Sun, Oct 19, 2008 - Page 19 News List

NFL: Steady Brees and blazing Bush ignite New Orleans attack


During Mardi Gras last year, the cacophony of spectators calling out for beaded necklaces along St. Charles Avenue suddenly evolved into rhythmic, orderly chants of M-V-P!

Drew Brees, wearing a tuxedo, beamed as he stood at the head of a float, tossing prized Carnival “throws” to the admiring crowd.

Brees was not the NFL’s MVP of that recently concluded season (it was San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson), but in New Orleans, fans wanted their quarterback to know what they thought only weeks after he’d led the Saints to their first NFC championship game appearance in franchise history.

Two seasons later, Brees very well may be on pace to become the actual MVP of his league, with more than a little help from a charismatic running back and punt returner whose exploits routinely inspire unified chants of “REG-GIE! REG-GIE!” in the Louisiana Superdome.

Brees, now in his eighth pro season, and Reggie Bush, in his third year, are simultaneously playing the best football of their careers, which makes the Saints’ offense extremely tough to stop.

Through six games, Brees has completed 71 percent of his passes for 1,993 yards and 12 touchdowns, putting him on pace to break Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino’s 1984 record of 5,084 yards passing in a single season.

“These first six games are probably the best stretch of six games I’ve played,” Brees said this week. “I just feel like with as much work and everything that we’ve put into this thing, it’s becoming automatic. And that’s when you know you’re getting somewhere and you know you’re kind of getting that level is when you’re not having to think about things anymore, it’s just happening.”

It would be one thing if Brees had all of the receiving threats at his disposal that he expected when the season began. He hasn’t, because Marques Colston, the team’s best receiver for the previous two seasons, tore ligaments in his thumb in Week 1 and missed the past five games. And former Pro Bowl tight end Jeremy Shockey (sports hernia) and veteran receiver David Patten (groin) each missed the past three games.

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