Drew Brees back from the dead

On the brink of elimination, Drew Brees made a resounding comeback. Down two games to one, Brees was nearly perfect. He was the model of efficiency from the beginning of the game until the end. His line protected well and he actually made a team pay for their mistakes.

Drew Brees was more than effective. After two games that left a lot to be desired, the Chargers quarterback turned in a Herculean effort, going 16-for-20 for 206 yards and three touchdowns that tied a career high.

There were moments he came up like the Brees of old, but they were few and very far between. Even when he gaffed, the play turned out well.

Although Reche Caldwell took the blame on himself for going out of bounds on his 49 yard reception down the right sidelines, Brees laid the ball a little too far over his right shoulder, thus forcing Caldwell to be carried out of bounds, eliminating a sure touchdown.

"I thought he was outstanding," Marty Schottenheimer said.

His quarterback rating was a robust 149.2. His ability to stand up tall in the face of criticism ranks even higher. Sorry Philip. Your turn will have to wait.

"He is one of the most competitive people I have been around," said Schottenheimer. "He knew we needed better play from that position coming in. He certainly stepped up and took advantage of the opportunities."

Brees was able to deliver strike after strike. Never did he force the play. When the play was there – he took it. Patient – Brees has never been, but he played like the four year vet that he is.

It was an eerie transformation. Just when you thought the downward spiral had begun, Brees pulls out a game like this. Of course it is the werewolf in Brees that scares the Chargers at the same time. They never are sure which quarterback they will get. On Sunday, they got the best he has been since he entered the Kansas City game back in 2001.

The winning effort was certainly a building block for this team. Suddenly, games on the horizon that looked like losses are winnable. Games that even the fans chalked up as pitfalls are viewed as jumping stones.

While several players tempered the enthusiasm of one win, Brees hoped it was the turn the Chargers have not been able to make.

"It was a huge win for the team," Brees said. "Hopefully it is the start of a roll. It was fun to win and definitely fun to win big."

"I've been saying that all along: Drew is going to be (fine)," running back LaDainian Tomlinson said.

All along the blame has gone to Brees – and justifiably so. Now the victor, he gets his due.

Schottenheimer made a point to spread some of the blame around in week's past. This week, he broke down.

An admission from the coach:

"The quarterback can be the difference," he said. "He played quite well – a winning effort."

Brees did play well. He was the difference. His play opened up monumental holes in the running game. His play put points on the board.

And the Rivers train has been delayed.


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