This doesn’t quite feel the same as winning a Super Bowl, I’m pretty sure, but it’s pretty special as well. With a 307 yard passing day, Drew Brees broke Dan Marion’s single season passing yards record from 1984, reaching 5087 yards, beating Marino’s record by three and leading the Saints to a 45-16 demolition of the Atlanta Falcons.
Brees has also the third best season on the all-time list with 5069 from 2008. His record isn’t safe yet, with Tom Brady not too far behind, already thrown 4897 yards this season. With both teams (Patriots and Saints) looking to clinch a first round by next week, expect both of them to play.
Back to Brees’ accomplishments – He reached 276 career touchdowns, pushing him to ninth on the all-time list, ahead of Joe Montanta and Vinny Testaverde. He is also the first quarterback in NFL history to have two 5000 passing yards season. One more record? After 463 yards last night by the Saints, they now have a franchise record 6857 for the season. They need 219 yards to break the NFL record set by the Rams in 2000.
The Falcons didn’t seem to be fighting too much for the NFC South crown after going down 21-10 at half time. Brees was far from perfect, throwing two interceptions. It didn’t really matter as the Falcons gave up on the running game and let Matt Ryan win it by himself. Despite Matt Ryan being a very good quarterback, the key to the Falcons’ offense, as we’ve pointed out a few times this season, is Michael Turner and the running game. He ran for 39 yards in 11 attempts.
Brees now has 41 touchdowns and 13 interceptions this season and a 108.4 QB rating. Best of his career? Only if it ends with a Super Bowl win in February – It feels great to be division champs, It feels great to do what we just did on Monday night with the world watching. This game couldn’t be more important than it was. Little did I know there would be a number of story-lines, a divisional championship on the line, playoff seeding and then the record. We all want this very badly, But it’s about winning. We just focus on that. The other things will take care of themselves.
Despite the focus on winning, Brees was thinking about the record. So was his head coach, Sean Payton, that despite the big lead the Saints built, kept calling passing plays, raising the usual debate about running up the score and humiliating an already losing opponent. I’ve got no beef with that. Win by as much as you can. This is a professional sports, where athletes need to give it their best all the time.
We were playing to win, playing to score, because we really wanted to finish. We wanted to end the game on a high note and put together a drive. I don’t think it was so much about scoring a touchdown, it was about getting something going and feeling good about ourselves and finishing, and then you throw the record in there. Maybe that wa a big enough reason to throw it.