Chip Scoggins: Saints' Brees boasts MVP-worthy credentials

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 18, 2011 - 11:12 PM

His brilliant performance Sunday — 412 yards passing, five touchdown passes — shouted that Aaron Rodgers has competition for the award.


Saints star quarterback Drew Brees (9) picked apart the Vikings defense with the greatest of ease Sunday.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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By the time Drew Brees left Sunday's game early in the fourth quarter, his workday complete, he had more touchdown passes than Christian Ponder had completions.

Brees also set an NFL record with his 11th 300-yard passing game this season, established a career high in touchdown passes and inched closer to Dan Marino's single-season record for passing yards.

He also sent notice that the NFL MVP race is not just a one-man show.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the presumed front-runner, has performed brilliantly this season, although he looked decidedly human in the Packers' stunning loss to the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday. But nobody on the planet is playing at a higher, more efficient level than the New Orleans Saints quarterback right now.

"He's definitely got my vote," Saints receiver Marques Colston said.

OK, so he's a little biased, but he'd probably get no argument from anyone inside the Vikings locker room after Brees carved up their defense like a butcher in a 42-20 rout.

Brees completed 32 of 40 passes for 412 yards and five touchdowns. He did not take a sack or throw an interception and basically did whatever he wanted with the ball.

Brees versus the Vikings secondary represented perhaps the greatest mismatch in the history of organized football. Or at least since the advent of the forward pass.

"Drew is playing at a level right now ... I really don't know any other person playing the way he's playing," Saints running back Darren Sproles said.

Brees runs the Saints offense like a maestro. Smooth, under control and with authority. It's something to behold, the way he makes a difficult job look so incredibly easy.

"It's never easy," he insisted.

He got little resistance from a Vikings defense that had a snowball's chance under optimum conditions, much less one that was disinterested and lacking talent. Brees picked them apart, completing passes to nine players and keeping the defense off-balance by mixing up his throws.

The Saints collection of playmakers at skill positions is certainly impressive, but Brees brings out the best in all of them. He keeps everyone involved by standing in the pocket until he locates his open man. Rarely does he make a bad decision or miss his target, which is why he's completing 72 percent of his passes.

"When Drew's out there, all we've got to do is go play," receiver Lance Moore said.

Brees steps up in the pocket when he feels pressure on the outside better than any quarterback in football. If he can't find an open receiver downfield, he's content to dump the ball off to a running back. Brees has been sacked only 23 times this season, a staggering number when you consider he has attempted 583 passes.

"I think his pocket presence is second to none," Saints backup quarterback Chase Daniel said. "I think that's what makes him pretty special and sets him aside from everyone else."

So do his statistics. Brees now has 4,780 passing yards this season, leaving him only 304 yards behind Marino's record of 5,084. That record looks like a cinch to change hands with two games remaining.

Brees also surpassed the 40,000-yard mark for his career Sunday and probably will add a few more personal and team records before he's finish this season. He just shrugged when asked about his statistics.

"I really don't think about it a whole lot," he said.

Not even Marino's record?

"I'm aware that we're close," he said. "Don't know exactly how close."

The fact he used the word "we" to describe his pursuit of an individual record reveals a humbleness that resonates within his locker room. Brees said he's never felt more comfortable running an offense in his career, then proceeded to mention nearly every position group and assistant coach in explaining why.

Brees comes across as genuine in his desire to share the spotlight. The attention is focused squarely on him though.

"You really can't put it into words the things he's been able to do with this offense," Colston said.

Which is true. Sometimes it's best to just watch.

Chip Scoggins •

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Tennessee 13 FINAL
Jacksonville 21
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
New York 97 FINAL
Chicago 103
New Orleans 99 FINAL
Houston 90
Milwaukee 108 FINAL
Sacramento 107
Oklahoma City 109 FINAL
Golden State 114
Florida 2 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 1
Colorado 0 FINAL(OT)
Pittsburgh 1
Toronto 1 FINAL
Carolina 4
Washington 5 FINAL(OT)
Columbus 4
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Montreal 1
St. Louis 4 FINAL
Los Angeles 6
Edmonton 3 FINAL
San Jose 4
St Thomas (TX) 61 FINAL
Rice 72
Stony Brook 59 FINAL
Canisius 60
Temple 82 FINAL
Delaware 62
Long Island 69
Lehigh 65 FINAL
Quinnipiac 80
South Alabama 54 FINAL
Richmond 65
Seton Hall 89 FINAL
South Florida 69
Ga Southern 76 FINAL
Stetson 67
Yale 57 FINAL
Vermont 56
Cleveland State 54 FINAL
Virginia 70
Wright State 69 FINAL
Western Carolina 56
Nicholls 54 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 79
Morgan State 48 FINAL
Rider 62
Idaho State 72 FINAL
South Dakota St 75
Oakland City 52 FINAL
Austin Peay 76
Eureka 38 FINAL
Bradley 80
Appalachian St 65 FINAL
Charlotte 75
Connecticut 56 FINAL
Duke 66
Southern Miss 46 FINAL
Jackson State 66
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Ole Miss 71
Montana State 53 FINAL
South Dakota 55
UAB 70
Ohio 69 FINAL
Evansville 81
CS-Dominguez 50 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 72
Walla Walla 39 FINAL
Idaho 86
DePaul 59 FINAL
Oregon State 90
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Pacific 69
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San Francisco 77
CS-Bakersfield 56 FINAL
Utah State 57
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
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Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
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Air Force
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Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
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VA Commonwealth 81
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Charlotte 66
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Bradley 59
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Drake 102
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Marquette 80
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Howard 48
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Ole Miss 68
Rider 67
Miami-Florida 74 FINAL
St Mary-KS 51 FINAL
South Dakota 115
William & Mary 71 FINAL
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USC 96
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Indiana-Southeast 45 FINAL
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Detroit 74
Tenn Temple 48 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 68
West Virginia St 58 FINAL
Radford 52
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Seton Hall 79
Dartmouth 44 FINAL
New Hampshire 60
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Pittsburgh 59
Jacksonville 61 FINAL
Tennessee St 64
Trine 45 FINAL
Western Mich 81
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Lipscomb 72
Samford 56 FINAL
Tulane 57
New Orleans 55 FINAL
Tulsa 78
Incarnate Word 61 FINAL
TX-Pan American 65
Ark-Little Rock 42 FINAL
South Dakota St 67
CS-Northridge 77 FINAL
Northern Ariz 71
Santa Clara 88 FINAL
Oregon 92
(19) Oklahoma St 55 FINAL
Weber State 49
Washington 69 FINAL
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New Mexico 84
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Grand Canyon 51
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
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Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
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