Brees vs. Brady in the Game of the Week

Three years ago it was No. 4 Michigan vs. No. 11 Purdue, a game that matched Brees' skills against those of current Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, a senior who was a year ahead of Brees. Brady is again a year ahead, this time in his development entering week 4 of the 2002 NFL season with the 3-0 San Diego Chargers meeting the 3-0 New England Patriots.

To date, it remains the only on-field meeting between the Big Ten products. And the details are as fresh in Brees' mind today as it was on that cold, rainy October afternoon in Ann Arbor, Michigan. "I definitely remember it," Brees said of Purdue's 38-12 loss. "It was in the Big House. We were 4-0 and they were 4-0. Now, we're 3-0 and they're 3-0. We're looking to make a name for ourselves, and they're trying to defend their title. That's funny. I definitely don't want this game to turn out like it did then, because we got whupped. It was raining and we had 13 dropped passes. I didn't play my best game either, and there were some turnovers and miscommunication."

Brees was 20-of-49 passing for 293 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Brady, who played all but the second quarter, was 15-of-25 for 250 yards and two scores.

Both have become fierce generals on the NFL playing field. How exactly did Tom Brady last into the 6th round? So much has happened since then it does not even matter. Brady took over the Patriots after Drew Bledsoe got hit by Mo Lewis of the New York Jets which caused internal bleeding on September 23rd of last year. Brady has not looked back since and a year later he is the best quarterback in the league. He has a long way to go to keep that title but his amazing start to this year puts him among the elite for the time being.

Drew Brees was selected with the 1st pick in the 2nd round of the 2001 NFL draft. He played one game in 2001 vs. Kansas City and rallied his team back from a 19-0 deficit completing a 20 yard touchdown pass to Freddie Jones to give the Chargers the lead 20-19. They ended up losing the game but the stage was set. Amazingly through a 9 game losing streak he did not see any other action. Now Brees has led the Chargers to 3 straight victories, Brady on the other hand has only won 12 straight. Still Brees has a commanding presence and he leads his team to victory whatever the price.

The game will come down to how the quarterbacks fare. Brady is connecting on 70.5% of his passes and has 4 players with 10 or more catches on his roster through 3 games. Oh, and Troy Brown only has 31 catches. Brees is completing 60.3% of his passes and, well, one player has more than 10 catches, Curtis Conway with 17. Not including running back LaDainian Tomlinson, the next closest receiver is Stephen Alexander with 6 catches. Brees will have to find other receivers to elevate his game to rival an old foe he meets on his turf now.

Stats are just that, stats. It comes down to gametime and which team has the bigger will to do the little things it takes to win. With Brees vs. Brady set to begin anew, we await the outcome in the game of the week.

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