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Saints' Drew Brees continues to prove he's no mere mortal

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Ad Pro Test Clip 8 - September 2017 (1:47)

Ad Pro Test Clip 8 - September 2017 (1:47)

NEW ORLEANS -- Drew Brees tweeted out a funny picture this week in which he posed with New Orleans Saints digital media manager Alex Restrepo, who was wearing a Brees-themed Christmas sweater.

But it was hard not to notice what Brees was wearing during his routine day at the office -- a Superman T-shirt.

Brees might as well have been wearing the same thing Sunday.

Sixteen years into his Hall of Fame career, the Saints' quarterback keeps finding ways to prove he's no mere mortal. Less than a week after he tore the plantar fascia in his right heel, Brees threw for 412 yards and three touchdown passes in the Saints' 38-27 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

In the Superdome, of course.

"Ha. Classic Drew, man," Saints guard Jahri Evans said when asked about Brees' performance. "He doesn't hold all those records for no reason."

It was Brees' seventh career game with 400 passing yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions -- the most in NFL history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau research.

Yes, Brees said, it hurt whenever he wasn't standing still. But he made up for it with a combination of adrenaline and the right tape job (he tried out some orthotics but didn't like the way they felt).

Brees has played some of his best football of the season since he suffered the foot injury during the second quarter of Monday night's loss to the Detroit Lions. Since that point, he has thrown for 691 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions.

Brees acknowledged that might not be a coincidence.

"The only thing you could really draw a parallel to or compare it to is when you have one of your senses taken away from you. It seems like all the other senses are heightened," Brees said. "Like they say someone who can't see, all the sudden your hearing and sense of smell goes way up. ... You focus on what you can and can't do."

Brees said the biggest concern was going to be his mobility, but he credited his blockers for doing a "fantastic job" to make sure he didn't have to move a lot.

He said there was a little bit of limitation on how much power he could generate when he planted on the right foot, but it was mostly a non-issue -- something he demonstrated with his 17-yard touchdown strike to tight end Michael Hoomanawanui on the opening drive and his 71-yard deep ball to Brandin Cooks on the Saints' second drive.

The other powers Brees flaunted throughout the week were his will and determination -- throw in the adjective, "stubborn" if you like.

The biggest question surrounding Brees' decision to play through the injury was, "Why?" considering the Saints (now 6-9) no longer have any playoff aspirations.

Brees, however, responded to that as if it came from another planet.

"Listen, every decision is Sean Payton's decision. But I told him, 'There's no reason I can't play, I really want to play.' And he was good with that," Brees said.

"I thought he was sharp," said Payton, who added he wasn't surprised by Sunday's performance but was a little more surprised at how well Brees threw the ball during his first practice of the week Friday, which eliminated any doubt about whether he would play.

Brees had nothing to prove to Payton, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis or Saints owner Tom Benson on Sunday.

And it would be a stretch to suggest that his playing or not playing in these final three games could affect his future status with the team in any way. The Saints have the best decade of football in franchise history to review when measuring Brees' worth.

Brees was not asked directly Sunday about any speculation that the Saints could consider parting ways with him this offseason before he is due another $20 million in salary and bonuses in the final year of his contract -- or that an affordable contract extension will be required to keep him around.

But Brees did acknowledge that this final month is important to prove that the Saints are on the right track with the direction they are currently headed.

"Coming off that Monday night game, short week, Christmas, all these guys banged up, coming off a loss, it just says a lot about our team, our guys," Brees said. "People might say we have nothing to play for as far as playoffs and such. But we've got a lot to play for. I think we're continuing to come together, we're continuing to build what I think is going to be a great team for years to come."