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.
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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.