Brees has been arguably the best midfielder in the tournament with short pitches against the area’s defensive areas, completing 86 of 106 passes within 10 meters of the pass, in 719 yards, one touch ball, no pick and pass ratio 98.1. His average 6.8 yard per attempt on those pitches is actually the third best in the NFL, according to the Sports Information Solution.
Including pitches from Teddy Bridgwater, Thomas captured 43 of 52 similar types of throws, within 420 yards. It is 8 yards each pass, with the almost guarantee that the pitch will be completed.
There are 30 recipients who have been targeted 30 or more times in short throws at areas and Thomas has the second highest positive play rate, according to Sports Info Solutions. This is why the Saints can work so methodically down the pitch so often.
However, perhaps the biggest area the Saints had an advantage on Monday night was along the line of attack. New Orleans has had a dominant unit up front for the better in the last few seasons, and this year is no different. The Saints ranked first in the NFL in the Non-Football Panel and the third in the adjusted Sack Rate.
Only 15 percent of New Orleans runs were stopped at or behind the crime line, according to Football Outsiders, the fourth lowest rate in the tournament. Colts is one of the best teams in stopping backyard opponents (22 percent, fifth in the NFL), but their adjusted Sack Rate is only 21st in the tournament, raising doubts about ability to put pressure on Brees.
When New Orleans hit the ground, Latavius was more efficient than Kamara at the end, but one thing to note about the Saints game running this season is the relative lack of big plays. Only 10 of their 314 bearing have reached 20 yards or more. According to Pro Football Focus, there are 13 individual players who are more explosive than themselves. (And that is before calculating for the game on Sunday.)