NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -
The average touchdown drive is tough enough on its own, especially against an Eagles defense that made the Saints work for every yard, but what the Saints pulled off in the third quarter today was nothing short of incredible.
On the box score, it goes down as 92 yards. But in reality, with penalties, the Saints had to drive 117 yards on that go-ahead touchdown drive that changed the game.
"I don't know if that's a record because of the penalties that kept setting us back," says quarterback Drew Brees with a laugh.
But while it's easy to look back and smile now, the penalties on that drive were no joking matter, especially when one of them wiped out what would have been a brilliant touchdown pass from Taysom Hill to Alvin Kamara.
"We missed an opportunity with the first and then missed one thereafter with the penalty," says Taysom Hill, who nearly had touchdowns on back-to-back plays. "But that's one of things where coach is a mastermind at finding match-ups, and that's what he did."
But where there's a Michael Thomas, there's a way. On that drive alone, number 13 was responsible for converting a second and nine, second and 20, and third and 16.
"When we're out there, we feel like no one can stop us," said Thomas about his relationship with Brees. "No one can stop us. I just feel like we build every week. I have his back. He has my back. We have each other's back."
"He practices that way everyday in practice with that same intensity and attention to detail and fire and passion and competitive drive," says Brees. "We try to put ourselves in those moments in practice. Then when game day shows up and we're making those same plays, it's no surprise to us."
What often goes unnoticed with a drive like that is the benefit it has for the other side of the ball as well. After a quick Philadelphia possession to start the third, the Saints defense basically had an entire quarter to rest before taking the field once again and continuing to dominate the Eagles offense for the rest of the game.
"Sitting there, watching the offense go to work while we're sitting there resting, that helps us no matter what," says defensive tackle Tyeler Davison. "I think that provided a huge boost to the rest of the team."
At the end of the day though, a drive like that isn't possible without one of the greatest to ever play the game under center.
“When you go through adversity and you have penalties, everyone looks to nine,” says Hill. “And he comes up big every time. We all trust that dude, and at the end of the day, he just keeps leading us. He never got discouraged, and we converted a lot of big plays and overcame a lot of penalties.”