Good guy Brees breaks longstanding NFL record against the team that jilted him

Posted: 10/07/2012 in football
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It was certainly a memorable Sunday night to see Drew Brees break the longstanding record held by legendary Johnny Unitas when the New Orleans Saints star threw a touchdown pass in his 48th consecutive game.

But to have it come against the San Diego Chargers during a 31-24 victory only made it better for Brees, one of the true good guys of the NFL.

“Yeah I figured you guys were no dummies when you scheduled this on Sunday night football in game 5 on NBC,” Brees said in a postgame NBC television interview upon a question about achieving the record against his former team. “… Like I said, it couldn’t have been a sweeter night.”

Brees deserves to do some gloating after tossing four touchdown passes and rallying the Saints back from a 10-point deficit. High above the field in a press box suite was Chargers general manager A.J. Smith, who has never been shy about expressing that the decision to discard Brees for Philip Rivers was the right one.

Rivers is a fine NFL quarterback but he would’ve never landed with the Chargers if Smith hadn’t had severe doubts about Brees. Smith didn’t feel he could win a championship with Brees at the helm, a notion that was stomped out forever by that Super Bowl ring Brees won in New Orleans.

Of course, that’s the elusive world championship ring the Smith-era Chargers – or any other squad in franchise history – has never claimed.

Worse for the Chargers is they had no business being on the losing end in this game against the previously winless Saints. But San Diego’s lack of killer instinct under coach Norv Turner was again on display as the Saints put together back-to-back touchdown drives of 87 and 90 yards to overtake the Chargers.

The first of those drives contained the turning-point play in that Chargers rookie Melvin Ingram was called for a roughing the passer penalty on Brees to negate an interception return for touchdown by linebacker Demorrio Williams. Instead of a 31-14 lead for the Chargers, the Saints capitalized on the renewed life to score a touchdown to pull within 24-21.

The tone of the game changed with Ingram’s penalty and you could see the Saints smelled victory. The Chargers tried to rally in the final minute and the game ended when Rivers was sacked by Martez Wilson and lost a fumble that Wilson recovered.

The most amazing part of the Chargers’ final play was that NBC color analyst Cris Collinsworth called it. He pointed out that left tackle Jared Gaither was ailing and predicted Wilson would get a game-ending sack on Rivers.

The very next play, it happened. That’s kind of sad when a guy in a broadcast booth can pinpoint something that apparently the entire San Diego coaching staff couldn’t spot.

So the Chargers are 3-2 and only lead the AFC West because it is once again a soft division. And rubbing it in was the sight of Brees throwing for 370 yards and four touchdown passes and setting an epic record.

And all this happened with the real Saints coach (Sean Payton) and the interim Saints coach (Joe Vitt) watching from upstairs. Some guy none of us know just outcoached Norv Turner on a night in which Brees broke a record that had lasted 52 years.

So yeah, pretty sweet night indeed for Drew Brees and great scheduling by NBC.

Brees deserved to set the record on the national stage and it certainly was fitting that he got to do it against the organization that doubted he was a legitimate starting NFL quarterback.


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