Photos from the New Orleans Saints vs Jacksonville Jaguars game. Photos by Michael C. Hebert. (New Orleans Saints photos)
The New Orleans Saints ended the home portion of their 2015 season on a winning note Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome as they hammered the Jacksonville Jaguars 38-27.
Quarterback Drew Brees, who was listed as questionable all week with a torn plantar fascia on his right foot, was sensational, passing for 412 yards and three touchdowns. It was the 13th time Brees has thrown for more than 400 yards, tied for second in NFL history with Dan Marino.
His top target was receiver Brandin Cooks who had five receptions for 123 yards and a 71-yard touchdown. Cooks, in his second season, broke the 1,000-yard mark on the season, the first Saints player to do so since 2012.
Running back Tim Hightower continued to shine filling in for Mark Ingram as he carried 27 times for 122 yards and two touchdowns. It was his first 100-yard game as a Saint and the fifth of his career, the first in five years.
The Saints are 6-9 heading into next Sunday's season finale at Atlanta (8-9). That game is scheduled for noon.
Brees' first touchdown pass was a 17-yard back-shoulder throw to tight end Michael Hoomanawanui to cap a 10-play, 80-yard opening drive.
Brees struck again with a 71-yard scoring bomb to Cooks. The Saints quickly got the ball back when defensive end Bobby Richardson intercepted Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles on a pass deflected by cornerback Delvin Breaux.
After a 27-yard screen pass to Hightower, the veteran running back scored on a 1-yard dive. He added a 5-yard scoring run in the second half.
The Saints were not forced to punt until their fourth possession. They added a 37-yard Kai Forbath field goal after Breaux set the team up with good field position with a sideline interception of Bortles. Forbath missed a 52-yard attempt at the end of the half and had a 28-yard attempt blocked in the fourth quarter.
In addition to picking off Bortles twice, the Saints defense sacked him two times both by safety Kenny Vaccaro.
The Jaguars are 5-10 going into their final game of the season. The Saints' record at home this season is 4-4.