New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees entered Monday Night Football against the Atlanta Falcons with 4,780 passing yards on the season, just 305 yards shy of Dan Marino's single-season record of 5,084 yards. It was a record that many didn't think would ever be broken and has stood since 1984.
The record was set by a then-23-year-old Marino in just his second season in the NFL. Marino never again threw for 5,000 yards in a season in his long Hall of Fame career. Drew Brees, on the other hand, has now gone over that milestone twice in his career. Back in 2008, Brees came just 15 yards short of breaking the record, throwing for 5,069 yards.
It looked like Brees was going to break the record in the middle of the third quarter of Monday's game when he was just 31 yards shy, but a 92-yard kickoff return by Darren Sproles didn't leave enough field between the line of scrimmage and the end zone for Brees to break it. A defensive touchdown by Malcom Jenkins in the fourth quarter kept Brees off the field, and the Saints proceeded to go three-and-out on consecutive possessions to delay the inevitable even longer.
But finally, with fewer three minutes left in the game and a lot of people wondering if the record might live another week, the Falcons failed to convert on fourth down, giving the Saints the ball on the 33-yard line. Brees connected on a 12-yard pass to Marques Colston and an 11-yard pass to Devery Henderson before entering the history books with a nine-yard touchdown strike to Darren Sproles. Watch the record fall in the video below:
Not only is Brees now the single season passing yardage leader, he's only the second quarterback ever to crack the 5,000-yard passing barrier and the only quarterback in NFL history to hit that mark twice in their career. Brees is also on pace to break his own record for highest completion percentage and Peyton Manning's record of most completions in a season.
For more on Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, visit SB Nation's Saints blog Canal Street Chronicles.