Brian Allee-Walsh

Panicked Saints fans can take a deep breath. Teddy is on the job.

Drew has always been the Brees under the New Orleans Saints’ wings. Now, it appears the Saints also can fly with Teddy Bridgewater under center.

Bridgewater stepped up as the quarterback of record in Brees’ absence Sunday at Seattle and helped deliver a meaningful 33-27 victory at soggy CenturyLink Field, putting the troubled minds of Who Dat Nation at ease and silencing skeptics who were quick to count the Black and Gold out of Super Bowl LIV contention.

However, before anyone thinks the Saints are out of the woods while Brees’ surgically-repaired right thumb on his passing hand mends, think again.

One game is hardly a true sample. In fact, it wasn’t so much what Bridgewater did as what he didn’t do against the self-destructive Seahawks. Yes, TB5 acquitted himself nicely (112.7 passer rating) but he greatly benefited from an all-around team effort with special teams and the defense contributing touchdowns and other key plays.

Bridgewater did play turnover-free and carried out coach Sean Payton’s offensive game plan with few hiccups.

We will know more about Bridgewater’s staying power following Sunday night’s nationally-televised showdown against the undefeated Dallas Cowboys and new-contract-in-wait quarterback Dak Prescott at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (7:20 p.m., NBC).

If nothing else, Sunday’s highly-anticipated game in the Pacific Northwest showed us who will keep the seat warm for Brees until his projected return in November. And it isn’t Taysom Hill.

Bridgewater played all but one offensive snap at quarterback against the Seahawks while Hill was on the field for four offensive plays. Expect their usage to vary week to week depending on the opponent, game plan and in-game situations.

But it appears Brees’ job is Bridgewater’s job to lose, again until No. 9 returns to good health.

There is no quarterback controversy here. Brees will not be Wally Pipp-ed. Once the Saints medical staff gives Brees’ a thumbs up and releases him to play, whenever that time comes, the depth chart will return to status quo.

Brees. Bridgewater. Hill.

And while Bridgewater should be applauded for his inspiring performance in a historically hostile environment, I came away with a deeper appreciation and better perspective for what Brees has accomplished since his arrival in New Orleans in 2006.

Did you know that Bridgewater is the first winning quarterback of record in New Orleans — other than Brees — since Aaron Brooks in Week 12 of the Hurricane Katrina season?

The Brooks-led Saints beat the New York Jets 21-19 on Nov. 27, 2005, in their second trip of the season to The Meadowlands at East Rutherford, New Jersey. Remember, the Saints were forced to move a scheduled home game against the New York Giants to The Meadowlands in Week 2 because Katrina had left the Superdome in disrepair.

For those keeping score at home, that breaks down to 5,047 days and 192 wins with Brees under center between Brooks and Bridgewater.

Bridgewater now is 1-1 in New Orleans.

Appearances could be misleading but TB5 doesn’t look to be one and done.

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