Curtains down for Drew Brees, but there wasn’t much cause for a curtain call.
Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reported something prior to Sunday night’s Saints vs. Buccaneers matchup that has seemed like a foregone conclusion: the NFC divisional game would be the last in Brees’ illustrious career.
And boy, it wasn’t a minute too soon.
The potential swan song for one of the league’s most prolific passers was an awkward record scratch of a performance: 19-of-34 passing, 134 yards, a touchdown and three killer interceptions, including one that essentially iced the game for the Buccaneers.
(Buccaneers defensive back Mike Edwards is definitely going to become the answer to a trivia question.)
Brees’ other two interceptions were equally as head-scratching. The picks helped the Bucs come from behind to notch a 30-20 victory in New Orleans, their first win vs. the Saints in the 2020 season after New Orleans blew them out in two regular-season meetings.
If this was the last game of Brees’ career, then it was a showcase of what Brees simply can’t do anymore — push the ball downfield. The attacking Brees arm was a staple of Saints coach Sean Payton’s game plan for so many years, but Brees has made his living on short throws in recent seasons, with his 6.0 intended air yards per attempt one of the lowest marks in all of football in 2020. He ranked just ahead of Washington’s Alex Smith.
Sunday was more of the same: Brees and the Saints resorted to lots of underneath stuff and a dink-and-dunk plan, with the team’s only big-bang play, a 56-yard touchdown pass, coming by way of Jameis Winston trickeration. Brees himself netted a nice touchdown pass to Tre’Quan Smith on a well-placed ball, but he couldn’t muster enough arm to make a difference otherwise.
If this was the last game of Brees’ career, then he might have lots of sleepless nights over it — but his potential impending retirement won’t come a minute too soon.