METAIRIE, La. — Drew Brees attempted to direct the conversation on Wednesday away from the New Orleans Saints’ loss to the Washington Redskins and towards this Sunday’s game at the Carolina Panthers.
But with so many questions still to be asked about what happened, Brees was, once again, unprotected and left to fend for himself.
“Sunday, it’s disappointing,” Brees said. “We’re not used to losing. We haven’t lost in that building in a long time. We didn’t lose there last year. Do the math and it’s probably 500 days since we lost in that building. Just the disappointment in that and knowing we’re better than that.”
Breakdowns occurred in all three phases of the game.
The offense had three-and-outs in five of its first eight series and accumulated 35 yards in penalties. The defense gave up scores on Washington’s first four series, including an 88-yard touchdown pass and a 12-play, 57-yard touchdown drive. And on special teams, in spite of the blocked punt for a touchdown, a 12-men on the field penalty put an already tired defense back on the field.
Offensively, though, Brees saw the little mistakes that kept last season’s record-setting unit from getting going.
“We just had a lot of those and they came at some pretty inopportune times,” Brees said. “You walk away from it saying, you know, never really felt like we were in a rhythm and that could be attributed to a lot of those things I’m talking about.”
Washington’s game plan called for overloading one side at times, sending more players than the Saints could block. This helped get the Saints out of rhythm.
According to ProFootbalFocus.com, four of Brees’ 28 incompletions were dropped. Additionally, Brees had four passes batted down. Left tackle Jermon Bushrod, who earned a Pro Bowl berth a season ago, gave up a sack and five quarterback hurries.
Receiver Marques Colston fumbled going into the end zone, Zach Strief had two false start penalties and Lance Moore had one false start penalties.
“I just never felt like we really got off the ground ever or rarely,” Brees said. “Before we knew it, we were down by enough there in the second half that it became a little bit of a two-minute fest where you’re trying to play catch up.”
The offense spent much of the day in and-long situations thanks to penalties. That contributed to uncharacteristically low 18.2 conversion percentage.
At 46.2 percent, Brees had his third-worst in terms of completion percentage in his career. Only five other times has he completed less than 50 percent of his passes.
Brees called the offense inefficient, but when pressed to explain what triggered them, he said it was just an off day.
“Defensively they played very well,” he said. “But we had quite a few self-inflicted wounds as well with the penalties and just lack of execution. I don’t think they did anything that was earth-shattering or that we didn’t expect or that we hadn’t seen or anticipated.”