Baltimore Ravens vs. New Orleans Saints: Keys To Victory

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Nov 9, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) is tackled by San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks (55) during the fourth quarter at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The 49ers won 27-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Follow the Blueprint to Stop Drew Brees

Luckily for the Ravens, several teams have exposed the All-Pro quarterback this season and set forth a blueprint for stopping his relentless aerial attack.  Last week, the Bengals used their excellent pass defense to shut down Jimmy Graham, holding him to a mere 3 catches on 3 targets for 29 yards.  This in spite of 41 pass attempts.

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The last time the Saints were held to 10 yards or less in a home game was December 17th of 2006.  Brees’ longest completion against the Bengals was 17 yards, and it was only the second time in his 9 year career that he failed to complete a pass of over 20 yards.  The Bengals simply, and masterfully, took away the deep ball, Drew Brees’ greatest weapon.

The Bengals simply limited the big play, erased Jimmy Graham, and pounded the ball with rookie back Jeremy Hill, keeping Brees off the field as much as possible.  One week prior, the 49ers forced three turnovers, including two interceptions of Brees, in a similar effort.  Brees targeted Graham relentlessly (13 times) but only managed a long connection of 15 yards.

Both teams were successful in bringing the heat on Brees as well, throwing him out of rhythm.  In fact, every team the Saints have faced this season are bringing relentless pressure, and with excellent results.  Brees has faced pressure on a whopping 58% of his dropbacks this season, per Pro Football Focus.