When Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott leads the team into Sunday’s 1 p.m. clash with the New Orleans Saints, it will mark the 13th career meeting between McDermott (as a coordinator or coach) and Drew Brees, the Saints’ talented signal-caller. McDermott, Buffalo’s (5-3) first-year head coach, is extremely familiar with Brees after serving as the Carolina Panthers’ defensive coordinator from 2011-2016.
So far, McDermott’s teams have split the previous 12 meetings, going 5-6 as the Panthers’ defensive coordinator while earning a win over Brees when McDermott served as the Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator from 2009-10.
Brees, the face of the franchise for more than a decade, has thrown for at least 4,380 yards in his 11 seasons with the Saints with five 5,000+ yard seasons under his belt.
Brees, who ranks fifth in the NFL this year with 2,214 passing yards, has tossed 13 touchdowns compared to just four interceptions. He has completed 71.6 percent of his passes this year, and 66.8 percent of his career passes.
Against McDermott-coached defenses, those numbers are slightly higher, with Brees completing 68.5 percent of his passes in 12 career matchups.
Brees, who has a career touchdown-to-interception ratio of 2.13, has been slightly better against McDermott-led defenses, tossing 28 touchdowns against 12 interceptions for a 2.33 TD-to-INT ratio.
"Drew, I don’t think he’s a guy you can stop," McDermott said of Brees Monday. "I just think he’s a guy that you hope that you’re able to manage what he does."
Using last year as an example, Brees torched the Carolina Panthers defense for 465 yards and four touchdowns during a 41-38 shootout win in Week 6, but McDermott’s defense made adjustments for the second meeting and limited Brees to 285 yards with two touchdowns and one interception during a 23-20 Panthers win in Week 11.
Brees’ best game against a McDermott defense was either the Week 6 win in 2016, or the Week 17 win in 2011, when he threw for 389 yards with five touchdowns during a 45-17 victory.
Brees’ worst effort came in Week 14 of the 2014 season, when Brees was held to 235 passing yards with one touchdown and one interception during a 41-10 loss.