"You have to use him as a model if you are the Oakland Raiders," said new Oakland coach Tom Cable, who took over last week for the fired Lane Kiffin. "That's where we want [Russell] to get."
Cable spent his NFL head coaching debut watching in frustration as Russell -- drafted first overall in 2007 -- completed only 13 of 35 passes for 159 yards, while throwing an interception and fumbling.
Brees needed only 14 attempts to surpass Russell's completion total. Coming in with a completion rate of nearly 69 percent, Brees connected on his first 16 throws -- one short of his franchise record -- and finished 26-of-30. Of his four incompletions, two were throwaways.
So what did Brees do after the game? He apologized to his offensive line for holding the ball too long on the lone sack he took.
"I wasn't feeling pressure all day," Brees said. "We knew the type of pass rush this defense could bring. I felt like we held most of those guys at bay."
Reggie Bush scored two TDs on a 3-yard run and 15-yard reception. His 21-yard reception in the first quarter gave him 200 catches through his first 34 games, tying him with Arizona receiver Anquan Boldin as the quickest NFL players to reach 200 catches.
Bush did most of the work on his receiving score, spinning away from Gibril Wilson after a short catch over the middle and racing to the pylon. Still, Bush credited Brees with spotting him.
"Fortunately for me, Drew likes to check the ball down to the running backs," Bush said. "It helps when you have a guy like that who can see the field and see the open guy."
Russell, who grew up in Mobile, Ala., starred at LSU and had about 40 friends and family in attendance, could not have had much worse of a homecoming.
"It's disappointing losing in front of family," Russell said. "The bottom line is today was a loss and losses are always disappointing."
In addition to an interception by cornerback Jason David, Russell had four other incompletions nearly picked off. Two were dropped by safety Roman Harper and the others by David and safety Josh Bullocks.
Oakland (1-4), which finished with 226 total yards, also had a tough time running. After holding Minnesota's Adrian Peterson to 1.5 yards per carry a week ago, the Saints (3-3) were able to contain the Raiders' trio of Darren McFadden, Justin Fargas and Michael Bush, who combined for 74 yards.
By contrast, Oakland's defense had no chance against Brees, whose completions included hard throws over the middle, touch passes in the flat and deep balls. His first scoring pass was an 8-yard screen to reserve running back Aaron Stecker on third-and-7. His final TD toss was a 2-yarder to tight end Mark Campbell, which was Campbell's first touchdown since he joined New Orleans in 2006.
On a third-and-short, Brees completed a 51-yard pass to Devery Henderson, setting up one of Taylor Mehlhaff's two field goals in what was the kicker's NFL debut.
Brees, who now has 1,993 yards passing through six games, had completions to three wide receivers, three tight ends and three running backs.
"He doesn't have a favorite," Oakland cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. "A lot of quarterbacks will try to force throws because they have to get the ball to a certain guy, but this is one of the most unselfish teams I've ever seen."
"It's easy to play when a guy's on fire like that," Moore said.
The Saints also gained 122 yards rushing. Deuce McAllister led the way with 65 yards on 13 carries.
The Saints went ahead for good with an 18-play drive that ate up 10:59 of the second quarter and ended with Bush's short touchdown run.
Late in the second quarter, Brees' completions for 17 yards to Henderson and 18 yards to Moore set up Mehlhaff's first field goal from 44 yards, giving the Saints a 10-3 lead at halftime.
Janikowski's missed field goal from 57 yards was the shortest of his three misses in 13 attempts this season. He missed another from 59 yards against New Orleans and one from 76 yards against San Diego in Week 4. ... Mehlhaff missed his first NFL field goal try and his first kickoff went out of bounds for a penalty. Two subsequent kickoffs reached the end zone, however. ... The Saints are 3-1 in the Superdome, where they won't play again until meeting Green Bay for a Monday night game on Nov. 24.
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Su'a Cravens returning to the Redskins may be a long shot after how he handled his decision to step away from the team before the start of the season.