As numberFire.com's Barry Cohen noted this week, through 14 games this season, Drew Brees
is currently on pace for 4,400 passing yards over a full 16 games. That would be his second-lowest season total since joining the New Orleans Saints, with his only lower total coming in 2009 when he finished with 4,388 passing yards.
But he did that in just 15 games, still averaging 292.5 yards per game. His lowest passing average since joining the Saints came in his inaugural season with the team, when he averaged 276.1 passing yards per game in 2006.
Cohen went on to note that if Brees maintains this pace, it would be his first season since 2010 averaging fewer than 300.0 yards per game and finishing outside of the top-two players in terms of passing yards per game. The slow pace is due in large part to his averaging 7.9 fewer pass attempts per game compared to last season.
With the outstanding running back duo of Mark Ingram
and Alvin Kamara
, the Saints are passing on 7.32 percent fewer plays than they did last season.
That has also led to Brees averaging the fewest passing touchdowns (1.5) and interceptions (0.5) per game of his Saints career.
This week, he will get a rematch with the Atlanta Falcons, who held him to 271 passing yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception in their first meeting of the season just two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, it's still worth noting the Saints are the only team in the NFL that has three players who have gained 1,000 yards from scrimmage this season - running backs Mark Ingram
, Alvin Kamara
and wide receiver Michael Thomas
The players have each accumulated their yardage in different ways.
All of Thomas' 1,085 yards have come on pass receptions. Ingram has gained 74 percent of his 1,420 total yards on the ground and 51 percent of Kamara's 1,336 yards have come on pass receptions.
The Saints running backs are on pace to become the first running back tandem each to surpass 1,500 yards from scrimmage.
The dynamic duo accomplished another feat Tuesday when both made the Pro Bowl roster. Warrick Dunn
and Mike Alstott both made the Pro Bowl out of the Bucs’ backfield in 1997, but Alstott was selected as a fullback.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, via Mike Triplett of ESPN, the most recent tailback combo to make the Pro Bowl with at least 100 rushing attempts was the St. Louis Cardinals’ Jim Otis and Terry Metcalf in 1975.
Getting back to Thomas, the second-year man has managed at least 65 yards in 11 of 14 games and has a long catch of at least 20 yards during nine consecutive outings. While he's widely perceived to be having a disappointing season, that's based more on expectations than performance as he's currently sitting at WR10 on our year-to-date rankings
If he had a few more touchdowns (he currently has five), we’d all be talking about Thomas being a breakout star.