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Drew Brees broke a 27-year old NFL record on Monday night when he completed a nine-yard touchdown pass with 2:51 remaining in the game. That pass game him 5,087 yards on the season, passing the mark Dan Marino set in 1984 as the greatest passing season in NFL history.
The moment was one to remember as Brees fired the pass to Sproles and then started walking to midfield with his arms in the air. As far as special moments go -- and the Saints have had a lot recently in the Superdome -- this one ranked near the top.
The Saints won in a blowout and Saints coach Sean Payton admitted after the game that he passed on normal blowout protocol where you generally stop passing the ball so much to avoid running up the score.
"Someone is going to ask this question so I am going to answer it before it's asked," Payton said. "Typically, would I be throwing it there? The answer would be probably not. In fact, the answer would be 'I wouldn't be.' But I thought it was appropriate that we get the record. And we did it. We have a ton of respect for Falcons coach Mike [Smith], his staff and his players. It seemed like the right thing to do. I felt real good about the decision."
That was understandable in this case, if you ask me. As Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune wrote, Marino's record was like "the 500 pound elephant in the locker room" and Brees needed to break it now to avoid all the talk of the record leading into next week.
But not everyone agrees. Pete Prisco of CBS Sports reported that at least one unnamed Falcons player was unhappy that the Saints continued passing late into the game, even with Marino's record at stake.
Prisco quoted one Falcons player as saying: "That's just who they are. We'll see them down the road. We won't forget any of it."
Whaaaat? "That's just who they are"....I hope that Falcons player knows Brees is known as one of the great guys in the league and has never had a reputation of being classless, or running up the score. It was a unique situation which is clearly understandable given the circumstances.
I'll never understand players who complain about getting the score run up on them. If you want to stop it, then stop it. But don't complain after the fact.
Maybe that's why the Falcons player decided to give anonymous quotes.
Drew Brees broke Dan Marino's 27-year-old passing record in Monday night's 45-16 win over the Falcons, but he may not even be the best quarterback in the league this season.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees broke Dan Marino's 27-year-old single-season passing yardage record during last night's 45-16 win over the Atlanta Falcons. [VIDEO: Watch Brees' record-breaking pass.] The fact that Brees set the record during a win that clinched the NFC South title was not lost on his head coach or teammates, James Varney of The Times-Picayune reports:
"It was a big win, a special night for us with all of it kind of culminating in one game," head coach Sean Payton said.
Saints wide receiver Marques Colston, who has accounted for nearly 20 percent of Brees' record-setting yardage total this season, had a similar reaction.
"It was a huge deal," Colston said. "To be able to do it against the Falcons and for the division and on Monday night, all those things just make it more special. It was a huge win, and to be able to achieve that is obviously a great thing for us. But we've got higher places to go."
Brees will have an opportunity to build upon his NFL single-season record next Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have the NFL's 24th-ranked pass defense and are allowing a league-worst 7.91 yards per passing play. The Buccaneers limited Brees to just 258 passing yards in their first meeting, which is only the third time this season Brees has been held under 300 yards passing. Since that game, Brees has six straight 300-yard passing games, tying Steve Young, Kurt Warner and Rich Gannon for the NFL record.
For more on Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, visit SB Nation's Saints blog Canal Street Chronicles.
Drew Brees broke Dan Marino's 27-year-old NFL record for the most passing yards in a season in the final minutes of Monday's win over the Falcons. Brees has now thrown for 5,087 yards, two more than Marino's old mark. Considering the Saints still have much to play for -- a Saints' win coupled with a 49ers' loss would give New Orleans a first-round bye in the playoffs -- Brees will continue adding to that total in Week 17.
But while Brees is the first player to surpass Marino this season, there's a good chance he won't be the last. Tom Brady, who's averaging 326.4 yards per game, enters the final week of the season with 4,897 yards, just 187 shy of matching Marino's old mark. For context, Brady has thrown for fewer than 226 yards just once all season, and in that game he still threw for 198.
In fact, he's already thrown for more yards in 15 games than he did over the course of a full season in either of his MVP seasons in 2007 and 2010. And when you include his three rushing scores this year, he's accounted for more touchdowns (39) than he did last year (37). In any other year, he'd be the leading contender for his third MVP. Instead, Aaron Rodgers and Brees have helped render him something of an afterthought for the first time in a decade.
Like Brees, Brady has a lot to play for: one more win for the Patriots will clinch home-field advantage through the playoffs. And while he looks like a solid bet to overtake Marino in the season finale against the Bills, there's also a chance -- a slim chance, but a chance nonetheless -- that he overtakes Brees, as well.
Granted, doing so would require throwing for 190 more yards than whatever Brees manages. It's almost silly to think it could happen, but this is a guy who threw for 517 yards in Week 1, so you can't entirely rule it out -- especially considering the Patriots' secondary had Brady playing from behind for much of Week 15 while the Bills put up 40 points on Denver's vaunted defense. If we've learned anything during the Year of the Quarterback, it's that anything can happen.
The New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons clashed on Monday Night Football, but it was all about Drew Brees and the Saints.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees surpassed Hall of Famer Dan Marino for the most passing yards in a single season on Monday Night Football against the Atlanta Falcons.
While everybody in the NFL-loving world was waiting for Drew Brees to throw for 31 more yards to break Dan Marino's 27-year-old record for most passing yards in a season, Darren Sproles had other plans, returning Atlanta's kickoff 92 yards. By the time he was tackled, the Saints were on the 14-yard line, guaranteeing that Marino's record would live for at least one more drive. Witness the most anti-climatic 92-yard return in NFL history:
After three plays -- Pierre Thomas rushed for two years, Brees found Thomas for a one-yard reception and Brees threw an incomplete pass -- John Kasay entered the game to finish off the short drive with a 29-yard field goal. The Saints now lead the game 31-10, which is almost secondary at this point, considering New Orleans has had this game in hand since before halftime.
Brees now has 275 yards, just 30 shy of the record. Stay tuned, history will be made tonight.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees can break former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino's single season passing record with just 32 more yards, and given the flow of the Monday Night Football matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, he'll get it rather easily. Brees tacked on his third touchdown pass of the night in the third quarter, this time connecting with wide receiver Robert Meachem.
The 24-yard touchdown pass was Brees' third of the night and to the third different receiver. The score puts the Saints up over the Falcons 28-10 and the offense doesn't look like it can be stopped and for the most part it hasn't. The only thing that has kept the Saints from getting in the endzone all night has been two interceptions by Drew Brees, one of which was in the endzone.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees can set the single season passing record tonight with just around 60 more passing yards. Brees had well over 200 yards in the first half and to start the second half he didn't look like he was going to slow down. Brees got a bit greedy however and tried to pick up all of the yardage on one play, going deep to wide receiver Devery Henderson only to be picked off by Atlanta Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson on another great tipped pass.
Henderson was bracketed on the play, but Robinson reached over his shoulder just tipping the ball in the air with his hand and then tracking it in the air to bring it in for the Saints turnover, Brees' second interception of the night.
The New Orleans Saints offense is hitting it's groove as the Monday Night Football matchup heads to halftime. After an interception in the redzone by Drew Brees, the Saints defense forced a punt to get the football back for their offense. The Saints found themselves in third and long on the drive after trying to call back to back timeouts and picking up a delay of game penalty. Luckily however, Brees was able to connect with wide receiver Robert Meachem deep down the field.
Despite throwing an interception in the redzone the last time the Saints were there, Brees went right back to tight end Jimmy Graham, this time throwing him an alley-oop and Graham went up and plucked the ball out of the air for the touchdown, putting the Saints up 21-10 at halftime.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Lance Moore was a question mark entering the Monday Night Football matchup with the Atlanta Falcons, but he was active and involved early on. Moore has two receptions for 53 yards on the night, but it appears his night might be over after suffering a hamstring injury on his second catch of the night. Officially, ESPN sideline reporter Suzy Kolber reported that Moore was officially "questionable" for the rest of the night.
It looks like Lance Moore might be done. He's standing on the sidelines with his helmet off and his cleats are untaped.— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncanTP) December 27, 2011
After Moore's second catch, he turned up field to pick up extra yardage and avoided a tackle, but went right to the ground. It appears however that his night is over and he will not return to the game.
Lance Moore's night is definitely over. Not even in the mix with the other offensive skill position subs.— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncanTP) December 27, 2011
Moore will also undoubtedly get a fine for his festive tape job, with red and green tape on his ankles instead of the standard white or black, which is permitted by the NFL.
The Monday Night Football match up between the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons has the makings of a shootout, as each team's offense seems to move down the football field at will. The Saints were once again marching right down the football field, but once they got in the redzone, the Saints offense made a mistake. Quarterback Drew Brees went to tight end Jimmy Graham in the endzone, but he dropped the ball and tipped it in the air.
In a great tip drill play by the Falcons defense lead to a redzone interception, which is rare for Drew Brees. Given how this game looks to be a back and forth battle, a missed scoring chance could wind up being a big deal as the game goes on. The Saints could have taken a touchdown plus lead on the Falcons.
The Atlanta Falcons struck first on Monday Night Football, taking a 3-0 lead over the New Orleans Saints on the opening drive of the game. A combination of runs by Michael Turner and some nifty passing by Matt Ryan got the Falcons in scoring range, but they had to settle for a field goal. There would be no field goals for the Saints in the first quarter, however.
The Saints got the football down 3-0, and just like the Falcons went right down the football field. The Saints drive was kick started by a nice play-action pass from quarterback Drew Brees to wide receiver Lance Moore for a 38-yard gain.
After the catch, the Saints offense picked up chunk after chunk of yards moving right down the field, capped off by a 4-yard touchdown run by Pierre Thomas, who picked up a 15-yard penalty due to his celebration, putting a bow on the football and giving it to a fan. The Saints took the lead 7-3 on the drive, but the Falcons answered right back.
Thanks to some nice starting field position on the penalty, the Falcons began to go to work marching down the football field. Ryan hit wide receiver Julio Jones on a 25-yard gain followed by a 16-yard pass to Roddy White. The Falcons capped off the drive with a beautiful throw from Ryan to Jones on a skinny post for the touchdown to go up 10-7.
The Atlanta Falcons are set to take on the the New Orleans Saints in the final Monday Night Football match up of the 2011 NFL season. Both teams have clinched a playoff berth in the NFC, but there is still an outside shot the Falcons can win the NFC South. Neither team is dealing with big injuries, but the Falcons will be without cornerback Kelvin Hayden and linebacker Stephen Nicholas. Here are the rest of the Falcons inactives:
The New Orleans Saints have a playoff spot clinched, but the Atlanta Falcons need a win if they want to climb to the top of the Wild Card ladder.
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