Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Saints morning report: Brees’ record intact?
By Mike Triplett
METAIRIE, La. -- New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees' NFL record for single-season passing yards was broken on Sunday by Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
Or was it?
According to ESPN.com's Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold, the league's record-keepers were taking a closer look at whether or not a 7-yard pass by Manning on Sunday should have been ruled as a lateral instead -- as is customary after every NFL weekend. The Elias Sports Bureau reviews such plays and often makes slight adjustments (as fantasy football players can attest).
Manning wound up breaking Brees' record by just one yard, since he didn't play in the second half. Manning finished the season with 5,477 yards. Brees set the record with 5,476 in 2011.
Either way, I think it's safe to say that Brees isn't rooting to keep his record via a loophole. He knows full well that Manning could have played another series to pass him up. And he knew for several weeks that his record was in jeopardy.
Brees talked about Manning's accomplishment after the Saints' 42-17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
When first told that Manning wound up beating him by one yard, Brees said, “Are you kidding me? Wow.” Then he was told that Manning sat out the rest of the game after the mark was broken.
“Well, I guess had I had a hundred more yards, they would have kept him in and he would have eventually broken it anyway,” Brees said. “Listen, he and that team has had a storybook year, in regards to the numbers they've been able to put up and the way that they've played. A lot of credit to him and his preparation and his level of play. It's impressive. All records are made to be broken.
“I thought I might have that one for a little bit longer than just two years. But records are made to be broken.”
Short-week schedules: A Saturday night playoff game means a short week for both the Saints and Philadelphia Eagles.
The two teams will take different approaches to the practice week -- but only because they've taken different approaches to their practice schedules all year long. During normal weeks, the Saints practice on a typical Wednesday-through-Friday schedule, like most NFL teams. The Eagles, however, practice on Tuesdays before tapering off toward the end of the week.
This week, the Saints will stick with the same schedule that worked for them during their last short week (following a Monday night game in Week 14). They'll wait until Wednesday to hold their first practice. Then they'll abbreviate their normal workload at the end of the week.
That means players will have today off. Coach Sean Payton talks often about how the team values recovery time after games.
However, as ESPN.com's Eagles reporter Phil Sheridan wrote Monday, Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly likes to have that physical rest time later in the week. So the Eagles will still practice today, then they'll subtract a normal practice day from the end of the week.
“(Tuesday) is Wednesday, Wednesday's Thursday, Thursday's Friday, Friday's Saturday,” Kelly said. “You just subtract a day. We got off the field and they told us we're playing Saturday. We can't call a timeout and say we need an extra day. But the team you're playing is in exactly the same situation. No one gets an advantage.”
Saints-Eagles page: Follow all of Phil's coverage and all of ESPN.com's coverage leading up to Saturday's playoff game on this Saints-Eagles page throughout the week. And follow Phil on Twitter @SheridanScribe.
One other interesting tidbit that should give Saints fans hope from that Chip Kelly story on Monday was Kelly's reference to the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers coming into Philadelphia and winning a road playoff game in freezing weather. The Buccaneers had an even more daunting history when it came to cold-weather performances at the time.
Said Kelly: “Tampa Bay couldn't win a game in cold weather until they came in here. So we're not going to get caught up in that one, I can tell you that.”
All over the map: I have to credit Twitter follower @sramkuma for pointing this out since I hadn't noticed it before. But during the Saints' five playoff appearances in the Brees-Payton era, they've never had the same seed twice. They were a No. 1 seed when they won the Super Bowl in 2009, a No. 2 seed in 2006, a No. 3 seed in 2011, a No. 5 seed in 2010 and a No. 6 seed in 2013.
Moore's inspiration: Something else I didn't realize at the time that I learned from the Saints' fan base was that the inspiration for Saints receiver Lance Moore's unusual touchdown celebration Sunday -- a comedy skit on touchdown celebrations by Comedy Central's Key and Peele. I'm sure Payton wasn't laughing, though, after fellow receiver Kenny Stills drew a penalty by helping Moore act out the skit.
Worth a click:
- We traced Brees' path through Dan Graziano's MVP Watch for ESPN.com all season. But in the end, it was a runaway victory for Manning. Here's all of Graziano's postseason accolades.
- Sunday's blowout loss at New Orleans proved to be the last straw for Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano, who was fired Monday. Here's ESPN.com's Buccaneers reporter Pat Yasinskas' take on why Schiano was never a fit in Tampa.
- In this Insider piece, ESPN.com's Mike Sando ranks the teams best positioned for success in 2014 . He has the Saints at No. 6.