Brees completed 29 of 50 passes for 350 yards, two touchdowns and a pick in Sunday's loss to Atlanta. Despite a back-breaking pick in the end zone midway through the fourth quarter, Brees led the Saints' frantic fourth-quarter comeback rally with touchdown strikes to Michael Thomas and Travis Cadet. It wasn't enough and the Saints end the season with another so-so record: not quite bad enough to rebuild, but not good enough in an improving NFC South. The popular answer to the Saints' woes in recent off-seasons has been to point the finger at Sean Payton and Brees and, though the veteran pitched some ugly performances down the stretch, he actually had his best statistical season in several years. Brees managed to top 5,000 yards passing and 35 touchdowns for the first time since 2013.
Brees completed 23 of 34 passes for 299 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions in Saturday's 31-24 win over the Bucs. He also gained a yard on four rushes. Brees bounced back from a sub-par, three-interception outing against this same Bucs squad two weeks prior, coming within a yard of his fourth 300-yard outing in the last five games. He was effective downfield when called upon, and otherwise let Mark Ingram carry a sizable load of the offense on his shoulders. Factoring in Saturday's production, Brees needs just 142 yards passing in Week 17 versus the Falcons for the fifth 5,000-yard season of his career.
Brees completed 37 of 48 passes for 388 yards and four touchdowns in Sunday's wild 48-41 win at Arizona. Brees lost a fumble in the second quarter that was returned for a touchdown. That was practically his only mistake, especially in the first half, when he completed 16 of 20 passes for 188 yards and three touchdowns, including a pretty 65-yard score to Brandin Cooks. After not throwing a single touchdown pass in two straight games, Brees more than made up for it Sunday, matching his season high in scoring strikes. He'll look to keep it going next week at home against Tampa Bay.
Brees (rest) practiced in full Thursday. Head coach Sean Payton told Mike Triplett of ESPN.com that Brees was listed as a limited participant Wednesday in to hold him to a "pitch count." The preceding has been done in the past with the 37-year-old quarterback, per Payton, but never reached the point where Brees could be considered "limited". With his workload back to normal, Brees will now take aim at a Cardinals defense that hasn't allowed a 300-yard passer this season, yet the unit has allowed six touchdown passes to QBs over the last three games.
Brees was listed as limited on Wednesday's for non-injury reasons. Afterward, he noted that the capped practice was "just [for] rest", according to Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. Brees has been an iron man as a member of the Saints, missing just two contests in nearly 11 seasons with the organization. And one of those occurred at the end of the 2009 regular season that concluded with a victory in Super Bowl XLIV. He is coming off back-to-back zero-TD, three-interception performances, so perhaps head coach Sean Payton is using the tactic as a means to refocus his franchise quarterback. Brees is just 830 yards short of the fifth 5,000-yard campaign of his career with three games remaining, so he'll aim to bounce back Sunday against a Cardinals defense with injury concerns across the back end.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
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