You Are Missing History

Nov 10, 2009 by

You Are Missing History

Not watching the Saints? You should be. That every Saints game becomes a part of the NFL ouevre and a slice of New Orleans’ collective consciousness goes without saying, but at 8-0 the Saints are poised to make history with every game. I don’t want to start the whole Undefeated Season argument here, but with exactly 50% of the season in the books the question begins to burn in my mind: Can they do it? I refuse to give my answer though because there are more tangible goals closer to hand and that’s what we’re going to talk about here today.

As Humid City’s resident NFL nut, I buried my nose in the Saints 2009 Media Guide for the past few hours and came to the realization that, Undefeatedness aside, the Saints are making small, historic moves in every game and if you aren’t watching, you are likely missing the best football ever played in this town. (Steelers Superbowls aside.) The next time someone tells you football is just a bunch of guys running around not doing much of anything, Drop some of this science on ’em!

Let’s start with quarterback Drew Brees.

Though he’s been a Saint for just three and a half short years he’s been busy tearing apart the team passing records. He currently holds first through third place in season passing yards: 5,069 in ’08, 4,423 in ’07 and 4,418 in ’06. He holds four of the top five game passing yard records with 510, 445, 422 and 421, the lone exception being a 441 yard game by Aaron Brooks. Brees also holds the record for 300-yard passing games with 28, five of those from this year! He holds spots 1, 2 and 5 in pass attempts/season and 1st in consecutive completions with 17.

Brees’ career completion percentage is 65.7, a 1st place record beating Jim Everett by 4.7% and he holds 1st place in TDs/season with 34 in 2008, beating his 2nd place 2007 mark of 28. He holds the highest career passer rating for any Saint QB with a 93.8. His three seasons are all records with an 89.4 rating in 2007 (4th) and 96.2 in both 2006 and 2008. (1st and 2nd) His 157.5 rating vs Green Bay on 11/24/08 ranks 2nd behind Mike Buck by only eight tenths of a percent. (158.3 at Pittsburgh, 10/17/93) Currently his passer rating is coasting along at a very nice 106.1.

And he’s not done yet.

If you missed the Buffalo game you missed Drew move past Bobby Hebert into 3rd place all-time in passing yards. With 16,246 he’s only 2,911 yards away from passing Aaron Brooks (19,156) for 2nd. That probably won’t happen this year, but hey… who knows? However one stat that’s almost a gimme for Brees this year is career TDs. At 105 Brees needs just 11 more to pass Archie Manning (115) for 2nd place and 16 to pass Aaron Brooks (120) for 1st place all-time in the Saints record book.

Just two weeks ago in the Dome vs Atlanta Brees moved into 3rd place all-time in passing attempts, displacing Hebert (2,055) in the process. At 2,106 completions it may be awhile before Drew catches Aaron Brooks’ 2,771 attempts. Check back this time next year. With 1,390 completions he’s just 174 away from moving into 2nd place all-time past Brooks (1,563) though, and that could realistically happen in the closing weeks of the regular season.

I know no-one wants to see an interception, but just two more will tie Drew with Dave Wilson (55/7 yrs) at 5th all-time. Still, respectable and while close to Billy Kilmer (62/3 years) and Bobby Hebert (75/7 yrs), still a far cry from Aaron Brooks (84/5 yrs) and that Manning kid (156/11 yrs). For fun I figured the averages: Drew is tossing 15.14 interceptions/year. Wilson tossed 7.85/yr, Kilmer 20.67/yr, Hebert 10.71/yr, Brooks 16.8/yr and Archie 14.18/yr. Admittedly that’s high, but then just compare the other stats and really, it doesn’t look too bad.

OK, that’s a lot to take in, but there’s more. Marques Colston is nearing some milestones of his own. With 252 receptions, Colston passed both Deuce McAllister (234) and Dalton Hilliard (249) for 7th all-time earlier this year. He needs just 16 receptions to take 6th place from Hoby Brenner (267) and 19 to take possession of 5th place from Quinn Early. Colston’s 3,596 receiving yards moved him past Henry Childs (3,224) and into 6th place all-time and he needs just 163 more yards to take another 5th place slot away from Early (3,758). Colston began the season with 24 TDs and his six this year have jumped him past both Early (25) and Childs (27) for sole possession of 4th place. Eight more scores and he’ll move into 3rd past Danny Abramowicz (37).

Running back Reggie Bush has also been busy, but not where you think! Bush has 240 career receptions which moves him into 9th place past Deuce McAllister (234). Reggie needs just 10 catches to dislodge Dalton Hilliard (249) from 8th place. He’s also 13 away from taking the 7th spot away from Marques Colston and the reception race between these two is one of the truly nifty things to watch during a game!

Defensively, Charles Grant has a career 45.5 sacks, tying Jim Wilks at 7th all-time in week 4 vs the Jets. Grant needs half a sack for sole possession of 7th and 5 sacks to move into 6th past La’Roi Glover (50). If he can manage that, a sixth sack this year will move him into 5th all-time past Joe Johnson (50.5).

“Old Man” Darren Sharper already has 7 picks this year placing him in a 3rd place tie with Tommy Myers for interceptions in a season. Sharper needs 3 picks to pass Dave Waymer (9) for 2nd and 4 to move into 1st place  past Dave Whitsell (10). He would need 13 picks in the remaining eight games to move into 5th place in all-time career interceptions past Whitsel (19).

His 317 return yards moves him into 5th place all-time past Toi Cook (16 returns/280 yards) and he needs just 8 return yards to move past Gene Atkins (21/324) for 4th place all-time. Seasonally, his 317 return yards on 7 picks (so far) are a 1st place record leapfrogging him past Mike McKenzie (3/161), Tommy Myers (6/167), Sammy Knight (6/171), Dave Whitsell (10/178), and Gene Atkins (5/198). I couldn’t find a record for average return yards, but from what I can make out Sharper’s 45.29 yard average is second only to McKenzie’s 53.67 in a season.

Three of Sharpers picks have been TDs placing him 2nd all-time in a tie with Jim Merlo and Brett Maxie. One more Pick-Six will tie him in 1st all-time with the legendary Sammy Knight. Of course, that’s career TD returns. His three scores are currently the gold standard among Saints in a season dropping Whitsell, Merlo, Dennis Winston, McKenzie and Sammy Knight (twice) into second place for INT returns in a season. His 99 yard TD return against the New York Jets is the longest in Saints history beating Tommy Myers 1978 return vs Minnesota by two yards. And he’s only been here for eight freaking games!

Since the first proto-humans crawled from the primordial ooze and began kicking round things about the African plain, all-time scoring has generally been the domain of the kicker. Of course there have been odd years like 1989 when Dalton Hilliard’s 18 TDs netted him 108 points, a glaring blight smack in the middle of Morton Andersen’s eleven year career as the teams top scorer. (Anderson still knocked in a total of 104 points that year, just 4 shy of Dalton.) Since 1967 there have been just 8 instances when the kicker wasn’t the Saints top scorer and two of those years just passed: Colston’s 11 TDs in 2007 and Pierre Thomas’ 12 TDs in 2008. (Both years saw injuries and problems in the kicking game. 2007’s kicking duties were split between Mare and Gramatica and 2008 split between Gramatica, Hartley and Mehlhaff.) So far John Carney has 69 points on the year followed by both Colston and Thomas with 6 TDs each for 36 points. Carney holds the record for points in a season with 130 back in 2002 and he’s currently on pace to break that by 8 points. Barring unforseen circumstances this should be Carney’s year but the way Brees is spreading the ball around the scoring title could go to either Colston or Thomas. Just another little stat to spice up the game!

And speaking of our favorite prodigal John Carney. At 161 field goals, John needs just 142 more to move into 1st place all-time past Morton Andersen (302). Carney has 730 career points with the Saints and needs just 589 more to move past Andersen (1,318) for 1st place in that category. And with 247 PATs, 166 more will dislodge Andersen (412) from his 1st place slot in that category as well. Yeah, okay, some records are very safe indeed!

At 306 total points on the season, the Saints are just 158 points shy of shattering their highest point total ever: 463 in 2008. Through eight games the Saints are averaging 38.25 points/game. At that rate the Saints will be five points shy of the record within the next four games!

Our next opponent is the 1-7 St Louis Rams, our third longest rivalry (67 games) after the 49ers (70 games) and Falcons (80 including this years contest.) Since the Saints have what is known in NFL circles as a high powered offense these days, you might be interested to know that the most points we’ve ever scored in a game is 51 versus the Rams back on 11/2/69. In fact, that was the highest scoring game in Saints history (93 points) as the Saints beat the Rams 51-42. In the Payton/Brees era the teams have met only once, a 37-29 loss for the Saints which, coincidentally, is where the series stood in favor of the Rams at the time. The Rams now lead the series 38-29.

So there’s a whole Mess O’ Science you can drop on your homeys as the game unfolds Sunday. Memorize a few stats and spit them out before the announcers do and watch as the jaws drop at your incredible knowledge of the Saints. And if you don’t care about the numbers, or the Saints, or the NFL, then please siddown, shaddup and get your damn feet off my coffee table… you’re blocking my view of history!

M Styborski

Related Posts

Share This