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As he returns, Drew Brees needs to improve playoffs performances

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Brees has been underwhelming in the Saints’ past three playoffs losses

NFL: NFC Wild Card-Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

There will be a familiar “Number 9” jersey taking snaps under center for the New Orleans Saints in the 2020-2021 NFL season. Drew Brees is coming back to the Saints for one more season, and that deep exhale you’ve just heard came from the great city of New Orleans. Think about it, there are some 12-year old Saints fans who know nothing but the Saints as a winning franchise with Drew Brees as their quarterback. I know, crazy right?

Yet, in the midst of all the cheers, you are hearing some groans too. More people than you think were ready for a change in NOLA: The Teddy era. Maybe the Taysom era. Wait…what is wrong with those heretics you wonder? After all, isn’t Breesus a living deity in New Orleans? Hasn’t he presided over the miraculous rebirth of the game of professional football in Louisiana and in the entire Gulf Coast region? Oh yes, he has! However, in the last three years, a loaded Saints team led by Brees has repeatedly fallen short of the ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl. They haven’t just lost either, they’ve crashed and burned in the most horrendous fashion, and during said losses, Drew Brees was not without reproach. Dare I say he was actually an integral part of the losing.

The postseason is where legends are born and Brees’ legend was cemented on February 7, 2010, when he led the Saints to their first Super Bowl victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Miami. Alas, since that game, he and the Saints have made six more playoff appearances, compiling a mediocre 4-6 record with exactly zero ring. Even more damning, the past three seasons, the Saints have had one of the best rosters in the NFL, only to fail to even reach the Super Bowl.

Now before you start hurling rotten tomatoes my way and proceed to blaming the defense for the Saints’ crushing playoffs failures of the last three seasons, let’s examine the play of Drew Brees in New Orleans’ past three playoffs losses:

Wild Card Round - Minnesota Vikings v New Orleans Saints Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

2017: Divisional Round, Saints at Vikings, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN

A game for the ages, one that is forever known for the so-called “Minneapolis Miracle.” However, there was a lot of football played before that ill-fated last-minute play. And from Drew Brees, a lot of bad football in the first half. While helping the Vikings to a 17-0 halftime lead, Brees went 8-for-18, with 117 yards and two interceptions. His quarterback rating after 30 minutes of play was 26.6! Brees would finally wake up in the second half, going 17-for-22, with 177 yards and three touchdowns, nearly leading the Saints to an improbable victory. Alas, football is a 60-minute game, and both halves count. At the end of the game, Brees’ quarterback rating was a paltry 89.0. with New Orleans suffering yet another legendarily heartbreaking loss.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400

2018: NFC Championship Game, Rams at Saints, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA

Everyone remembers the “NOLA No-Call” and they should: it was an egregious play, an egregious error by the officials and forever another soul-crushing moment for the New Orleans Saints (by the way, someone needs to sacrifice a red chicken to Marie Laveau again, because this is getting old). What most everyone forgets is that the game continued after that play. The Saints scored a field goal, went up 23-20. The defense held the Rams to a game-tying field goal and the Saints got the ball first going into overtime. Brees then proceeded to go 0-for-3 passing, with a crucial interception that gave Los Angeles the ball at their own 46-yard line, needing only a field goal to go the Super Bowl. The Saints had the ball in their future Hall-of-Fame quarterback with a chance to go to just the second-ever Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. Instead, the only pass he completed was to safety John Johnson. The rest is a regular New Orleans football nightmare.

NFL: NFC Divisional Playoff-New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

2019: NFC Wild Card Game, Vikings at Saints, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA

After finishing the season 13-3 and narrowly missing out on the top seed in the NFC, the Saints still had a great deal of the momentum from a great regular season as they entered Wild Card weekend. They were playing at home against the hated Vikings, so one might have expected them to come out fired up, ready to exorcise the demons of U.S. Bank Stadium. Right? Wrong! Brees brought back his recent postseason first half blues, delivering an 8-for-12 first half passing performance, with zero touchdown, one interception and a terrible QB rating of 44.8. The Saints’ quarterback would turn the ball over one more time, a crucial fumble when the Saints were driving to score. He would finish the game with a 90.4 passer rating, yet another sub-100 postseason rating. New Orleans would become the first ever 13-3 team in the NFL playoff history to lose in the Wild Card round. Because, of course!


Epilogue

Like most Saints fans, I am elated to see Brees back under center for one more season. I am also hoping that the fourth time is the charm. Yes, I know that’s not how the saying goes, and maybe that is why I am not as optimistic with Brees’ return. Father Time eventually wins over us all, and despite having had great regular seasons the past three years, when push has come to shove, the 41-year old Brees has blinked. Not once, not twice, but three times.

The 2020 NFL season may be Brees’ last and I am hoping against all hope that it will end with Brees walking into the sunset with a second Super Bowl ring. Or at the very least, a dignified exit in the playoffs. A good game, one where the opponent was just better and beat the Saints. Not one where our franchise quarterback didn’t really show up until it was too little too late, because in the last three Saints’ playoff losses, that’s what happened.

Poll

Is it safe to say that Drew Brees needs to play better if the Saints make the playoffs in 2020?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    Yes he does. He has been mediocre the last three postseason appearances.
    (216 votes)
  • 6%
    You are crazy! Without him the Saints wouldn’t have even made the playoffs!
    (44 votes)
  • 47%
    Yes he does, but so does everyone around him, plus the defense and special teams
    (301 votes)
  • 9%
    I am ready for Teddy or Taysom!
    (57 votes)
  • 2%
    You’re not yourself when you’re hungry, bro. Eat a burger!
    (13 votes)
631 votes total Vote Now