In a perfect moment for ESPN NFL Monday Night Football, New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees broke Miami Dolphins QB Dan Marino’s 27-year-old NFL Single Season Passing Record of 5,084 yards, when he threw a 9-yard touchdown pass in the 4th quarter against the Atlanta Falcons, to put him at 5,087 yards. It’s a remarkable achievement, and owes as much to the offensive system installed by Saints Head Coach Sean Payton as it does to Brees himself.
And what does Marino think? Asked about the record before the MNF game, he told the USA Today, “It’s surprised me it lasted this long. Does it bother me? Deep down, you’d like this to last forever. But 27 years is a pretty long time.”
Sure is. Many of the ESPN game viewers weren’t even born then.
I’m not a Saints fan, but I am fan of their system. A vast collection of misdirection pass plays, option routes, and receiver routes that at times look like zig-zag scribble, the approach causes pass-catchers to be, at times, shockingly wide open. Payton’s approach, for some reason, has no copycats, even after the Saints 2010 Super Bowl win in Miami.
Brees and the Saints just plain destroyed the Atlanta Falcons, who don’t seem to recognize how to replicate a defensive approach to beat New Orleans. But then only three teams have done so all year long: The Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Bucs, and The St. Louis Rams. And here’s a note: two of those teams are known for their exotic blitz schemes; the Falcons aren’t.
How far can the Saints go in the playoffs? I’ll say this: considering the Green Bay Packers offensive problems, the Saints could make the NFL Playoffs an NFC toss up.
But lookout for the real game of the year: next week against the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.