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Quarterback Drew Brees shines in abbreviated regular season for New Orleans Saints

Analysis: There isn't much doubt that New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees still can do it. At a very, very, very high level. How high? Brees constructed one of the most productive abbreviated seasons imaginable; in 11 games (five missed due to a torn ligament in his thumb), he completed 74.3 percent of his passes for 2,979 yards and 27 touchdowns, with four interceptions, and had a career high passer rating (116.3). Undeniably, Teddy Bridgewater had an outstanding five-game performance in Brees' absence. But no one has better command of the Saints' offense, and no one operates it better, than Brees, who likely would have been an MVP candidate if he hadn't missed five games. Along the way, he also became the NFL's all-time leader in touchdown passes. Peyton Manning's record was 539; Brees has raised it to 547, and counting.

Best Game: Sometimes, it's difficult to identify Brees' best game of a given season, since he's liable to stack up six to eight outstanding games. But in New Orleans' victory over Indianapolis on Monday night, Dec. 16, Brees registered an all-time great game. While the Saints were rolling to a 34-7 victory, Brees was as precise as he ever has been: He completed 29 of 30 passes (an NFL single-game record of 96.7 percent) for 307 yards and four touchdowns. That showing easily overshadowed him guiding the Saints on game-winning drives against Houston and Carolina, and even dwarfed his performance in a loss to San Francisco, when he passed for 349 yards and five touchdowns, and ran for another touchdown, without throwing an interception.

Best Quote: "I think that's experience and wisdom as well. Listen, there's so much that goes into that, but I think it is a simple philosophy, but then you've got to go out and execute it, right? Then the execution is the difficult part, right? The simple philosophy is take care of the football and throw completions, get positive plays. Completions are positive plays. Avoid negative plays. Again, that is the simple way of saying it. There's a lot that goes into that and you've got to go out and execute it, but very simply, I think that's really been a focus of mine over the last five years." – Brees, explaining why his completion percentage has risen and interceptions have fallen the last several seasons.

The best photos of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees during the 2019 season.

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