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Drew Brees Defies Recovery Odds as Saints Make Run at NFC’s Top Team

drew brees
Photo courtesy of Michael C. Hebert/New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees heard the outside opinions but he had a personal pledge to uphold. There was no way the legendary quarterback wouldn’t make his comeback on Sunday after missing five weeks with a thumb injury.

Brees could’ve elected to return after the upcoming bye week but he was itching to get back in the huddle. Needless to say, it was a seamless transition, as he tossed 373 yards and three touchdowns to guide the New Orleans Saints to a 31-9 victory vs. the visiting Arizona Cardinals.

The Saints (7-1) extend their winning streak to six and remain atop the NFC South standings. Afterward, the competitive Brees was thrilled he beat the projections others set for him.

“This has been the week on my calendar the whole time, was getting back for Arizona, getting back before the bye,” Brees told CST. “I think the initial prognosis from everybody was: ‘Man, you won’t be ready until after the bye.’ But I wasn’t going to take that.”

Brees sustained the injury in Week 2 against the Los Angeles Rams and soon after underwent surgery. Brees explains the factors that made him confident he was ready to make his much-anticipated return.

“A lot of it was just the ability to get a grip on the ball, being able to throw the ball accurately, and being myself. Being able to throw without thinking about it constantly,” Brees said. “So as soon as I was able to grip it and rip it, I wanted to play. I wanted to be out there with my teammates.”

Brees threw his three touchdowns to Latavius Murray, Taysom Hill and Michael Thomas in the second half after his third-quarter interception. Brees is steadfast in crediting the efforts of the line for the Saints’ offensive success this season.

“Ramczyk, Armstead, those guys have done a phenomenal job all year long. A tackle gets put on an island,” Brees said. “Those guys have done a phenomenal job and stepping up to whatever challenges are before them. They’re just warriors. Warriors. Love them.”

Backup Teddy Bridgewater posted a 103.7 passer rating and won all five of his starts in Brees’ absence. Bridgewater captivated Who Dat Nation and became a fan favorite. Brees is extremely proud of Bridgewater for holding down the fort.

“I can’t say enough good things about him and I love the fact that our fan base has embraced him the way that they have. He’s a tremendous teammate and obviously he was a big part of our success over the last few weeks,” Brees said. “Listen, I hope I’m able to stay healthy for the rest of the go, but knowing that you have a guy like that who the guys love so much and the guys trust, and is as capable as he is, that’s a great thing to have.”

The Saints have dealt with injuries to Brees and others (such as Alvin Kamara and Jared Cook) but through it all, they enter their bye week in prime position to contend for the top seed in the NFC and the franchise’s second Super Bowl title. Brees believes the 7-1 mark is a testament to the culture and chemistry of the organization.

“We work hard to be in this position, and I think we understand that at times we’re going to face adversity, at times guys are going to need to step up and play, but we’re all in this together. None more so evident than what’s happened the last six weeks. All kinds of guys stepping up and playing lights out, playing together,” Brees said. “Being able to come together as a team builds confidence because you feel like no matter what situation we get in this team has a chance. When you believe that and you trust that, it gives you a lot of confidence.”