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Drew Brees fine with stat correction, but not sold on NFL catch rule

METAIRIE, La. -- Drew Brees was at peace with the fact that a Monday statistical correction turned one of his pass completions into an interception during Sunday’s 52-49 victory over the New York Giants.

That means he only completed 39 passes for 505 yards instead of 40 for 511 yards. It still set a personal record.

“As long as they don’t try to take points away from us, too,” Brees said with a laugh. “We still won the game; it didn’t change the outcome. So we’re good.”

The Saints are still in the process of determining whether the correction can be overturned.

What happened was that the Elias Sports Bureau determined that receiver Willie Snead’s catch and fumble in the fourth quarter should have been ruled an interception instead, since he never had full control of the ball. Either way, it wouldn’t have affected the fact that the Giants snatched the ball out of the air and returned it 63 yards for a touchdown.

“If that ball goes to the ground and they pick it up and run it for a touchdown, I think we’d all be sitting here saying, ‘Oh no, it was incomplete. It wasn’t a fumble,’” Brees said. “Some of those plays are bang-bang and hard to tell.”

Brees, however, added his voice to the chorus of people who don’t quite know what constitutes a catch or a “football move” in the NFL these days.

Receivers are required to establish themselves clearly as a runner after catching a football (similar to what used to be referred to as completing a “football move” -- a term that is actually not used anymore). Or they have to maintain possession of the ball all the way to the ground when they are tackled. That has led to some controversial rulings – most notably in last year’s playoffs, when Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant was ruled to have lost possession of a catch when he was trying to reach the ball toward the end zone.

The Saints had similar plays with both receiver Marques Colston and tight end Benjamin Watson on the same drive two weeks ago at Indianapolis, and coach Sean Payton lost both of his replay challenges trying to get them overturned.

“I mean, I know technically what it says on paper,” Brees said of the rule. “But I think just in general we had a couple plays against the Colts in regards to catches, then guys turning their bodies, lunging the ball forward to try to get the first down. Their arm and ball hit the ground, the ball comes out and it was deemed an incompletion. So I would just ask the question. ‘What’s considered a football move?’ A guy turning his body and lunging for a first down is a football move.

“I think there’s some common-sense elements just in regards to the rule, in general. ... There’s lots of different football moves.”