Monday morning was routine for Drew Brees, what he physically has come to expect after a game.
"I feel pretty good, all things considered," he said. "Obviously, day-after-a-game soreness and kind of the normal stuff."
But Sunday afternoon wasn't routine at all for the New Orleans Saints' quarterback and offensive unit. The Saints (10-4) were not a smooth operation during a 32-29 loss to Kansas City in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, with the offense totaling 285 yards in a miniscule 18:46 possession time, converting just once on 11 third-down opportunities.
Brees, who returned to the lineup after missing four games with cracked ribs and a punctured lung, completed 15 of 34 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns, with an interception. He was incomplete on his first six attempts.
"A lot more to be desired," Brees offered as an assessment. "Felt like there were a lot of completions left out there, opportunities to keep drives going and possess the ball and try to get points.
"As I look at some of the key statistics from that game, obviously the time of possession was pretty lopsided, so opportunities for us to possess the ball and wear their defense down a little bit, go down and get points and keep their offense off the field would have been helpful. And then, just some of the timing and the rhythm of the passing game.
"A lot of yesterday was just kind of getting a feel back for me, honestly, especially to start that game. There were times where we got rolling, there were times where we made some big plays and did some good things. But just not quite enough."
The Saints played without receiver Michael Thomas, who has battled a nagging ankle injury all season. Thomas was injured against Tampa Bay near the end of the game in the season opener, missed six games and returned for the next five before being placed on injured reserve Saturday. He'll miss the final three regular-season games but is expected to return for the playoffs.
"That's the way it was for six weeks, right?" Brees said. "I have so much confidence in (tight end) Jared (Cook), so much confidence in (receiver) Emmanuel (Sanders). Obviously, we've got some young guys that are now going to play some key roles down the stretch here that I'll continue to develop a rapport with there.
"But we're going to find different ways to win. Obviously, the most important thing for Mike right now is just to get healthy so he is as good as he can be going into the playoffs."
Brees that the Saints, too, will be peaking as they enter the playoffs.
"Here's the thing: Every season is so different, and there's so many factors that go into that," he said. "We're kind of in an interesting spot now because we decided to put Mike Thomas on (injured reserve) for three weeks, knowing that will go a long way for his ankle and what he's being battling throughout the season.
"We missed him for six weeks and then he was back for a little bit, now he's out for a bit. So it's that, in a combination with Covid and having to deal with that. We understand that we've sealed a playoff spot, but the most important factor right now is for us is to win and win the division. And then continue to kind of build on and ascend going into the playoffs.
"I missed the last four weeks, I'm trying to kind of get back into it again and get the feel and the rhythm and all that. I think there's just a little bit of that going on right now but at the end of the day, we're only going to get better week to week from now until the end of the season and then going into the playoffs."