QB snapshot: Drew Brees

A quick observation of quarterback Drew Brees and how he played in the New Orleans Saints' 35-32 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 13:

It was Brees' best performance of the season, and the timing was uncanny.

Brees threw five touchdown passes with no turnovers just hours after the NFL Network reported that the Saints "believe they can see the finish line" with the 35-year-old quarterback, and they're ready to go shopping for his understudy high in next year's draft.

Brees dismissed the report Monday on Fox Sports Radio as having "absolutely no validity" and echoed coach Sean Payton by saying it was just a reporter "trying to make a splash."

Clearly the Saints will have to prepare for life after Brees at some point. But Sunday was the latest reminder that he's not really showing any serious signs of drop-off yet.

Turnovers have been a big problem for Brees this season -- both the amount and the timing of them in close games. So he has deserved some increased scrutiny and criticism over his decision-making.

But the notion that those interceptions are new is off base, since Brees threw even more picks while also pressing to do too much in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012.

Brees is on pace for 4,997 yards, 36 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and an NFL-best 70.3 completion percentage. All would rank among the five best in his time with the Saints. He'd be better in every category but yards than he was in 2008, when he won his first Offensive Player of the Year award.

And then there is the immeasurable confidence and response to adversity that Brees displayed Sunday in the wake of a three-game losing streak, which Payton said is "the one thing you can't put a true value on."