(WVUE) - It's an approach I honestly never thought I'd see a team take with Drew Brees at the helm.
The Panthers went into Sunday's matchup with the gameplan of stopping the Saints running game, and forcing their opponent's Hall of Fame quarterback to beat them.
Carolina dared Drew Brees, one of the game's all-time greats, to be great. He responded with his finest performance of the season.
While the Panthers were hellbent on shutting down Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, Brees stepped up and shredded their secondary. He finished 23-of-33 passing for 376 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception that actually helped his team.
If there was ever any doubt, ol' #9 proved he can still sling it with the best of them. Just because he hasn't had to do it as much this year, doesn't mean he can't get it done.
"If a team is going to do that, then I feel like with the matchups we have outside, that there should be opportunities," Brees said after the game.
That's Drew's nice way of saying he made them pay.
But think about what Ron Rivera was essentially saying. He feared Kamara and Ingram so much, that he felt it was in his team's best interest to take their chances with one of the best to ever play the most important position.
This tells you all you need to know about the current state of the Saints. They're feared in more ways than just Brees. The crazy thing is, it wasn't all that crazy, and actually a decent idea. It almost worked.
Ingram and Kamara torched the Panthers for nearly 250 yards in their previous two meetings. Carolina was manhandled in both of the games. They rushed for 45 yards on Sunday, and the Panthers nearly came away with the upset because of it.
Fortunately for the Saints, that didn't happen. Their best player, was the best player on the field Sunday, and delivered once again like he's done so many times before.