Leading his team to a stunning 31-17 upset of the favored Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees put on a veritable quarterbacking clinic last night in Miami. Specifically, Brees put on a clinic on how to throw a seven-yard pass.
While its effectiveness was beyond reproach, its simplicity was nearly breathtaking.
And for their part, the Saints receivers were equally adept at demonstrating not only how to catch a seven-yard pass, but how to gain anywhere from two to 20 yards once they had possession of the ball.
All of this after a shaky start, when Brees was just 2-for-6 for a mere 22 yards.
Brees' numbers for the day tallied 32 completions in 39 attempts for 288 yards, or a mean of exactly nine yards per completed reception.
That nine-yard average would include yards gained after the catch.
Both Saints' running backs Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush turned short passes into decent gainers.Reggie’s first quarter, short pass from Brees went for 16 yards after Bush scrambled up the middle for additional yardage on a 3rd-and-5. Thomas maneuvered deftly for a touchdown after catching a trademark short pass from Brees, and later eluding several would-be Colts' tacklers for a 16-yard score.
In the second quarter, Brees connected on two passes of note while the Saints were trailing 10-3. First, he hit tight end Lance Moore with a short pass. Moore eluded defenders and turned it into a 21-yard gain. On the same drive, Brees threw a short pass down the middle that Marques Colston turned into a 27-yard gain by also gaining valuable yards after the catch.
While some casual fans of the game might bemoan the fact that not a single incredible play was made by either team—not one David Tyree or Santonio Holmes moment in the entire game, not one leaping, spectacular catch or one-handed grab—nothing should take away from the incredible poise and skill that Brees demonstrated throwing those seven yarders.
Further, it should be noted that on the game’s third play, Brees did attempt a deep down-field pass to Robert Meachem, but the pass fell errant.
As for the Colts, they had no answer for the seven yard pass—whether Dwight Freeney was using up South Florida’s supply of bandages or spinning his wheels on the field. The Colts tried time and again to apply pressure, but the quick release of Brees to his cadre of receivers proved too much for the Colts.
For his efforts, Brees was awarded the game’s prestigious MVP award, having completed an incredible 82 percent of his seven yarders.
Who else could the award have gone to besides Brees, whose popularity has soared in recent years due to his tremendous play and selfless contributions to the community of New Orleans.
If its poise, skill, and grace under pressure that Commissioner Roger Goodell is looking for in the NFL’s next veteran poster boy, he may look no further than the quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, who now has a Super Bowl ring to add to his riveting passing performance.