW 45-35253669%34640
2018Phil.W 48-7223073%36340
2018Atl.W 31-17152268%17141
2018Pitt.W 31-28273969%32610
2019Hou.W 30-28324374%37021
2019Ariz.W 31-9344379%37331
2019Atl.L 9-26324571%28700
2019Car.W 34-31303977%31131
2019S.F.L 46-48294073%34950
2019Ind.W 34-7293097%30740
2020T.B.W 34-23183060%16020
2020G.B.L 30-37293681%28830
2020LACW 30-27334770%32511
2020Car.W 27-24293681%28720
2020S.F.W 27-1381362%7610
2020K.C.L 29-32153444%23431
2020Min.W 52-33192673%31102
BREES: PLAYOFF STARTS SINCE 2017
YearOppResultComAttPctYdsTDInt
2017Car.W 31-26233370%37621
2017at Min.L 24-29254062.529432
2018Phil.W 20-14283874%30121
2018LARL 23-26264065%24921
2019Min.L 20-26263379%20811
2020Chi.W 21-9283972%26520
2020T.B.L 20-30193456%13413

—Ian Allan

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