Brian Allee-Walsh

Yardage record in hand, Drew Brees can set more personal marks against the Ravens

Drew Brees has never beaten the Baltimore Ravens. Not as quarterback of the then-San Diego Chargers (0-1) in 2003. Not as quarterback of the New Orleans Saints (0-3) in 2006, ‘10 and ‘14.

He has beaten every other team in 17-plus stellar NFL seasons, but never the Ravens. He even has beaten the Saints while playing for the Chargers.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Standing south of 6-feet and playing with a rebuilt right shoulder since 2006, Brees has defied medical odds while in New Orleans and earned first-ballot Hall of Fame status.

He has compiled more passing yards than any other NFL quarterback. With one more TD pass, he will reach 500 for his career and join an exclusive club that features Peyton Manning (539), Brett Favre (508) and Tom Brady (501). Brees has eclipsed 5,000 passing yards in five different seasons and ranks as the most accurate QB in league history.

But No. 9 has never beaten the Ravens.

He can right that wrong Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in downtown Baltimore when the AFC North-leading Ravens (4-2) host the NFC South-leading Saints (4-1) at 3:05 p.m. (FOX).

The Saints are 2 1/2-point road ‘dogs, not because of a Ravens’ offense led by quarterback Joe Flacco but because of a suffocating defense that leads the NFL in fewest points allowed (12.8 ppg) and sacks (26), including 11 in a 21-0 whitewash of the Tennessee Titans last week.

“Listen I would love to beat those guys,’‘ Brees said. “They’re always a great team when you play them, so you always know it’s going to be slugfest. They’re the number one defense in the league, so we know we have our work cut out for us.’‘

Suffice to say, Brees has not dwelled on his past performances against Baltimore while going about his game preparation for the present-day Ravens. But in order to correct the mistakes one has to understand what went wrong in the first place and try to prevent them from happening again.

In his four prior losses against Baltimore, Brees completed 116 of 171 passes for 1,340 yards, with nine TDs, eight INTs including three picks 6s, and 12 sacks for a shaky 89.3 passer rating.

By comparison, chew on his current worksheet through five games: 148 of 190 for 1,658 yards (78 percent), with 11 TDs, zero INTs and 8 sacks for a league-leading 122.8 passer rating.

At his current pace, he would obliterate NFL single-season records for completion percentage (72.0 percent, 2017, a record he owns) and passer rating (116.0).

For now, Drew Brees is only concerned with one thing:

Trying to beat an old nemesis that stains his resume’.

Brian Allee-Walsh, a longtime Saints reporter based in New Orleans, can be reached at sports@sunherald.com.
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