Tuesday, December 28, 2010
NFC South Week 16 decisive moment
By Pat Yasinskas
On a night when he was passing the ball a lot like John Stockton at various times, Drew Brees got back to being a quarterback and let the basketball player on his team make the biggest catch of the night.
Brees rifled a 6-yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end Jimmy Graham with 3 minutes, 24 seconds remaining to give the New Orleans Saints a 17-14 victory against the Atlanta Falcons. The pass capped a 90-yard drive in which Brees got back to top form after having a relatively rough start.
With Atlanta bringing all sorts of defensive pressure earlier, Brees resorted to some desperate measures. Like Stockton in his NBA days, Brees threw a behind-the-back pass that resulted in a completion, but not much else, and a shovel pass that ended up being picked off and returned for a touchdown by Atlanta defensive lineman Chauncey Davis.
But when it mattered most, Brees abandoned the basketball tricks and found a basketball player. That was Graham, whom the Saints took a gamble on when they drafted him in the third round this year. Graham spent three years playing college basketball at Miami before switching to football in his final season. He displayed enough athletic ability to get himself drafted.
With backup tight end David Thomas injured, Graham has been getting more playing time and the touchdown catch showed that he already has earned the trust of Brees in key situations.