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Before Drew Brees could blow kisses to the adoring
11-02-2019, 06:27 AM
Post: #1
200
Before Drew Brees could blow kisses to the adoring
Superdome crowd Limited Vonn Bell Jersey , before he could embrace his wife and children on the sideline, the Saints' 39-year-old quarterback had to shred one of the NFL's top pass defenses with ruthless efficiency.And so he did.Brees passed Peyton Manning to become the NFL's all-time leader in yards passing with a 62-yard touchdown to rookie Tre'Quan Smith on Monday night that sent New Orleans on its way to a lopsided 43-19 victory over the mistake-prone Washington Redskins."It's hard for me to reflect too much right now just because my career's not done. There are still goals to be accomplished. There are still challenges to be met. And so I'm still very focused on that," Brees said. "And yet, when something like this happens, there are so many people who are responsible for that, that are a part of that, that makes me happy. It makes me proud and it makes me extremely grateful 鈥?extremely grateful for the opportunity to play this game, to play it as long as I've played it, to have wound up here in New Orleans."It's just been an unbelievable journey."Brees entered the game needing 201 yards to eclipse Peyton Manning's previous mark of 71,940 yards. He had 250 yards and two touchdowns by halftime and finished 26 of 29 for 363 yards and three touchdowns. He has yet to throw an interception this season. He did, however, make his eighth career reception on his own deflected pass, and pushed across the line of scrimmage to add an extra yard to his career total."He throws for 5,000 yards just like he's sleeping at night, and it's crazy to see that," Redskins cornerback Josh Norman said. "He's at the top of them all right now 鈥?and he's not done yet."The Saints' Smith, a third-round draft choice last spring, caught two touchdown passes from the 18th-year pro. Brees also hit Smith for a 35-yard score down the right sideline early in the third quarter.Any hope Washington had of coming back was all but snuffed out when Justin Hardee, a special teams regular who was in the game because of Marshon Lattimore's concussion symptoms, snagged Alex Smith's underthrown pass at the Saints' 19-yard line and returned his first career interception to the Washington 4.That set up change-of-pace QB Taysom Hill's 1-yard touchdown run that put the Saints (4-1) up 40-13.Smith completed 23 of 39 passes for 275 yards for the Redskins (2-2). He ran for a short touchdown late in the first half that pulled Washington within 26-13.MAKING MEMORIESWhen Saints began one of their last first-half possessions on their own 38, Brees needed just 35 yards to break the record. On the first play of the drive, Brees launched a pass toward the right sideline to the speedy Smith, who was wide open and easily sprinted away from Nicholson's tackle attempt en route to the end zone."I knew we were within striking distance" of the record, Brees said. "I didn't know it was going to happen on the first play to Tre'Quan. But I don't think it could have happened in any better fashion than it did. To have then that moment with my teammates on the field, the offensive line, it played out even greater than I ever could have imagined."Brees' teammates ran toward their quarterback as he jogged behind the play, and a group of them formed a jumping, celebrating mass of black and gold next to the Saints' fleur-de-lis emblem on the 50-yard line.Brees then removed his helmet, saluted fans and exchanged hugs on the sideline with his wife, Brittany, their four kids and Saints coach Sean Payton. The ball was handed over to Pro Football Hall of Fame officials.With the game well in hand after the two-minute warning, Payton subbed Brees out of the game. As Teddy Bridgwater ran onto the field and Brees trotted to the sideline Authentic Thomas Morstead Jersey , Brees got one last ovation before fans began chanting: "Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints."INGRAM'S RETURNRunning back Mark Ingram, playing in his first game this season after serving a four-game suspension, scored two touchdowns on 2- and 1-yard runs in the first half.He finished with 53 yards rushing and 20 receiving."It's great to have him back," Payton said, stressing the Ingram's presence reduces the physical toll on fellow running back Alvin Kamara. "That combination 鈥?those are two real good running backs."PAINFUL PENALTIESThe Redskins came in allowing fewer than 190 yards passing per game and spoke of doing what they could to prevent Brees from making history. Instead, they helped Brees pile up first-half yards with third-down penalties that extended two touchdown drives.Norman's defensive holding penalty during Brees' incomplete pass sustained the Saints' first scoring drive, capped by Ingram's short touchdown run.In the second quarter, Montae Nicholson's unnecessary roughness penalty for leveling Ingram on Ryan Kerrigan's third-down sack extended a drive that ended with Brees' short TD pass to tight end Josh Hill.INJURIESRedskins: Chris Thompson took a heavy hit from Saints linebacker Craig Robertson and received treatment on the field before getting up and walking to the sideline holding his helmet. Redskins coach Jay Gruden said he had a rib injury. Gruden also said running back Adrian Peterson has a shoulder strain and will have an MRI. Receiver Paul Richardson Jr. stained his knee and tight end Vernon Davis had a hamstring injury.Saints: In addition to Lattimore, reserve defensive lineman Taylor Stallworth limped off the field, favoring his right leg.UP NEXTRedskins: Host Carolina on Sunday.Saints: Enter their bye week before returning to action at Baltimore on Oct. 21. While Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan stressed that New Orleans doesn't fear going on the road in the playoffs, he readily acknowledged the advantages of staying in the Superdome.New Orleans (12-2) can lock up the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs with a victory over visiting Pittsburgh (8-5-1) on Sunday."That would be huge," said Jordan, referencing what he calls "dome-field advantage."The Saints did fine on the road this season, going 7-1. They won't finish any better in the Superdome, where they are 5-1 with two regular-season home games left. But New Orleans' offense generally has been better at home, where Drew Brees' pre-snap instructions ?and center Max Unger's line calls ?are easier for teammates to hear. The Saints have averaged about 38 points at home, but their road scoring average dipped about nine points below that after three straight road games in which they were held to 28 or less in each game and to 12 or fewer points twice."It's been almost a month since we've been at the dome, so it'll be nice to be back in there," Brees said. "Obviously we've got a lot going for us right now ?a lot at stake."In reality, the Saints don't have that much riding on Sunday's game ?certainly not as much as the Steelers, who could still win the AFC North but haven't clinched a playoff berth yet. New Orleans already has won a second straight NFC South crown and will finish as a top seed even if it splits its next two games. But from the standpoint of offensive production, playoff history and promoting optimal health, the Saints know they'd be best served by beating Pittsburgh.In franchise history, the Saints are 1-7 in playoff games away from the Superdome. Since coach Sean Payton and Brees arrived in 2006, the Saints have not lost any of their five home playoff games. The one season they won the Super Bowl, they were the NFC's No. 1 seed.In fact, no Super Bowl participant has won a single road playoff game since the 2012 Baltimore Ravens won at Denver and New England en route to their title-winning tilt with San Francisco in New Orleans.Meanwhile, key Saints players could get as much as two weeks rest 鈥?the regular-season finale and the playoff bye 鈥?if New Orleans wins this week."Rest is much needed to get our bodies right," Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore said. "Take a week, or two (off) if we clinch it this week. Hopefully rest the starters for the last game."The Steelers can't worry about rest 鈥?not even after improving their postseason outlook with a victory over New England last week."We just want to get into the playoffs," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. "It doesn't matter how you get in, we just want to get in. Obviously Trey Hendrickson Jersey , the first and second seed you would like, but I don't think we can get that now. So, let's just find a way to get in."Some other prominent story lines surround the Steelers' visit to the Superdome:BOWING UPDespite a significant slowdown offensively during their past three games, the Saints went 2-1 during that stretch because of strong defensive play.New Orleans, which struggled defensively early this season, has not allowed any of its past six opponents to score more than 17 points and has held two teams to less than 10."The offense was really getting us through the games at the beginning of the season and the roles flipped," Lattimore said. "Nobody pointed fingers. We just got the job done. That's the biggest thing, just playing as a team."JAYSAM'S JOURNEYSteelers rookie running back Jaylen Samuels will start his third straight game in place of injured Pro Bowler James Conner, who is hobbled by a sprained left ankle.Samuels, a fifth-round pick, lit up New England for 172 total yards. Not bad for a player who was asked to work out as a tight end at the NFL combine. The going could get considerably tougher against New Orleans, which leads the league in rush defense (79.1 yards per game).RESPECTBrees is the third high-profile quarterback the Steelers have faced in four weeks, joining New England's Tom Brady and Philip Rivers of the Los Angeles Chargers. Roethlisberger, who only knows Brees casually from run-ins at the Pro Bowl, isn't sure Brees has gotten enough credit for his record-setting career."He's incredibly athletic ... and a tireless worker," Roethlisberger said. "Not really known for a huge arm, but can pretty much make any throw. I have a lot of respect for that guy."JORDAN'S JUDGMENTJordan, the Saints' sacks leader, sounded incredulous when a media member referred to Roethlisberger as a "future Hall-of-Fame quarterback" during an interview in New Orleans' locker room.Grimacing and turning his head sharply, Jordan said: "It that true? Really? In this era? You'd put him at like a top three of this era? Top five of this era?"Jordan listed Brees, New England's Tom Brady, Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers, the Los Angeles Chargers' Philip Rivers, the retired Peyton Manning and the Giants' Eli Manning as QB's he'd place above Roethlisberger.This season, Roethlisberger's 4,462 yards rank second behind only Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes in the NFL.Jordan, a first-time All Pro last season, has 12 sacks to go with 17 tackles for losses, a forced fumble and fumble recovery.AP Sports Writer Will Graves in Pittsburgh contributed. Custom Atlanta Falcons Jerseys
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