QB Brees says Saints' offense starting to click

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 25, 2012
(Eds: Updates. With AP Photos.) By GUERRY SMITH Associated Press Drew Brees believes the Saints' offense is close to where it needs to be. Even without injured Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham, the Saints had five touchdowns in a six-possession span at Tampa Bay in a 35-28 win. ''Definitely you feel that no matter what play is called, we're going to make it work and we have the opportunity to really make something happen,'' Brees said Wednesday. ''That's the feeling we want, when everybody's in sync and everyone's in rhythm.'' The Saints had that feeling for virtually all of 2011, when they set the NFL record for yards and first downs while Brees broke Dan Marino's 27-year-old mark for passing yards in a season. They - and Brees - started slowly this year in the absence of coach Sean Payton, who was suspended for the season for his role in the NFL bounty's investigation of New Orleans. Through three games, Brees was 75 of 137 (54.7 percent) for 904 yards and seven touchdowns with five interceptions. The Saints lost all three. In the last three games, he is 91 of 136 (66.9 percent) for 1,192 yards, 11 TDs and two interceptions. The Saints are 2-1 in those games; losing at Green Bay 28-27 before beating San Diego and Tampa Bay. Against San Diego, they scored two touchdowns and a field goal on their last three series before Brees took a knee on the final play to run out the clock. The week before, they scored two touchdowns and kicked two field goals on four consecutive possessions in Green Bay. Next up: a date in Denver with Peyton Manning and the Broncos on Sunday night. ''What they're doing now is just playing great as an offense,'' Denver linebacker Keith Brooking said. ''All 11 guys are holding up on their responsibilities. . (Brees) is playing better than he's played since I've been following him and watching him. He's one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the league.'' Brees' recent run has been even more impressive because of injuries to key receivers. Graham led the Saints with 99 catches for 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns last year, but his absence due to a sprained ankle did not slow Brees against Tampa Bay. He connected with wide receiver Lance Moore nine times for 121 yards and even threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Graham's backup, David Thomas. Moore missed the San Diego game with a strained right hamstring. His backup, Greg Camarillo, converted three pivotal first downs as he caught his first four passes of the year. ''There are times when we have guys down and a little dinged up, and we have to manage,'' Brees said. ''By Lance Moore being down against San Diego, that gave opportunities for others. Jimmy Graham was down this week, and that gave opportunities for others. ''What you love is when you have access to the full arsenal.'' Brees has gotten hot without much help from a running game. New Orleans ranks last in the NFL in rushing, averaging 76.2 yards, and that weakness almost cost the Saints against Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers stopped Darren Sproles on a third-and-3 run when the Saints needed one more first down to run out the clock just before the 2-minute warning. New Orleans punted, and Tampa Bay came within 9 yards of a tying touchdown in the final seconds. ''Obviously the running game is still a huge issue for us and something we're still working on,'' offensive tackle Zach Strief said. ''But the offense has felt at times how we should be feeling and we have gotten going the way we'd like to.'' NOTES: Interim coach Joe Vitt said Graham ran routes in practice on Wednesday and looked good but that his ankle still needed to be evaluated by trainers. . Sproles was excused from practice because of an illness in his family. . Linebacker David Hawthorne, who has missed three straight games with a right hamstring injury, returned to practice but was limited. Wide receiver Joe Morgan, who was taken to a Tampa-area hospital with a chest injury on Sunday, also was limited in practice. --- Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Cubs trade for Chapman a risk, but potential payoff too hard to ignore

White Sox fan wears a fantastic taped-up Chris Sale jersey

Wisconsin kicker will wear 27 to honor Nebraska's Sam Foltz

Dennis Schroder wears disguise to play in German streetball tournament

Browns indicate they will give Josh Gordon another chance


Prince Fielder to undergo season-ending neck surgery

Eagles want Carson Wentz to be 'starter ready' Week 1

Report: 49ers concerned Anthony Davis will quit again

Did Manning hurt NFLPA's case in HGH investigations?

Report: Steinbrenner won't allow fire sale, wants to make playoffs

Report: Dion Waiters agrees to one-year deal with Heat

Dion Waiters' deal signals the end of the 2016 money grab

Tom Jackson could leave ESPN after almost three decades

Cavs sign coach Tyronn Lue to a five-year extension

More than 10,000 people registered for Jaguars Pokemon Go night

NFL issues new concussion protocol

Angels listening to offers on Hector Santiago

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

Kevin Durant’s OKC restaurant will be closed, rebranded

Lamar Odom said to be held back by one 'toxic friend'

Mario Balotelli crashes Liverpool fans' wedding

Michael Vick: I used to feel I was 'dominating too much'

WATCH: Astros, Rangers minor leaguers get into brawl

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker