Fresh off major milestone, Brees prepares for matchup against Rams

News-DemocratDecember 13, 2013 

— He became one of only five NFL quarterbacks to throw for 50,000 yards in his career last Sunday, but New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees isn't done yet.

"Well, I hope there's a lot more where that came from," Brees said of the milestone. "I don't plan on stopping any time soon."

Brees and a super-charged Saints offense that is producing almost 400 yards per game will play the St. Louis Rams at 3:25 p.m. Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.

"He's so smart and accurate," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said of Brees. "He just sees the field. He knows where to go with the football and moves in the pocket, excellent mobility.

"Then, he puts balls where most quarterbacks can't."

Other members of the 50,000 club include Brett Favre (71,838 yards), Peyton Manning (64,009 yards), Dan Marino (63,361 yards) and John Elway (50,026), but Brees got there faster than any of them by reaching the milestone in his 183rd game, eight games faster than Manning.

Yet, there was little fanfare when Brees reached the mark with a 22-yard pass to tight end Jimmy Graham in the fourth quarter of the Saints' 31-13 win over the Carolina Panthers.

"We were kidding him after the game," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "It seems like each year that goes by, there's something he's accomplishing that is pretty significant, and the other night when it happened in the game, I don't know that any one of us were aware of what play it happened on.

"It wasn't until after the game they had made that announcement in the locker room, so there wasn't a lot of pomp and circumstance with it. It was a game ball and kind of an 'atta boy' and on to the next week."

The 34-year-old Brees said the time to reflect on that accomplishment will come after the season.

"I remember before the season started somebody mentioned that milestone to me and just didn't want to think about it," Brees said. "I just knew that as long as we took care of business and focused on winning, executing the offense and all those things that all that stuff would happen. It's a tremendous honor.

"It just makes me think of all the guys that I played with back from my San Diego days. There have been a lot of people that have been a part of that."

Since joining the Saints in 2006, Brees leads NFL with 37,678 passing yards and 277 touchdowns.

Brees said familiarity leads to confidence, and the Saints' offense definitely has that going for it.

"A lot of these guys have been with me for a long time like (wide receivers) Marques Colston and Lance Moore (who) have been here since 2006," Brees said. "We've all been here eight years together. (Wide receiver Robert) Meachem got here in '07. He obviously signed that deal with San Diego last year, so we weren't with him for a year, but he's back. Jimmy Graham, this is our fourth year together. (Running back) Pierre Thomas, this is our seventh year together. I was in San Diego when we drafted (running back Darren) Sproles in '05, so I've got a great rapport with Darren.

"I just feel like we've all been together for a very long time. There's just a great comfortable level and great confidence amongst all of us together."

The Saints can clinch a playoff berth with a win, and Brees said the Saints aren't looking past the Rams.

Brees remembers the Saints' last appearance at the Edward Jones Dome in 2011. The Rams upset the Saints 31-21 as Brees was sacked six times and intercepted twice.

"They all concern me. They all give me stress," Brees said of the matchup with the Rams. "We know we're coming in and playing a very good football team. A team that is very prideful, plays very well at home.

"Despite what their record might show, there's just a level of pride and we also know the times where we've gone there and played in '09 and '11 and they've been tough, hard fought games. Last time we went, we got whooped, no bones about it. And we all remember that, the guys that were here, and we know it's going to take a much better performance on our part this time around in order to get a win."

The Rams have 38 sacks, 91 quarterback hits and 115 quarterback pressures this season.

Brees said he was impressed with the Rams' ability to pressure the quarterback with just their front four.

"They've got some exceptional talent up front and they do a great job especially at home of getting pressure on the quarterback, forcing you to get the ball out before you want and they've been able to force turnovers whether it's a sack-fumble or interception ," Brees said.

Contact reporter Steve Korte at skorte@bnd.com or 239-2522.

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