On Monday, Drew Brees set himself apart from all other passers in NFL history. But the New Orleans Saints quarterback’s singular standing might not be safe for long.
Brees broke the NFL record for career touchdown passes by an NFL player by throwing his third scoring strike of the night, and 540th overall, in a 34-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts. He eclipsed the mark previously held by former Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who retired after the 2015 season with 539 passing touchdowns.
The 19th-year veteran also set the NFL’s single-game completion percentage record (minimum 20 attempts) with a 29-of-30 passing performance that included 307 yards and four touchdowns.
“It was special, everything about the night,” Brees said in a postgame news conference. “I don’t know how they pick ’em, right? ‘Monday Night Football,’ playing the Colts, the team we won the Super Bowl against 10 years ago, so the whole Super Bowl XLIV team is back for the 10th anniversary, and obviously national television, big game. And now, that record in the balance as well.
“Just kind of makes you shake your head. Are you kidding me? I’m not sure how we got here. It just makes your whole life and career flash before your eyes, because I never thought I would have had to chance to be a part of something like this.”
Brees set the scoring record on a 5-yard pass to tight end Josh Hill in the third quarter. He also connected with Michael Thomas on a 15-yard scoring strike and with Tre’Quan Smith on a 21-yard touchdown in the same quarter. Brees initially appeared to have made history on a 5-yard pass to Smith just before halftime, but the receiver was called for offensive pass interference on the play.
Hill’s reception was Brees’ 20th consecutive completion, setting a personal best.
Brees added to his tally with a 28-yard third-quarter touchdown to all-purpose threat Taysom Hill.
Brees, however, will have to fend off New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to maintain the record. Brady has 538 career passing touchdowns and could challenge Brees in the final two weeks, starting in his matchup Saturday against the Buffalo Bills.
Brees also broke Manning’s career yardage record last October and eclipsed his own all-time high for completion percentage (74.4%) last year.
The Saints offense might not be finished setting records this season, as Thomas set a franchise single-season high with his 126th reception of the year. With 12 catches on the night, Thomas is now 10 behind former Colts receiver Marvin Harrison’s single-season record of 143.
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