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Has Drew Brees Fallen Off A Cliff?

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For what seems like an eternity, First Take’s resident Brady hater, Max Kellerman, has promoted the theory that 41-year-old Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is “falling off a cliff” – that his play is declining.  Despite playing with arguably his least talented team, working through an MCL sprain and being 41, Brady put up numbers similar to last season, when he was the league MVP.  In Kellerman’s defense, it wasn’t just him.  The alleged decline of Brady’s play became a daily sports media talking point this season.

As the games became more important, Brady rose to the occasion, putting daggers into the hearts of Chargers and Chiefs fans when it mattered most.  It was vintage Tom Brady.  While Brady is on his way to his ninth Super Bowl appearance, Drew Brees is left sitting at home wondering what might have been.

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Brees, 40-years-old, was a league MVP candidate through week 12 of the regular season.  During that time, Brees threw 29 touchdown passes and only 2 interceptions.  Excluding week 17 when he didn’t play, in his final 5 games, Brees threw 7 touchdown passes and 6 interceptions.  His throws were significantly less accurate, and he began making bad decisions with the football.  It’s not just this season though – his passing yards average has declined by 59 yards per game since the 2016 season.

Let me be clear, this isn’t an argument that Brees isn’t great – he is.  He’s one of the greatest quarterbacks of his generation and a lock to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  However, as the 2018 season became longer, the aging Brees became more inconsistent, even when it mattered most.

In the divisional playoff round, with dome field advantage, Brees and the offense were held to 20 points, including only 3 points in the fourth quarter, giving Nick Foles and the Eagles a chance to win the game.  Ultimately, the Saints defense saved the day for Brees, intercepting a ball which should’ve been caught by Eagles receiver Alshon Jeffery.

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In the NFC Championship Game, again with dome field advantage, Brees started strong in the beginning and petered out at the end.  In fact, the Saints would manage to score only 10 points after the first quarter.  It’s fair to say the Saints may have beaten the Rams if not for one of the worst officiating blunders in NFL history.  That’s an entirely different conversation.  It’s also fair to say you have an entire game to take advantage of each opportunity provided and three points in the fourth quarter wasn’t good enough.  Lost in the controversy is the fact that the Saints had the ball first in overtime, with a chance to still advance to the Super Bowl, despite the botched no-call. 

On championship weekend, two 40+ year old quarterbacks had a chance to control their own destiny in overtime when their teams won the coin toss.  On the road, Tom Brady drove his team down the field and the Patriots scored a touchdown to win the game.  At home, Drew Brees threw arguably his worst pass of the season, the Rams intercepted the football in Saints territory and subsequently won the game.

Only time will tell if Drew Brees is falling off a cliff.  Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to shift that narrative from Brady to Brees.

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Brad Shepard

Brad's journalism work has been credited in Fox Business, Washington Post, New York Daily News, New York Post, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Chicago Tribune, Deadspin, Yahoo Sports, Forbes, Golf Digest, Bleacher Report, Sporting News, The Sun, NESN, Breitbart, Zero Hedge, and ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, among others. He has appeared on Fox Sports Radio, ESPN Radio, Sky Sports Radio in the UK and Vibe 105 FM in Toronto. He currently co-hosts the “Oh, You Didn’t Know” Wrestling Show, available everywhere you listen to podcasts. Brad was internationally credited for breaking the story of the XFL return. He was voted one of the top 50 best Twitter accounts to follow by The Wrestling Estate. You can follow Brad on Twitter at @TheBradShepard.
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