For way too long, the Saints usually couldn't win without a stellar performance from Drew Brees in a “score fest." But yesterday they did, and recently they have, because in the midst of this four-game winning streak that has them surprisingly atop the NFC South, he hasn't had to.
Now, thanks to a patient and productive running game and a shockingly improved defense, the Saints can win by overcoming his rare lapses.
Combining the fourth quarter of the Lions game and the first quarter of yesterday's Packer game, Brees was 10 of 18 for 106 yards and three interceptions. After not throwing any interceptions in his first 166 passes this season, he has since thrown four in his last 52. He threw two in the first quarter yesterday for only the third time in his career.
And the Saints have still won. In fact, in both victories over the Lions and the Packers, Brees' quarterback rating was under 85. The last time he had enough support to overcome such an abnormal performance in back-to-back victories came against the Bills and the Jets back in 2009 early in a season that ended in super bowl 44.
The Saints surrendered 7 and 10 points in those wins.
The offensively challenged Chicago Bears are here Sunday, a team that has won two straight while completing a total of 12 passes in those two wins. A team whose wide receivers have a total of one touchdown catch. A team whose rookie safety Eddie Jackson scored two touchdowns yesterday - more than the Panthers, Browns, Titans, Cardinals, Broncos, Colts and Falcons combined.
Points could be hard to come by for the Saints on Sunday, but they could be all right with that. It's been a long time since anyone around here dared to make that statement.
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