Drew Brees, Josh Freeman not hitting deep

September, 24, 2012
9/24/12
11:22
AM ET
There’s a disturbing trend developing among a couple of NFC South quarterbacks.

Brees
New Orleans’ Drew Brees and Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman suddenly can’t throw the deep ball.

On passes of 15 yards or more last season, Brees led the NFL with a 57.6 completion percentage, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He also averaged 15.6 yards per attempt and had a +14 touchdown-to-interception differential. In Sunday’s loss to Kansas City, Brees completed only three of seven passes of at least 15 yards and was intercepted just once. The Chiefs came into the game allowing the league’s second-highest completion percentage (71.4).

Freeman
So far this season, Brees is completing 45.2 percent of his passes of 15 yards or more. He’s averaging 10.5 yards per attempt and his touchdown-to-interception differential is -1. In Brees' case, I think the problem is a combination of his receivers not getting open down the field and his offensive line not giving him a lot of time.

Freeman ran into similar trouble in Sunday’s loss to Dallas. Freeman completed just two of six passes of 15 yards or more and averaged 8.7 yards per attempt. In the first two games, Freeman was eight of 14 on downfield passes and averaged 15.9 yards per attempt. In Freeman's case, it appeared as if Tampa Bay's receivers weren't getting open in the deep game Sunday.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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