Tue, Oct 28, 2008 - Page 20 News List

NFL: Cool Brees helps Saints back on track

LONDON CALLING Spectators at Wembley Stadium got their money’s worth as Drew Brees went 30-for-41 for 339 yards to lift New Orleans past San Diego 37-32


A trans-Atlantic trip was just what Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints needed to get their season back on track.

Brees went 30-for-41 for 339 yards and three touchdown passes against his former team, leading the Saints to a 37-32 win over San Diego on Sunday at Wembley Stadium, putting New Orleans back at .500 and dropping the Chargers to 3-5.

The Saints (4-4) held off a late comeback by the Chargers, who came from 37-20 down early in the fourth quarter and were driving for the tying touchdown. But linebacker Jonathan Vilma picked off a pass by Philip Rivers with just over a minute to go. Brees took a safety in the final seconds to complete the scoring.

After last year’s rain-soaked, ­error-filled 13-10 win by the New York Giants over the Miami Dolphins in London, the NFL was hoping for a high-scoring, offensive show in its return to the English capital. And that’s just what the 83,226 fans at England’s showcase venue got.

Brees, who came into the game leading the NFL with 2,224 yards passing, exploited the Chargers’ vulnerable pass defense. But Philip Rivers, his former backup in San Diego, came up with big numbers too, completing 25 of 40 attempts for 343 yards and three touchdowns to bring his season total to 19 TDs. But while Brees went without an interception, Rivers’ one pick on the final drive proved crucial.


At Pittsburgh, the New York Giants did little with the exceptional field position the Steelers gave them. Finally, when it seemed Pittsburgh had too much depth and defense for the Super Bowl champs, the Steelers were tripped up by — of all things — a bad punt snap.

Eli Manning threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Boss with 3:11 remaining for the Giants’ only touchdown after they tied it several minutes before on a bizarre safety. Linebacker James Harrison’s high snap on the punt gave New York two points, and the Giants held off Pittsburgh for a 21-14 victory in a matchup of division leaders.

The resilient Steelers (5-2) playing with backups all over the field, tried to make up for Ben Roethlisberger’s four interceptions by turning two big-play scores into a lead they preserved with a goal-line stand midway through the fourth quarter.

But the Giants (6-1) tied it with 6:48 remaining on the safety.

Pro Bowl linebacker Harrison, playing center due to long snapper Greg Warren’s knee injury, snapped the ball over punter Mitch Berger’s head and out of the end zone. It wasn’t certain why Harrison was snapping rather than starting center Justin Hartwig or right guard Darnell Stapleton, a center at Rutgers.

John Carney kicked four field goals for New York.


At Jacksonville, Florida, Jamal Lewis ran for 81 yards and a touchdown and Derek Anderson completed three huge passes to give the Browns their second victory in as many games without Winslow, the outspoken Pro Bowl tight end who missed the game after criticizing the team following his staph infection.

The Browns (3-4) played their best game of the season two weeks ago while Winslow was in the hospital and beat the Giants.

They didn’t miss him against the Jaguars (3-4), either.

Anderson finished 14-of-27 for 264 yards and a touchdown. He had 168 yards passing in the first half, including a 5-yard TD toss to Donte’ Stallworth; a 51-yard completion to Winslow’s replacement, Steve Heiden, on fourth down; and a 43-yarder to Braylon Edwards that set up a short field goal.

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