METAIRIE, La. – Believe it or not, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees did something last Sunday that he's never done before. He completed passes to 11 different receivers during the Saints' 23-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that was a first in Brees' 13-year career.
It didn't seem that rare since Brees has always been willing to spread the ball around so generously. It's one of the things that makes the Saints' offense work so well. Just three weeks earlier, Brees connected with 10 different receivers in the Saints' victory over the Buffalo Bills.
But then on Sunday, in a moment that would make the band Spinal Tap proud, Brees found a way to crank his performance up to 11.
“We’re equal-opportunity,” Brees said. “Whoever’s getting open, whoever’s got the matchup, whoever’s got the hot hand. We kind of feel that and see that as the game is going on. Guys kind of know that if it’s not this week or next week, it might be the following week, as you see. Also everybody knows that, ‘Hey, my opportunity could come at any moment and I’ve got to be ready.’”
Brees completed 30 of 43 passes for 305 yards on Sunday. Fittingly, his only touchdown pass was thrown to undrafted rookie tight end Josh Hill – the first TD of Hill’s career.
Brees has now completed passes to 13 different receivers this season, with 10 of them catching touchdowns.
When asked if that much sharing is unique in the NFL, Brees said, “Yes, but we’ve got a great group of guys. We’ve got just completely unselfish … everybody buys into the system and what we’re trying to do.”
Hill’s touchdown came on a well-designed play, when he started out as a blocker but released into the flat for a 3-yard catch while receiver Robert Meachem lured three defenders into the back of the end zone.
When asked if Hill was his No. 1 option on the play, Brees said, “Yeah. … For the most part.”