By: Ian Logue
Coming into Sunday’s game in Cincinnati, Tom Brady had never lost to the Bengals during his career and had averaged over 30 points per game against them. On paper, they seemed to have history on their side and the odds seemed to be in their favor as the veteran quarterback looked to improve to 4-0 all-time against them.
Instead, history didn’t matter, and Brady and the Patriots left Paul Brown Stadium after the game having lost their first game of the season.
Tom Brady has never beaten Drew Brees during his career.
(USA TODAY Images)
It just goes to show that no matter what’s happened in the past, it doesn’t have any bearing on the future, and hopefully Drew Brees experiences a similar feeling this weekend.
Brees is 3-0 all time against Brady and the Patriots, with their last meeting coming back during the 2009 season on Monday night football where he went out and put on a clinic against New England’s defense. In that game he went out and piled up 371 passing yards along with five touchdowns, finishing with a perfect 158.3 passer rating.
Prior to that he beat them twice as quarterback for the San Diego Chargers, including beating them as a rookie in 2002 by a score of 21-14. Back then Brees threw for just 104 yards and one touchdown, with then-Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson carrying the load after rushing for 217 yards and two touchdowns.
This season the Saints are on a roll, with Brees ranked second in the league in passing yards and third in the league in total offense. Surprisingly they’re only ranked ninth in points-per-game, averaging 26.8. This is obviously going to be New England’s biggest defensive challenge of the year, against an offense that has weapons like Darren Sproles and tight end Jimmy Graham, who are both dynamic and explosive players.
“They’re one of the best football teams in the league, so it’s going to be a good challenge for us,” Brady said during his press conference on Wednesday. “They’re 5-0. They’re playing great in all three phases, so we’ve got to bring our best to beat them.”
“They’ve been one of the best teams in the league for a while. So, it’s good to play an NFC opponent, we’ve played two of them. Hopefully we can go out and beat these guys, but it will be tough.”
They’ll have a little help this weekend should Rob Gronkowski return, which will give them back a big piece of their offense that they’ve been sorely missing through the first five games. He’s such a big key to their success because he’s good on so many levels. Fans obviously know how effective he is in creating space and catching the football, but he’s also so powerful in the ground game as a blocker and is one of the main reasons why Stevan Ridley rushed for over 1,200 yards last season.
Speaking of Ridley, he was back in practice Wednesday after missing all of last week with what had been reported as a thigh injury. His return coupled with Gronkowski’s and Danny Amendola’s last Sunday suddenly has this team nearly at full strength on offense for the first time all year. This is what everyone has been waiting for, and hopefully they can go out and have a big afternoon.
That’s what Brady’s hoping happens this weekend, and he’s hoping he’ll be able to go out and put together a more consistent effort this weekend to compliment what the defense has been giving each week against New Orleans.
They’ve managed a paltry 19.0 points-per-game this season, ranking them 24th in the NFL at this point. Last week’s game obviously dropped that average down after they failed to score a touchdown and mustered all of two field goals. That’s something Brady says needs to improve, and he knows he also needs to play better if he hopes to get his team to 5-1 as well as finally hand Brees his first career loss against them.
“It has to be a team win,” said Brady. “When you play the best teams, you have to be at your best. At times we have done some good things and at times we haven’t. We’ve been inconsistent, and when you’re inconsistent, you don’t get the results you want. So, we’ve got to be more consistent and we’ve got to do things better in every phase. The things that I focus on are the things that I can do to help our offense. The better I play the more points we’re going to score.”
PATRIOTS INJURY WOES CONTINUE:
Injuries continue to plague this team, although now it seems to be affecting the other side of the football this time around. According to yesterday’s report released by the team, defensive lineman Tommy Kelly didn’t participate in Wednesday’s practice session, likely due to the knee injury he suffered in Cincinnati on Sunday. Meanwhile linebackers Jerod Mayo (ankle), Rob Ninkovich (groin), Dont’a Hightower (knee), were also among the defensive names who were limited. Another area to watch is going to be center Ryan Wendell, who apparently suffered a concussion and was also limited in Wednesday’s session. The Bengals did a decent job getting inside pressure last weekend and that’s something that obviously is a problem, and one that Saints coordinator Rob Ryan may try to exploit this weekend in the event the Patriots end up having to shuffling personnel at that position.
CHANGE YOUR TELEVISION CHANNEL FROM TWITTER?
Twitter posted an interesting release yesterday after apparently reaching a partnership with Comcast and NBC Universal that will allow users to tune directly into a channel via a Tweet in the event their friends are talking about a particular television show.
According to the release, the new feature, called “See It” will allow Comcast to give Xfinity TV customers the ability to do several things such as change the channel, set the DVR and play a show On Demand, directly from an expanded Tweet. It will reportedly debut with NBC Universal offerings including The Voice and Sunday Night Football.
ON TO THIS MORNING’S LINKS:
Patriots – Saints, Who Has The “Razor’s Edge”? – Steve Balestrieri – Balestrieri has his weekly preview which breaks down different areas and he lists who he feels has the edge in each category.
Patriots Fourth And Two Podcast: Patriots vs. Saints Preview – Staff – The guys sat down yesterday and discussed this week’s match-up, which included Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com, and John DeShazier from NewOrleansSaints.com who were guests in this week’s edition.
Brady and Brees two of the best – Michael Whitmer – Whitmer has a good article comparing Brady and Brees, which has some impressive numbers on both players.
Tom Brady: ‘I just want to score points’ – Zuri Berry – Berry has notes from yesterday’s press conference with quarterback Tom Brady, who is frustrated with the Patriots’ offensive production.
Week 6: Wednesday practice peek – three not spotted, Ridley returns – Shalise Manza Young – Manza Young has her report from yesterday’s practice report, which included the return of Stevan Ridley, who didn’t practice at all last week but was back out there yesterday.
Brady’s frustration with offense is apparent – Shalise Manza Young – Manza Young files her notebook this morning, which leads off with Brady discussing their inability to score points during his press conference Wednesday, which he obviously feels is going to need to get better if they hope to win football games.
Belichick on the trouble with Jimmy Graham – Zuri Berry – Berry has quotes from Belichick during his press conference on Wednesday, who talked about the Saints’ tight end Jimmy Graham, who at 6-7 265 pounds is still a speedy player and a match-up nightmare.
Patriots rookie WRs uncover adjustments – Jeff Howe – Howe files his notebook this morning, which leads off with the fact that both Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins have noticed defensive adjustments made against them in recent weeks.
Jimmy Graham a nightmare – Karen Guregian – Guregian also has a good article on the Jimmy Graham, and how New England will match-up against him.
Tom Brady set to soldier on – Jeff Howe – Howe writes that while Brady would love to get Rob Gronkowski back, he’s prepared to go out there Sunday without him if he’s not ready.
Will Rob Gronkowski play? Patriots aren’t saying – Rich Garven – Garven writes that as expected, Belichick had little to say regarding the status of tight end Rob Gronkowksi on Wednesday.
Opponents get the drop on bumbling Patriots – Rich Garven – Garven writes that one of the biggest problems plaguing the Patriots Sunday was the fact they couldn’t hold onto the football.
One Scout’s Breakdown of Patriots-Saints: New England has to keep Drew Brees Sidelined – Christopher Price – Price has a good article on one NFL scout’s take on this week’s match-up.
Brees at his best against Brady, Patriots – Mike Triplett – Triplett writes that Brees is 3-0 during his career against Brady and the Patriots.
ATTLEBORO SUN CHRONICLE:
Gronk talk wears thin – Mark Farinella – Farinella has an article on Gronkowsi, whose name has been mentioned so much in recent weeks that he writes it’s become tiresome.
Gronkowki could return against Saints – David Pavear – Pavear has an article on the potential return of Gronkowski, but notes some other numbers from New England’s offense and what it would mean to get him back in the line-up.