What's Wrong with Drew Brees? Saints QB Falls Behind Patrick Mahomes in NFL MVP Race

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees leads the New Orleans Saints vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers today in a key NFL Sunday game. The Saints vs. Steelers time, TV channel and live stream free information. Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Drew Brees made another slice of NFL history on Monday night, but his once rock-solid MVP candidature looks increasingly shaky.

The New Orleans Saints' 12-9 road win against the Carolina Panthers on Monday night means Brees and head coach Sean Payton have now won 117 regular season games together, surpassing Don Shula and Dan Marino in second place among coach-quarterback duos during the Super Bowl era.

Read more: Drew Brees and Sean Payton make history as Saints are one win away from NFC title

With 205 regular season wins, only Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are ahead of Brees and Payton in the ranking. The Saints signal-caller, however, had a very limited impact in the win over the Panthers.

Brees completed 23 of his 35 passes for a relatively modest 203 yards, no touchdown and one interception and he also had a two-point conversion pass intercepted and returned in the fourth quarter.

His struggles mirrored that of his team, which has found life on the road increasingly hard over the last three weeks. The Saints offense had looked unstoppable in the first three months of the season, largely thanks to Brees being in the form of his life.

Over the last three games—a loss at Dallas, followed by wins in Tampa Bay and Carolina—Brees has averaged 177 passing yards per game, with a total of two touchdown passes and three picks.

By comparison, in the previous 11 weeks, Brees averaged 285 passing yards and 2.6 touchdowns per game. The knock-on effect has been evident. The Saints have averaged 16.6 points per game over the last three games, compared with 37.2 points in the previous 11 weeks.

Having entered December as the leading contender for MVP alongside Patrick Mahomes, the Saints quarterback has slipped behind the Kansas City Chiefs sensation.

Mahomes, who had not led the race since Week 12, is -150 favorite at BetOnline, while Brees is +110 to be named MVP for the first time in his career.

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald are also on the list, at odds of +1600 and +5000 respectively.

Speaking on Monday night, however, Brees seemed unconcerned by personal accolades and insisted moving closer to the conference title was what really mattered.

"There's a lot to be said for that—you find ways to win," he was quoted as saying by ESPN. "Win in a lot of different ways. Battle-tested. Listen, these last two weeks we've had to come back and win in the fourth quarter. The great teams find a way. They believe. They feel like we're all gonna step up, we're gonna do this, somebody's gonna make a play."

While he might not land the MVP trophy, Brees has broken records at a rate of knots this season, becoming the NFL's all-time passing leader as he surpassed Peyton Manning's record of 71,940 career passing yards.

He has also become one of only four quarterbacks in NFL history, alongside Brady, Manning and Brett Favre, to throw 500 touchdown passes in his career.

The Saints quarterback has now thrown a touchdown pass to 51 different players since arriving in New Orleans in 2006, tied for the second-most with a single team in NFL history.

With 71 different receivers, only Tom Brady stands ahead of Brees. In this season alone Brees has thrown a touchdown pass to 13 different players, the joint-most in a season since 1970.