Drew Brees reminded everyone last week why he is one of the best ever in two-minute situations.
The pressure isn't pressure for Brees. He's too cool, too calm, even when it comes down to attempting a pass with five seconds left. See, that isn't easy. The key is making sure that one tick remains on the clock after the pass is caught or hits the turf. The Saints quarterback was asked to do this against the Panthers last week and never blinked. That feel for the game is rare, just one of many subtle things Brees regularly does to remind everyone that he isn't like most of the guys who play the position.
"I think there's a comfort level relative to what he's wanting," coach Sean Payton said.
Usually, yes, but the remarkable thing about that play at the end of the first half against the Panthers is that Brees didn't even get what he wanted, and yet he remained patient enough to find another receiver while also recognizing the urgency of the situation. His first look was to Jared Cook, who was running a fade to the outside. Once that was gone, the quarterback quickly scanned to his left, saw Deonte Harris coming off a whip route, and fired a pass.
It worked. The Saints took a 21-17 lead into halftime. The clock read two seconds when New Orleans kicked off.
Brees has been one of the best quarterbacks at running the 2-minute drill for more than a decade. His continued mastery of the offense and understanding of the game has only made him better as he has gotten older. But how does the team operate in these situations, and what makes it so simple? Evaluating the last four seasons of 2-minute plays reveals some identifiable trends and philosophies that correlate to success.