NEW ORLEANS -- Many of the paying customers high-tailed it to the parking lot after Kirk Cousins threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jeremy Sprinkle, who was wide open in the back of the end zone, giving the Washington Redskins a 31-16 lead over the New Orleans Saints with 5:58 left on Sunday.
The game should have been over, but it wasn't.
Because of their power running attack this season, the Saints have needed fewer heroics from quarterback Drew Brees, but when they needed him most, the future Hall of Famer delivered.
On the Saints' two touchdown drives in the final 5:58 of regulation that sent the game into overtime, Brees completed 11-of-11 passes for 164 yards and two scoring passes. Moreover, in the entire fourth quarter, when the Saints scored 18 points to force extra time, Brees completed 12-of-13 passes for 183 yards.
Brees entered the game as the NFL's best fourth-quarter quarterback in terms of completion percentage. This season, he has completed 67-of-83 passes (80.7 percent) for 735 yards and five touchdowns, with one interception.
Taking his gaudy statistics one step further, since 2001, Brees has completed 6,080-of-9,099 passes, a 66.8 percent completion rate. Even though he is throwing fewer passes this season, Brees is 244-of-341 (71.6 percent) with 15 touchdowns and five interceptions.
"Listen, I'm ready, willing and able to do whatever I can do to help this team win," Brees said. "From game to game, that can be a little different. We all have the confidence that we can do it."
Brees said he would rather not compare the 2017 Saints yet to the 2009 team that ripped off 13 consecutive wins and won the Super Bowl.
"I hate to compare teams, so I'm not going to go there quite yet," Brees said. "That was a special team, a team that went on to win a world championship and won 13 in a row and did some amazing things.
"It's funny, because I would say we're a lot younger on this team than we were on that team. And yet, that mixture of veteran guys and the youth -- you're watching this thing come together before your eyes. From where this started to where it is now, we've grown in leaps and bounds. The sky's the limit for this group. We're playing with a ton of confidence, and when you win games like this you feel like you can win anywhere, anytime, anyway. That's a good feeling."
Mark Ingram II, who gained 51 yards on the Saints' only drive in overtime to set up Wil Lutz's game-winning field goal, marveled at the 38-year-old Brees.
"That was elite," Ingram said. "He's going to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer for a reason. That man is amazing. He's elite. He's the best quarterback that I ever played with. He's the best quarterback in the league. We just try to do our job to help him do his job."