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By the Numbers: Drew Brees sets career record for fumbles

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Their pursuit of perfection is over, but the Saints are one step closer to clinching home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. Thanks to the Minnesota Vikings’ fourth-quarter collapse against the Arizona Cardinals, New Orleans will be the No. 1 seed ...

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Old 12-23-2009, 11:25 AM   #1
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By the Numbers: Drew Brees sets career record for fumbles

Their pursuit of perfection is over, but the Saints are one step closer to clinching home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

Thanks to the Minnesota Vikings’ fourth-quarter collapse against the Arizona Cardinals, New Orleans will be the No. 1 seed for the first time in franchise history if it beats Tampa Bay in the Superdome this Sunday.

Here are some other pertinent numbers as Christmas approaches, and Happy Holidays to anyone reading this story. I always appreciate your comments and feedback.

2: The number of wins for Tampa Bay. The Bucs have been brutal, but interestingly, they have played their best right before both meetings with the Saints. They stunned Green Bay 38-28 in the most head-scratching result of the NFL this year on Nov. 8, then almost backed it up against Miami, losing 25-23 on a last-second field goal, before the Saints humiliated them 38-7 in Tampa. Last Sunday, the Bucs forced five turnovers against Seattle for their first road win, 24-7, in 13 months. If the Saints play as poorly as they have the last three weeks, this may not be a gimmee.

4: The number of times Dallas sacked Drew Brees on Saturday night, matching the total the Saints had allowed in their previous six games. It was the first time since game 8 against Atlanta that Brees went down more than once. Not surprisingly, he was less sharp than normal. There’s a term in the NFL for quarterbacks who are less accurate when they get hit repeatedly. It’s called “quarterback.”

6: The number of fumbles Brees has lost this year. It is the highest total of his career, surpassing the five he coughed up with San Diego in 2005. Better blocking from the tackles would help, particularly Jermon Bushrod, who protects his blind side, but Brees needs to be more secure with the ball. He has 24 fumbles in the last three years while being sacked 48 times, a stark contrast to his 28 fumbles in 108 sacks for his first five full seasons.

Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning has fumbled eight times (45 sacks) and lost only one since the start of 2007. The only current starting quarterbacks with a worse ratio of fumbles to sacks than Brees’ 9/19 in 2009 are Tennessee’s Vince Young (7/8) and Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman (8/16).

7: The number of points by which the Saints lost to Dallas. The Cowboys dominated them on both sides of the line of scrimmage for most of the night, but the game ended with New Orleans in Dallas territory trying to force overtime. If not for a clutch third-and-7 conversion from Tony Romo to Miles Austin on the Cowboys’ final drive, everyone in the building would have expected the Saints to tie the score. It is a testament to New Orleans’ resilience, backed up by this quote from Dallas coach Wade Phillips: “We knew we would have to play well in all areas to be able to beat them here, and our guys did that. … They still were going to come back. We knew they were going to fight the whole way.”

20 or 21: The number of days the Saints will go without playing a meaningful game if they beat the Bucs to secure home-field advantage. The finale at Carolina would be as insignificant as the one they played at the end of 2006 when the Saints were locked into the No. 2 seed in the NFC and lost 31-21 in the Superdome. Sean Payton pulled Brees after the first play of the second series. Although they deny it to a man, the Saints need the break both mentally and physically to get ready for the playoffs. They will get a bye in the opening week before playing host to a divisional playoff on Jan. 16 or 17.

24: The number of yards Nick Folk’s field goal traveled before banging into the right upright late Saturday night, giving the Saints hope for a miracle exactly like the one in Washington two weeks earlier. The Cowboys cut Folk yesterday and, ironically, replaced him with Shaun Suisham, whom the Redskins’ released right after he shanked a 23-yarder that would have assured them a victory over the Saints. Suisham could get a chance for redemption or revulsion if the Cowboys face the Saints in the playoffs.

428.7: The average number of yards New Orleans has allowed in the last three games, to Washington, Atlanta and Dallas. For the season, no NFL team has yielded more than Detroit’s 396.1. That’s another reason the Saints need to A) take care of business this Sunday, B) get some R&R and C) get cornerback Jabari Greer back for the New Year.

994: The number of receiving yards for Marques Colston. On his first catch against Tampa Bay, he probably will go over 1,000 yards for the third time in his four-year career. Only one other New Orleans receiver has produced three 1,000-yard seasons in four years – Joe Horn, who had four from 2000 to 2004.



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