METAIRIE, La. – Drew Brees' chin had reverted back to its normal size by Wednesday. But the New Orleans Saints quarterback said it had swelled up to the size of a lemon and required stitches after he took a big hit to his jaw in last Sunday’s 34-28 overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans.
“But I’m fine,” insisted Brees, who pointed out that the Saints benefitted from the hit by linebacker David Bass early in the fourth quarter.
Bass drew a flag for roughing the passer. Then Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo drew two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for his volatile argument with the officials over the flag. The Saints scored a touchdown two plays later to take an 8-point lead. But it didn’t last.
“Listen, that’s a part of the game sometimes,” said Brees, who said he didn’t have time to get stitches until after the game. “At that point, I don’t know what it looks like, I’m just focused on playing the game.”
Brees got beat up pretty good throughout the loss to Tennessee. He was sacked four times and drew a total of three unnecessary roughness penalties.
But it’s the loss itself that stings the most.
The Saints (4-5) had won three straight games to reach .500 for the first time all season -- only to fall again.
“We had a good little streak going. But, man, you can’t cry over spilled milk,” Brees said. “It is what it is. You try to become better for it. I think it just points out some glaring things about guys. Our margin for error is not very big.
“We have to be very, very good with our execution on both sides of the ball with everything we’re doing. So we can’t just take a pass on something that happens during the week, like, ‘Oh, we’ll figure it out later.’ No, we’ll figure it out now. So this doesn’t get us beat.’”
Brees said that includes all of the little things that he would describe as “winning football” -- starting with costly penalties that keep hurting the Saints on both sides of the ball.
When Brees was asked if the Saints are at a “critical juncture” now that they’re under .500 with only seven games remaining and heading on the road to face the Washington Redskins, he agreed with the notion.
“I think every game is a critical juncture from here on out. I’d say especially where we are this week [because] we have a bye next week,” Brees said. “So we need to go on the road this week and play our best football, without a doubt. Because we need this win. But also I think it gives us an opportunity to feel a little bit better going into the bye week, to get healthy, and then to be ready to really make that run.
“Man, this is a week where we’ve gotta pull out all the stops.”