Vintage performance from Drew Brees leads Saints to Divisional Round

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And it was against his former team, the Carolina Panthers.

"That was huge", Brees said. "And certainly these are the memories you hang on to", Brees said after having his best performance of the season in the biggest moment to date - 376 yards and two touchdowns in New Orleans' way-too-close-for-comfort 31-26 wild-card victory over the Carolina Panthers. There are some games where we are asking him to block a D-gap or be really effective in the pass game, there might not. They have all this stuff going on.

Ginn's entire season was special as he continued his late National Football League renaissance.

The world-class sprinter earned his share of doubters when he was unable to live up to expectations as the ninth overall pick in the 2007 draft by the Miami Dolphins.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, who came to Minnesota in 2014, was at the 2009 championship game in the stands because his son, Vikings linebackers coach Adam Zimmer, was then a New Orleans assistant.

But Ginn has steadily improved. He also caught 81 passes for 826 yards, including four for 20 against Minnesota. More importantly, he was only credited with two dropped passes and caught a whopping 77 percent of his targets (by far a career high).

On Friday's "My Guys in the Desert" show on VSiN, the South Point's Jimmy Vaccaro talked about how it was setting up as a potentially scary weekend for the books with all the home favorites being teasable under a field goal. That man's the best quarterback in the game.

What makes that play even more epic, Ginn wasn't even the target.

The story of the New Orleans Saints' surprisingly successful season was the long-awaited emergence of the roster around Drew Brees, after the star quarterback had nearly single-handedly led New Orleans to so many successful campaigns in the past.

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Payton said he didn't think that the Panthers were testing Brees.

The good news for Sean Payton and Drew Brees is a defense that made just enough plays all day made just a few more late. It ended up being New Orleans' biggest test of the year. But he was exactly what the Saints were looking for when they made a decision to trade Cooks to the New England Patriots for a first-round draft pick.

The defense did not give Newton much help for long stretches.

Aided by the return of star tight end Greg Olsen, the Panthers drove inside the Saints 22-yard line five times, only to come away with nothing twice and field goals three other times.

Thomas through two seasons has 196 catches, and his 104 grabs this season established a Saints record.

"You can't be more happy about the way we played in terms of how we finished", said Jordan, the All-Pro defensive end.

But go back almost two years, and Thomas did not have the kind of NFL Draft buzz you might expect for a player who has been so productive. We always believed the Saints still had a shot every game because they had Drew Brees and nobody else did.

"So, I understand, but once he got up and started walking to the sideline, once he gets within earshot of the sideline, everybody on that sideline is telling him".

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