Drew Brees became the NFL’s all-time leader in yards passing — and he did it with a certain panache and precision that made the 39-year-old quarterback look far from finished.
Brees eclipsed Peyton Manning’s previous record of 71,940 yards with a 62-yard touchdown pass to rookie Tre’Quan Smith during the second quarter of a 43-19 victory over the Washington Redskins on Monday night.
“Just so grateful for the opportunity to play this game and to have played it so long and to have the teammates that I have, and the New Orleans Saints organization, and this great city and this great fan base. It’s just truly been a dream come true,” Brees said. “I’ll be able to reflect on it maybe a little bit more when my career is done. I still feel like there’s work to be done.”
After the record-breaking completion, officials stopped the game and the game ball was handed over to Pro Football Hall of Fame officials on the sideline while the Superdome crowd offered a standing ovation. Brees removed his helmet, held out his arm to salute the crowd and hugged his wife, Brittany, and children on the sideline.
“I love you guys so much,” Brees said while hugging his three boys as Brittany held their daughter nearby. “You can accomplish anything in life if you’re willing to work for it.”
Brees entered the game needing 201 yards for the record. He had 250 by halftime. Brees, who already holds the single-season record for completion rate at 72 percent last season, finished the game a remarkable 26 of 29 for 363 yards, no interceptions and three touchdowns — two of them going to Smith, a third-round draft choice out of Central Florida has played just five NFL games and is now immortalized because of his role in Brees’ record-breaking pass.
“Congrats on the achievement/milestone. Sheesh that’s a lot of passing yards!!” LeBron James tweeted.
In a victory at Atlanta earlier this season, Brees broke Brett Favre’s career record of 6,300 completions. Brees still needs 41 touchdown passes to surpass Manning’s record of 539, something the Saints quarterback could achieve next season if he maintains his current level of play. But Brees also would have to outpace New England’s Tom Brady, who has 500 TD passes, the only active player with more than Brees in that category. Brees now has 499.
Manning, a New Orleans native whose father, Archie, starred for the Saints, could not attend the game because of a scheduling conflict. However, he had pre-recorded a congratulatory message played on the Superdome’s video boards. Shown on the video slicing tomatoes, Manning deadpanned that his time as the career yards passing leader have been “the greatest thousand days of my life.”
“Thanks to you, that’s over now,” Manning continued as the laughter erupted in the stands. “You’ve ruined that for me.”
“Also, let this serve as the congratulations for the touchdown record because as you can see, I’m very busy,” Manning added. “I don’t have time to keep doing these videos for you.”
On a more serious note, Manning said Brees broke the record “the right way.”
“All your hard work and dedication have paid off,” Manning said while holding up a photo of himself and Brees standing side-by-side in 2000, when Brees was still at Purdue and Manning was a third-year pro. “You and I have come a long way since this picture.”
Saints officials said Brees also would hand his uniform over to the Hall of Fame after the game.
Brees is in his 18th season out of Purdue. The San Diego Chargers took the 6-foot Brees at the beginning of the second round of the 2001 draft, but allowed him to leave in free agency after a major throwing shoulder injury at the end of the 2005 season.
The Saints, at coach Sean Payton’s insistence, took a chance on Brees in 2006, and the payoff has been extraordinary. Brees has passed for more than 59,000 yards and more than 400 TDs in 12-plus seasons for New Orleans, smashing every meaningful Saints passing record while helping long-frustrated franchise win its first Super Bowl in 2010 and go to the playoffs six times.
With the game in hand, Payton subbed Brees off the field after the two-minute warning so the quarterback could have one more interaction with the appreciative crowd.
“He deserves it. It’s been an unbelievable run,” Payton said. “It doesn’t feel like it’s been 13 years.”
In 2012, Brees also set the NFL record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass at 54. Brees surpassed Hall-of-Famer Johnny Unitas’ streak of 47 straight — which had stood since 1960. Former Saints receiver Devery Henderson, who caught the pass on which Brees broke Unitas’ mark, attended Monday night’s game.
The game featured other touches meant to honor Brees. In the press box, the Superdome catering staff served “beefy mac,” a meal of macaroni with ground beef that has long been one of Brees’ traditional meals on the night before games.
Brees also was the final Saints player to run onto the field during pre-game introductions as fans belted out elongated howls of “Dreeeeeeew.”
Green Bay Packers Kick Game-Winning Field Goal to Steal MNF Win From Lions
The Detroit Lions can’t seem to catch a break this season.
After starting the year 2-0-1, the Lions played a great game against the Kansas City Chiefs last week, but ultimately lost when Patrick Mahomes led his team to a touchdown in the last minute.
Then on Monday Night Football, Detroit nearly led the game wire-to-wire against their division rival, the Green Bay Packers, before Aaron Rodgers engineered a game-winning drive of his own.
The Lions scored the game’s first 13 points, before allowing the Packers back into the game to end the first half. With just over seven minutes remaining in the first half, Green Bay scored it’s first touchdown.
They then kicked a field goal before halftime, cutting the Lions lead to 13-10.
Detroit would extend their lead once again though, kicking three field goals compared to one by Green Bay, to carve out a 22-13 lead with just over 12 minutes left in the game.
Rodgers would score the first touchdown for either side in the second half, capping off a long drive with a great pass to Allen Lazard for a 35-yard touchdown.
Lazard is a great story, as he was signed by the Packers off the Jaguars practice squad last year. He was eventually placed on the Packers practice squad too, but earned a promotion to the active roster and had a big impact on Monday.
He led Green Bay with four catches and 65 yards, while picking up the first touchdown of his career.
The Packers ended up getting the ball back and would make the most of it, kicking a walk-off field goal to win.
While the Packers won this game with a comeback, what everyone is going to be talking about is the officiating that gave them that opportunity.
In both of Green Bay’s last two scoring drives, they were bailed out on failed third downs when a penalty flag was thrown to extend those drives.
Each of the penalties was called on Lions stud edge rusher Trey Flowers, as the referees called illegal hands to the face on No. 90.
You can see that Flowers never touched the face of either lineman on those plays as they were blatant missed calls by the refs.
What makes those calls worse is that the Packers linemen who were protecting Rodgers were actually the one’s using putting their hands in the face of the Lions pass rush.
If those flags aren’t thrown, the Packers would have to convert fourth downs to keep those drives alive, instead of being handed first downs.
After the game, the media met up with Flowers to ask him about those calls. Flowers was very careful not to say anything about the officiating that would get him fined by the NFL, but his face really says it all.
On the other hand, the Packers gladly accepted those officiating gaffes, as it helped them advance to 5-1 on the season.
The Packers will face a well-rested Raiders on a short week, as Oakland is coming off a bye.
Meanwhile the Lions will play another division rival, returning home to face the Minnesota Vikings.
San Francisco 49ers Remain Undefeated After Beating the Rams on the Road
It may be time to take the San Francisco 49ers seriously as the favorite to make it to the Super Bowl out of the NFC.
San Francisco is the only undefeated team left in their conference, with the New England Patriots being the only other team in the NFL without a loss this season.
Sunday they played against the defending NFC champs, the Los Angeles Rams, and beat them in convincing fashion.
The Rams put together a touchdown on their opening drive, marching down the field with ease.
After the plays were no longer scripted though, L.A. could not do anything against the stout defense of the Niners. San Francisco held Jared Goff to just 78 yards passing and the Rams offense to a total of just 157 yards.
When it came to San Francisco’s offense, they really did not do anything that impressive. But when you have a championship-caliber defense, sometimes all you have to do is not get in the way.
Jimmy Garoppolo may not be winning an MVP this year, but if he keeps managing the game for the 49ers and gets them victories, it really doesn’t matter.
San Francisco should have no problem remaining undefeated next week, when they travel to Washington to play the lowly Redskins.
Jets Collect First Win of the Season in Sam Darnold’s Return to the Lineup
The New York Jets came into this season with high expectations after making big splashes in free agency that included revamping their defense and adding a dynamic playmaker in running back Le’Veon Bell.
They had aspirations of competing with the New England Patriots in the division, behind the play of second-year quarterback Sam Darnold. But after a narrow one-point lose in Week 1, the Jets season was derailed.
That is because Darnold was ruled out of the linuep indefinitely with mono. In the three weeks without Darnold, the Jets lost every game and looked to be heading towards another miserable season.
This week, Darnold finally returned to the lineup though and he has sparked some hope in the Jets otherwise futile 2019-20 season.
Darnold led the Jets to an early lead, scoring a touchdown on their second drive.
Then with just over three minutes left in the half, Darnold hit the type of big play that Jets had been sorely missing in his absence, connecting with Robby Anderson on a 92-yard touchdown strike.
The Jets ended up taking a 21-6 lead into the second half, as they absolutely stunned the Dallas Cowboys, who were clearly expecting an easy win.
Dallas did outscore the Jets 16-3 in the second half, but the damage had already been done and New York escaped with their first victory of the season.
You truly can’t underestimate the value of the quarterback position in the NFL, as it can completely change the fortunes of your team.
Darnold’s teammates were glowing about him after the game, as the return of the young quarterback seems to have lit a fire under the Jets.
The question is going to be if this is too little, too late, with the Jets already losing four games to start their season.
New York will get a great test next week when they play the New England Patriots. If they come away with a win in that game, we will have to start to take the Jets seriously.
On the other hand, this is another embarrassing loss for the Dallas Cowboys, who have now lost three straight games after opening the season 3-0.
The Cowboys will return home next week for a Sunday Night Football matchup against their chief division rival, the Philadelphia Eagles.
A loss in that game could spell disaster for Jason Garrett and the Cowboys.
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