In case it was possible that you actually needed added motivation to root for the New Orleans Saints to beat the Baltimore Ravens this week, I’ve got good news for you if you like the team from down south, and their quarterback in particular, because it could potentially be a historic game.
You are no doubt aware that Drew Brees has been playing football for an awfully long time. Originally drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 2001, the 39-year-old is playing in his 18th NFL season, 13 of which have been with the Saints. He has indisputably helped turn the franchise around.
He comes into this game against the Ravens on the precipice of history, having already made history two weeks ago when he surpassed Peyton Manning in throwing for the most yardage in NFL history. Now sitting on the doorstep of 500 passing touchdowns, Baltimore has the privilege of being the team to get the first crack at trying to prevent it from happening against them.
If that were not enough, the Ravens are the only NFL franchise that Brees has never beaten in his career. All 31 other teams—including the Saints, 43-17 back in 2004 in his penultimate season with the Chargers—are able to lay claim to the title of “Loser to Drew Brees”. The Ravens have been the lone holdout.
Until today, perhaps? And realistically, this may be his last opportunity to do so. Soon to turn 40 years old, Brees would not be scheduled to face the Ravens again until 2022, when he would be 43 years old, assuming he is still in the league. Barring a change to another team, or facing them in the Super Bowl, it may be now or never for ol’ Drew to get that last notch in his belt.
This will be the fifth time in his career that he faces the Ravens, however. He is 0-4 against them, in case that wasn’t obvious. Most recently, the Ravens beat the Saints 34-27 back in 2014, despite three touchdown passes to one interception for him in that contest and throwing for 420 yards. It was a similar story in 2010, a 30-24 loss despite three touchdown passes to one interception.
The Ravens mostly had their way with him way back in 2006. Though he did, once again, through three touchdowns, he also threw three interceptions in the 35-22 defeat. Two of those interceptions were returned for defensive touchdowns. His first game against the Ravens came back when he was still in San Diego, in 2003. That year, they lost 24-10. He didn’t throw any touchdowns, but was picked off three times instead.
The Ravens currently have one of the best defenses in the league, ranking first in points allowed as well as yardage and first downs, as well as sacks. But Brees is also playing about as well as he ever has, which is really saying something, throwing 11 touchdowns to zero interceptions, completing 78 percent of his passes, and averaging 8.7 yards per attempt and 331 yards per game with a quarterback rating of 122.3.
In other words, something has got to give.