Drew Brees: Your NFL MVP at the Quarter Pole
Things are really going well for the New Orleans Saints.
Maybe it is the running game, which has finally started to come around. Maybe it is the fact that they are getting good production out of their offensive line. Maybe it is that the defense is not blowing leads and is beginning to play well.
Or, maybe it is Drew Brees.
So far this year, Brees already has 87 completions, a 67.4 completion percentage, 1,031 yards, nine touchdowns, two interceptions, and an astounding 108.4 quarterback rating.
In addition to his numbers, Brees has also put his team in first place in the NFC South and a tie for the NFL best with a 4-0 record.
He got things going in the right direction in the season opener against the Detroit Lions, when he burned and humiliated Detroit's secondary.
He started things off with a 9-yard touchdown pass to his favorite receiver, Marques Colston.
He then hit Robert Meachem for a 39-yard score.
In the second quarter, Brees found Jeremy Shockey in the end zone from 1 yard out. Later in the quarter, he completed a pass to Shockey again, this time for a 15-yard TD. It should be noted that Shockey had zero touchdowns last year.
In the second half, Drew threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Devery Henderson.
In the last quarter, Brees threw his last score, a 13-yard completion to the newly acquired Heath Evans.
Henderson was his leading receiver that day when he caught five passes for 103 yards and the touchdown.
In all, he was 26-of-34 and posted 358 yards, six touchdowns, and an unbelievable 137 QB rating in a 45-27 blowout over the Lions.
Getting torched like that is bad even by Detroit's standards.
After this game, Brees was on pace for 96 touchdowns on the year. Although his touchdown rate has since dropped off, he still was dominant in his next game.
He picked up where he had left off in Week One with a 15-yard TD strike to Marques Colston early in the first quarter.
In the next quarter, Brees again located Colston, who, in turn, made his way into the end zone on a 25-yard touchdown.
His final touchdown came when he threw an 11-yard pass to fullback Heath Evans in the third quarter.
On the day, Brees was 25-of-34 and had 311 yards, three touchdowns, one interception, and a solid 118.6 QB rating.
More importantly, he lead the Saints to a 48-22 victory over the Eagles.
Week Three was a different story for Brees and the Saints, though.
They played against the Buffalo Bills, who, although they do not have the greatest defense, were able to slow down Brees' production by putting all of his emphasis on stopping the aerial attack.
As a result, Brees only was able to convert on 16 of his 29 passes. He had a season-low 172 yards and did not throw a single touchdown. He didn't have any interceptions either, but did lose a fumble. He also ran for 8 yards on six carries. He finished the game with a QB rating of 72.8.
Colston was again the team's leading receiver, but this time he only had 67 yards. The running game was what fueled the team that day, as Pierre Thomas carried the load for the Saints in a 27-7 win.
The New York Jets took a similar approach when they met the Saints in Week Four.
Once again, Brees failed to reach the 200-yard mark and was held without a touchdown.
The defense was the difference in this game. New Orleans' D was able to score two touchdowns, and finished the day with 14 of the team's 24 points. It forced four turnovers in all.
Thomas also played well, but he was not the main focus of the Jets' defense.
This, obviously, was Brees, who had just 190 yards on 20-of-32 passing. He also had 5 yards on the ground and a 78.9 rating. His main target was Thomas, who had 46 yards receiving.
Nonetheless, the Saints won the game, 24-10.
Although it appears that teams have figured out how to stop Brees from picking them apart, this is only possible when they focus solely on the passing attack and, for the most part, ignore the running game.
But this strategy has yet to work because the Saints are still 4-0. As soon as his opponents begin to respect the New Orleans running backs, Brees will be back to form.
Last year, Drew had career bests with 5,069 yards and 34 touchdowns. His 413 completions and 13 sacks taken were the second best of his career, and the only time he ever took fewer sacks was his rookie year, when appeared in only one game. His 96.2 QB rating was a tie for his second highest.
At age 30, it appears Brees is in his prime right now. Since 2001, it was apparent that Brees was going to have a great career. He started off on the right foot with the San Diego Chargers and is now doing even better with New Orleans.
He looked very good a few years ago, and now that he is at his peak, he appears to be one of the most dangerous players in the league.
Brees is currently the leader of the NFL's highest scoring team, averaging 36.0 points per game, and the league's No. 2 offense, which has an average of 414.2 yards per game.
He has completed passes to 10 different receivers already this season.
Jeremy Shockey is the team's leading receiver, having already caught 18 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns.
The team's most productive receiver, as he leads the team in receiving touchdowns and is barely second in yards, has been Colston. He has 17 catches 228 yards and three scores.
The only guy on the Saints who has more yards than him is Henderson, who has 14 receptions, 235 yards, and one TD.
Reggie Bush has been a reliable option out of the backfield for Brees to throw to, as he has already caught 14 balls for 121 yards.
Likewise, Heath Evans has been a solid option when releasing from the backfield. Brees has found him seven times for 62 yards and a pair scores this year.
Pierre Thomas has five catches for 42 yards this year.
Robert Meachem and David Thomas each have four receptions, with Meachem gaining 52 yards and scoring a touchdown, while David Thomas has 52 yards.
Finally, there is Lance Moore, who has three catches for 39 yards, and Mike Bell, who has one grab for 9 yards.
This just goes to show how Brees is able to spread the ball around the field and keep teams from keying in on one or two guys.
For all of these reasons, it is apparent that Brees is making a case for NFL MVP honors.
But remember, we are only a quarter of the way through the season. A lot can change from now to the end of the year.
Look for Brees to rebound rebound from a couple of dismal performances and assert himself as one of the league's top players.
I give my vote for MVP of the first four weeks of the 2009 NFL season to Drew Brees.
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