New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees often benefits from throwing to Pro Bowlers like Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, and Mark Ingram, but on Thanksgiving night he found time for other guys to shine.

And they weren’t household names, or from schools known to most households. Austin Carr, of Northwestern fame. Keith Kirkwood from Temple. Tommylee Lewis out of Northern Illinois. Dan Arnold graduated from Wisconsin – no, not that one. Wisconsin-Platteville. Those four players, none of whom were considered worthy of being selected in the NFL Draft, stepped up when Brees and the Saints needed them most.

It wasn’t like these players were being shooed on and off of the field for trick plays; they combined for 11 targets, catching 7 passes for 101 yards and the 4 touchdowns. Each of them was really a part of the Saints offense beyond what may be assumed as gimmicky scoring opportunities.

Brees acknowledged their less-than-famous backgrounds in his postgame interview, talking at length about how impressed he’s been:

“I have heard that stat, I love that stat. That is actually one of my favorite ones. It says a lot about them. It says a lot about taking advantage of the opportunity and stepping up when we need it. We are down some receivers from the beginning of the year until now and these guys have had to step into these roles and do some things that maybe weren’t expected.

“It is just a growth process, it is fun to watch them grow and gain confidence and build chemistry, which typically takes time, but they have been thrusted into this role. Especially on a short week, this was a challenge; you start playing and thinking about matchups; these are all things that I think keep me up at night.

“As I’m thinking from play to play, it’s about moving the ball and finding that matchup. With young guys stepping up and making the play and having those four guys, Austin Carr, Dan Arnold, Tommylee Lewis, and Keith Kirkwood, right. All of them to play the way they did, to each get a touchdown on Thanksgiving Day with all of their family and friends watching at home is pretty cool.”