Saints Drew Brees Ends 2010 In Style; Tells ESPN "We're In The Big Show"

Randy SavoieAnalyst IIDecember 28, 2010

Saints coach Sean Payton says Jimmy Graham will prove to be the "steal" of the 2010 NFL Draft.
Saints coach Sean Payton says Jimmy Graham will prove to be the "steal" of the 2010 NFL Draft.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It has been a one hell of a year for New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees.

He was the Super Bowl MVP in February.

The Sports Illustrated cover shot of him holding his son, Baylen, in the air is indelibly etched in America's minds.

His second child arrived.

Sportsman of the Year.

AP Athlete of the Year.

Unlike John Forgerty, Mr. Brees is definitely a fortunate son—albeit a self-made one.

On Monday night in Atlanta, Brees capped off 2010 in style with a 90-yard drive in the final minutes to beat the Saints most fierce rival—the Falcons—17-14 at the Georgia Dome.

The Saints heard all that pre-season rubbish about how Super Bowl champions usually meet with disaster the following year, and then proceeded to win 11 games and clinch a second consecutive playoff berth after being largely ignored by the national media.

"Should the New York Jets play the Sanchize next week?" Hardy, har har.

"This is a case where the Jets as a wild card are better than the AFC division champions," fawned those network talking heads as they kissed up to the team in the nation's largest media market.

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Meanwhile, Brees, who was under duress all night as Falcons defensive end John Abraham ran past left tackle Jermon Bushrod like a tackling dummy, did what Joe Montana did so well all those years ago in San Francisco.

He stayed poised and found a way to win—all the while displaying the mettle of a champion.

"That's a part of it. It's the ebb and flow of the game," Brees told ESPN's Michele Tafoya. "Sometimes, you get a clean pocket and sometimes they're getting after you."

"(Atlanta) has a great pass rush with their four-(man front) and obviously, when they brought pressure, they were able to get in the backfield tonight but I've got to hand it to our guys," Brees said."We were able to get the ball out for the most part, or, at least avoid a lot of those negative plays and in the end we found a way to win."

The night was not without adversity as Brees threw back-to-back interceptions to defensive linemen—a rare occurrence in the National Football League.

Chauncey Davis scored a touchdown off his pick but the Falcons failed to convert Abraham's interception into points and Falcons coach Mike Smith decided to punt leading the Saints by four.

That's when Brees engineered a 13-play, 90-yard drive consuming over seven minutes off the clock and culminating with a 6-yard TD pass to rookie tight end Jimmy Graham for the decisive score with 3:24 remaining.

Brees told ESPN's Tafoya that when it comes to interceptions you need to develop amnesia in this business of football.

"I was telling myself obviously, 'Put this behind you.' You have to do that in a game like this, an environment like this," he said. "You've got to stay poised and find a way to convert first downs and go down the field and score."

"The fact was it was a one possession game and we had to go 90 yards but we did it effectively and efficiently—run and pass—and some guys made some plays down the stretch."

Brees says now that the Saints are in the playoffs—all things are possible.

"It feels good. Obviously, you just want to punch your ticket to the Big Show and we've done that," Brees told ESPN. "Carolina needs to do us a favor next week and beat Atlanta so that we can be the (number) one-seed."

"But, other than that,we're just going to continue to play. Try and get a little better every week and get get geared up for these playoffs."

And keep finding dramatic ways to win.


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