METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Drew Brees sees no reason why the offense he leads shouldn't approach the 40-point plateau on a regular basis.
So even though the New Orleans Saints have a chance to improve to 3-0 this Sunday when they host Arizona, Brees is a bit unsettled by the fact that his unit has had a hard time seeing drives all the way through to the end zone.
"We've certainly had some opportunities and just haven't taken advantage of it yet," Brees said. "Eventually, that will bite us if we don't get it fixed."
New Orleans' offense accounted for one touchdown in 16-14 victory at Tampa Bay in Week 2. That happened only once all of last season — and even then it was in a highly unusual game that saw Brees throw five interceptions in Atlanta.
Through the first two games, New Orleans has converted only one of seven red-zone chances into touchdowns. That's a 14.3 percent conversion rate, which ranks last in the NFL.
Last season, the Saints ranked second in red-zone efficiency at 68.4 percent.
"We're used to having four or five of those (games) a year where you're racking up 40 (points). That's the level that we expect ourselves to play at. We haven't been at that level. I hope that it happens soon," Brees said following practice Wednesday. "We're averaging below 20 points a game. That's not what we're used to. We're used to being much better than that. So there's a big sense of urgency around here, despite the fact that we're 2-0."
Brees said the Saints should have scored at least three touchdowns in Tampa Bay and should not have had to rely on a clutch, last-minute drive that concluded with a last-second, 27-yard Garrett Hartley field goal.
The Saints failed to score late in the first half after having first-and-goal from the 1. That series wound down with Brees' throw-away on first down, followed by three fruitless runs.
Later, the Saints marched deep into Bucs territory when Brees was intercepted at the Tampa Bay 15 by Mason Foster, who galloped 85 yards for a touchdown.
Brees and coach Sean Payton both blamed two stalled red-zone drives on penalties. Each involved holding calls on All-Pro right guard Jahri Evans.
Right tackle Zach Strief added that the offensive line has had too many let-downs. He said team statisticians counted 10 times that Brees was under pressure in Tampa Bay. Brees was sacked four times, and one of those took the Saints outside the 20 and led to a field goal.