Drew Brees and the ascendent New Orleans Saints were having a decidedly “meh” game for most of the day against Washington. They weren’t getting completely destroyed, but with a little over four minutes to go, with Washington up 15, it seemed safe to just call this an off day for New Orleans.
As the perilous downward slope at the very end of the graph will spoil for you, this game did not end early. Instead, Brees took over and did what he’s been doing since before some of his teammates could even watch him do it. First, he delivered a touchdown pass to Josh Hill to cut the deficit to eight with a little under three minutes to go. Then, after a Washington three-and-out, it took Brees less than a minute to tie the game, with some tremendous concentration on a wacky catch by Alvin Kamara (who would then run in the two-point conversation) suddenly bringing the Saints back.
Here’s a sentence that would have sounded ridiculous any time in the past few seasons: After the tying touchdown, the Saints’ defense held strong like they have all year. This reborn unit swarmed Kirk Cousins as he tried to get his team into field goal position at the end of regulation, and when Washington got the ball first in overtime, they continued to make him uncomfortable and forced a sack that led to another quick punt.
From there, Mark Ingram took it home, stringing together back-to-back long rushes to get the team in field goal range, where Wil Lutz delivered on that 1.1 percent sliver of hope. The Saints won, 34-31, and their eight-game winning run is now the longest active streak in the league.