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Brees and Brown Help NFC to Victory in Pro Bowl

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    <span>New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and left tackle Jammal Brown helped the NFC squad defeat their AFC counterparts on Sunday at the Pro Bowl, 30-21.  

Brees led the NFC in passing, completing 11-of-19 passes for 142 yards with a touchdown and finished the day with a passer rating of 99.0.

The highlight of Brees's day came at the end of the first half via a 46-yard scoring aerial to Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. With only 9 second left in the half, Brees fired a pass into the end zone that Fitzgerald made a deft reception on despite tight coverage from Tennessee Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan.

"It's never about one guy, but certainly there are some guys that can just do extraordinarily special things and he's one of those guys," Brees said of Fitzgerald. "You can't match that."

Brees came on in relief of Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, who started the game for the NFC squad and completed one-of-his two attempts for eight yards. Brees took over on the second possession for the NFC team and with the NFC trailing 7-0.

The Saints' signal-caller spread the football around, as he connected with six different receiving options throughout the course of his quarter-and-a-half at the helm. Brees's favorite target was Carolina Panthers star receiver Steve Smith, as the two hooked up four times for 65 yards, including completions of 20 and 23 yards.

Brown split playing time throughout the game with Dallas Cowboys left tackle Flozell Adams, as the two had the ominous task of working against AFC sack specialists such as Indianapolis Colts defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.

Brees drew praise from his teammates throughout the week for his preparation. "He's probably the smartest guy we play against all year," said Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber. "It's like he knows everything you're doing-it's kind of frustrating actually, but I definitely respect what he's been able to accomplish since his years in San Diego."

"I think he has an incredible will," Barber continued. "Drew Brees is a special guy and to me there's very few guys better than him playing the position."

"He's amazing," said Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. "You know, we were just taking it easy during the week of practice, but Drew was threading passes between defenders, hitting guys on deep routes. He's just really talented and extremely focused on the field."

Brees said before the game that in addition to hoping to lead the NFC to a victory, he was also hoping to avoid a repeat of events from the 2007 Pro Bowl. In that game he suffered a dislocated left shoulder during the first quarter.

"I wouldn't be here if I did," Brees said of the possibility of another potentially serious injury. "That's part of the game. It didn't scare me off."

Brees also took time to reflect on the Saints' 2008 campaign, a season that witnessed him being named Offensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press after passing for an average of 311 yards per game, leading the team to a league-best 28.9 points per game average and a league-best 410 yards per game average.

"It was disappointing, but I think that we've got a lot of the right pieces in place. We just have to make sure we're able to finish football games in 2009," Brees said. "A lot of our losses came in the last few minutes of the game, when we had chances to win and we just weren't able to pull it out."

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