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Brees’ passing stats are soaring

Times Staff Writer

Drew Brees put up big numbers Sunday for New Orleans -- unfortunately the Saints’ number on the scoreboard wasn’t so big.

Brees passed for 510 yards, the sixth-most in NFL history, and added to his NFL-leading yardage total, but the Saints lost, 31-16, to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Pass for 510 yards and lose? More often than not, that’s the case with 500-yard passers. There have been only nine in NFL history and they have a 4-5 record.

“The yardage is a product of where we were in the game,” Brees said.

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The Saints entered the fourth quarter tied, 10-10, but trailed, 24-10, with 7 minutes 37 seconds to play and did not attempt a run after that.

Brees, who completed 37 of 52 passes, was 16 for 18 for 204 yards in the fourth quarter and had 179 yards in the final 7:37.

He had two touchdown passes, but three of his passes were intercepted, and they were costly. Two were on passes thrown into the end zone from inside the Bengals’ 10 and the third was returned 52 yards for a touchdown that gave the Bengals a 31-10 lead with 6:14 to play.

“We can move the ball at will, any time, any place ... through the air, on the ground, whatever it takes,” Brees said. “But when it really comes down to it, you have to take care of the football. We have to eliminate the mistakes.”

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Brees has 3,114 yards passing, including 908 in the last two games, but the Saints (6-4) have lost three of their last four after a 5-1 start. They are 2-4 when Brees has passed for 300 yards or more.

Strange feeling

Matt Leinart took a knee to end Arizona’s 17-10 victory over the Detroit Lions and acknowledged it felt awkward.

“I haven’t taken one in a while,” he explained.

It was the first NFL win for the Heisman Trophy quarterback from USC. The rookie passed for 233 yards and a touchdown and also scored on a nine-yard run, helping the Cardinals end an eight-game losing streak.

“It’s kind of a big relief,” said Leinart, who completed 19 of 29 passes with no interceptions in his sixth start.

He’s back

Seattle running back Shaun Alexander, the reigning league MVP who hadn’t played in nearly two months because of a broken foot, had 37 yards in 17 carries against San Francisco, his first action since Sept. 24.

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“It took me the first half to feel I could make all the cuts,” Alexander said. “For me personally, this is very positive. My foot did great.”

His team, which was 3-3 in his absence, didn’t do so great. It lost, 20-14.

Not impressed

Buffalo Bills quarterback J.P. Losman completed six of seven passes for 55 yards on an eight-play drive that culminated in a game-winning touchdown with nine seconds remaining in a 24-21 victory over Houston.

Texans defensive back Dunta Robinson, who intercepted a Losman pass and returned it for a touchdown that gave Houston a 21-17 lead, was disgusted that his team allowed the comeback against a quarterback who had 15 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in his three-year career.

“If that had been Peyton Manning, you’d expect it,” he said. “But it was J.P. Losman. That’s embarrassing. I hope he doesn’t feel too good, because we just shot ourselves in the foot.”

Sharpening the Edge

Running back Edgerrin James, who has struggled since joining Arizona as a free agent in the off-season, had his best game as a Cardinal, rushing for 96 yards against the Lions.

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James, a 1,000-yard rusher in five of his seven seasons with Indianapolis, had a previous high of 94 yards on Sept. 24 against the St. Louis Rams.

“It’s cool, you know,” James said, “but you always want to go over 100.”

Going back

New York Giants Coach Tom Coughlin will coach at Jacksonville tonight for the first time since the Jaguars fired him after the 2002 season.

Coughlin was the first coach in Jaguars history. He posted a 68-60 record from 1995-2002 and led them to the AFC championship game twice.

“I’m certain that at each stage, walking on to the field and that type of thing, memories will come back into my mind,” Coughlin said. “But I’m going to do the best that I can to contain those types of things. I do not want to be a distraction to our team.

“This is a very, very important game for both teams. It is a business trip.”

Steak a claim to victory

After Dallas scored 25 fourth-quarter points against Carolina three weeks ago, Panthers safety Mike Minter called a players-only meeting and suggested all defensive players meet for dinner each Thursday night.

Since then Carolina has allowed 10 points in two games, including a shutout of the Rams Sunday, the first time since 1998 the Rams have been blanked.

“I don’t know if [the dinners] are the magic formula, but they are a piece of the puzzle,” said defensive end Mike Rucker, who had two sacks. “It’s harder for me to shut down on you if I know you personally. I think it makes me play harder if I know you personally.”

Kicking himself

Matt Stover’s streak of consecutive successful field goals ended at 36 when he missed a 42-yard attempt in the first quarter of Baltimore’s game against Atlanta.

It was Stover’s first miss since the Ravens’ seventh game of the 2005 season. He’d made all 16 of his attempts this season.

Injury report

Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb is out for the season after tearing a ligament in his right knee.... Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre injured a nerve in his right elbow that could jeopardize his league-record streak of 251 consecutive starts by a quarterback.... Oakland running back Lamont Jordan is probably out for the season with a torn knee ligament.... Marques Colston of New Orleans, the NFL’s leading receiver, sprained his ankle against Cincinnati, but the team did not update his status.... Carolina running back DeShaun Foster injured his left elbow in the second quarter against St. Louis and did not return.... Detroit running back Kevin Jones sprained his ankle in the first quarter against Arizona and did not return.... St. Louis wide receiver Isaac Bruce left in the fourth quarter with blurry vision.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

peter.yoon@latimes.com

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Prolific in defeat

New Orleans’ Drew Brees became the fifth quarterback in NFL history Sunday to throw for 500 yards in a loss. The top passing games of all time:

*--* Yards Player Team Date Opponent Result 554 Norm Van L.A. Rams Sept. 28, N.Y. Yanks W 54-14 Brocklin 1951 527 Warren Moon Houston Dec. 16, Kansas City W 27-10 Oilers 1990 522 Boomer Arizona Nov. 10, Washington W 37-34 (OT) Esiason 1996 521 Dan Marino Miami Oct. 23, N.Y. Jets L 44-30 1988 513 Phil Simms N.Y. Oct. 13, Cincinnati L 35-30 Giants 1985 510 DREW BREES NEW NOV. 19, CINCINNATI L 31-16 ORLEANS 2006 509 Vince L.A. Rams Dec. 26, Chicago L 34-26 Ferragamo 1982 505 Y.A. Tittle N.Y. Oct. 28, Washington W 49-34 Giants 1962 504 Elvis Grbac Kansas Nov. 5, Oakland L 49-31 City 2000

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Source: Los Angeles Times


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