When facing a team like the Seattle Seahawks on the road in a venue like CenturyLink Field, the New Orleans Saints will have to play their best game on all fronts. The defense will have to solid against Marshawn Lynch and company while the offense will have to be crisp against the Legion of Boom. The second part of this equation begins and end with Drew Brees.
Though Brees is the heart and soul of this team as well as the face of the franchise, he is actually one of the main roots to the road woes the Saints have had this season. And more than anything else, Brees’ problem has been turning the ball over. In three consecutive road games, Brees has thrown 2 interceptions.
Even in the Wild Card matchup with Philadelphia, his two first half interceptions somewhat go unnoticed; however, those turnovers are really what kept the Eagles in game. Luckily our defense put on a stellar performance.
In the first matchup with Seattle, it was Brees’ sack fumble that led to a touchdown for the Seahawks and really triggered a snowball effect in what ultimately ended as a 34-7 beat down. Against the St. Louis Rams, Brees’ 2 first half interceptions (one that was especially egregious as he tried to fit it in triple coverage) put New Orleans in 14-0 hole to begin the game.
Finally, against Carolina on the road, a game that would have clinched the number two seed, his 2 interceptions led to 7 points in a game that was decided by four. Even earlier in the season, it was Brees’ pick six that almost cost the Saints a road victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Though it is a little harsh scrutinizing every one of Brees’ mistakes, he is held to highest standard as he has spoiled fans with all the broken records and special performances. Bottom line. Drew Brees must play better because ultimately he has the most to do with the outcome of the game. And this will start with how well he can protect the ball against a defense that has led the league in takeaways.
Sean Payton can help with Brees remedy this problem with a fair amount of short completions to get Brees in an early rhythm, as well as a healthy dose of Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson so Brees doesn’t have to do it all by himself.
It is frustrating that the best piece of this Saints’ team is the one holding them back at times from road success. On the other side of that coin, if there is anyone on this team who can fix their own problems, it is Mr. Brees.
Drew Brees will have to play his best game of the season for the Saints to win this game, but that might not mean over 400 yards and 3 touchdowns (though it would be nice). It could mean just a pedestrian 250 yards and 1 touchdown with, most importantly, NO TURNOVERS. Brees will just have to gauge the flow of game to see whether he should manage the game or take over. Whatever the case may be, Brees doesn’t have to be the reason the Saints win, but he absolutely CANNOT be the reason the Saints lose.