On his national conference call yesterday, Patriots QB Tom Brady revealed that he has, in fact, kept tabs on the Saints' relentless offense, even if just out of the corner of his eye.
I ran the numbers two weeks ago and, needless to say, New Orleans hasn't let up much since.
"The numbers they’re putting up are pretty unbelievable," Brady said. "I thought we were having a great year two years ago, but to see them on pace to break those numbers it’s challenging to do and they’re doing a great job of that. Any team who plays the Saints you’ve got to… I’ve seen a couple of their games this year because we’ve played some similar opponents and you have to play a four quarter game against them. They’re talented at every position. They really force pressure, in all three phases of the game, on the other team."
Really enjoyed David Fleming's piece in the current edition of ESPN the Magazine, which highlights how misdirection is the key to all the Saints do -- something that someone who grew up playing in a wing-T offense can appreciate. Another point Fleming made was how New Orleans really needs a ringmaster like Drew Brees to make it all work.
So for all the Brady-Manning talk this week, I think whether Brees has crashed the party is a question worth asking. Look at the numbers, through eight weeks:
204-310 (65.8 percent), 2,364 yards, 16 TD, 5 INT, 99.2 rating
181-265 (68.3 percent), 2,336 yards, 17 TD, 7 INT, 106.1 rating
221-313 (70.6 percent), 2,545 yards, 16 TD, 5 INT, 105.2 rating
The other two in my top five, Ben Roethlisberger (70.6 completion percentage, 2,295 yards, 14 TD, 7 INT, 104.1 rating) and Philip Rivers (60.6 completion percentage, 2,245 yards, 14 TD, 6 INT, 94.6) probably deserve mention here too. Roethlisberger's certainly playing to that level.
One thing: I'm not making this argument from a historical perspective. But just based on this year, I think Brady and Manning do have company.