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JD's Helmet Stickers: Drew Brees at his finest in New Orleans Saints season opener

He completed 82.2 percent of his passes against Buccaneers


OFFENSE: No-brainer, this one. Drew Brees was fabulous, and that could be understating just how good he was against the Buccaneers. He completed 37 of 45 passes – that's 82.2 percent, if you're wondering – for 439 yards and three touchdowns. I know that we take for granted his brilliance and his ability to captain the New Orleans Saints and help keep them within striking distance in these kinds of games, but that kind of sustained excellence shouldn't ever get old, or routine. Some games, he's like a savant and Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome was one of those days: Almost everything was on target as he shredded Tampa Bay's secondary. I'd be remiss to not note the spectacular performance of receiver Michael Thomas, who set a franchise record with 16 catches (for 180 yards, and a touchdown). He's a nightmare matchup for a secondary, and he's getting better by the minute. And running back Alvin Kamara (nine catches for 112 yards and a touchdown, and eight carries for 29 yards and two touchdowns) was more than a handful. He's a fantasy owner's dream. But Brees had one of those games that lets you know why he's going to the Hall of Fame.

DEFENSE: No one. Tampa Bay raked the Saints' defense over the coals for 529 yards – quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick probably had the best game of his NFL career; 21 of 28 for 417 yards and four touchdowns, without an interception – and the Bucs converted 8 of 13 third-down attempts. The Saints were penalized three times for roughing the passer and the Bucs averaged 8.5 yards per play, including four kneel-downs. This film will be hard, and sobering, to watch.

SPECIAL TEAMS: It didn't seem like punter Thomas Morstead was going to get any work at all for a while Sunday, but he was effective when called upon: three punts for a 52-yard average and a 45.7-yard net. He benefited from good coverage (the Bucs were held to 19 yards on the three returns) and overall, the Saints were solid in kick coverage.

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