Saturday, January 4, 2014
Drew Brees on ice? Don’t count on it
By Mike Triplett
PHILADELPHIA – Clearly, a glance back at recent history would suggest that New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees will struggle tonight outdoors in cold weather against the Philadelphia Eagles. Right?
Not so fast.
Depending on which numbers you want to use, you can make Brees out to look like Superman or Clark Kent in this matchup.
True, his road performances this year haven’t been anywhere near as strong as his home performances. The disparity is actually quite stunning. At home, Brees has completed 74 percent of his passes with 27 touchdowns and three interceptions. On the road – 63 percent, 12 touchdowns, nine interceptions.
And according to ESPN Stats & Information, Brees’ performances in cold weather have produced mixed results. In his career, he’s 2-3 in games played at 32 degrees or lower, with a completion percentage of 61 percent, 260.8 yards per game, 10 touchdowns and six interceptions.
However, Brees’ recent playoff history is far more encouraging.
Over his past six playoff games, Brees has thrown 17 touchdown passes and just two interceptions (three home games, two road games, one neutral site). Even in the Saints’ crushing 36-32 loss at San Francisco two years ago, Brees rallied back from two early interceptions to finish with 462 passing yards and four touchdowns.
The ultimate question is this: Is Brees the kind of quarterback you want behind center in a big game, no matter the conditions? And the answer is a resounding yes.
When asked if Brees is a “different quarterback” in cold weather, offensive tackle Zach Strief pointed to Brees’ Purdue past.
“I think Drew was the NCAA all-time leading passer in central Indiana. So I don’t necessarily think he’s a different player,” Strief said. “Again, there’s a lot of stuff that goes into playing well on the road and well at home. I think there’s been a big discrepancy this year, and I think we all acknowledge that that question is viable. I don’t think anyone’s saying that’s a dumb question. I understand it completely. And yet, there’s a lot more that goes into it than Drew Brees.
“And if there’s one guy in this room that we all have confidence in playing lights-out in the playoffs, it’s Drew.”