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Drew Brees has collapsed lung and broken ribs heading into Sunday’s Falcons - Saints game

The longtime thorn in Atlanta’s side won’t be suiting up, if we had to guess.

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

When Drew Brees left yesterday’s Saints game and gave way to Jameis Winston, you knew he had to be hurt significantly. This is his last season, after all, and nothing minor is going to keep him from throwing a few hundred more short passes before his career is over.

We just didn’t realize how bad it was, and per ESPN, it’s pretty bad.

It should go without saying that Brees isn’t going to play Sunday, but football players are insanely tough and sometimes do things that no medical professional would recommend, so I’m holding off on sticking a pin in this one until it’s official. Given Brees’ age, the team’s position atop the NFC South, and their available options, it’s likely they’ll give him at least a couple of weeks off to rest and recuperate.

If Brees can’t go, it’ll be Jameis Winston starting and Taysom Hill annoyingly mixing in at quarterback. Winston has been very good against the Falcons over the years, but is just as prone to throwing ill-advised darts directly to defenders as he is against any other team, so this one could go either way for Atlanta. Winston might be down Tre’Quan Smith but will still have plenty of pass catching options, and his 25/11 career touchdown to interception ratio against the Falcons suggests he’ll probably aggravate us plenty. Hill, meanwhile, will mix in to throw one pass, run three times, and probably catch one pass.

Of course, Sean Payton won’t admit he’s starting Winston, but that’s my assumption.

The possibility that this team has already played against Brees for the last time is not something I thought would make me weirdly wistful, but here we are. We wish him well on his recovery and hope he’s back and fully healthy in time for this Saints team to lose in brutal fashion in the playoffs again.