Heading into Monday night's battle, New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees needed two touchdown passes to tie Peyton Manning for the most in NFL history and three to set the all-time record. He achieved both against the Indianapolis Colts. With a five-yard touchdown pass to Josh Hill, Brees reached 540 in his career, setting a new NFL record in primetime.
The record breaking Drew Brees TDpic.twitter.com/soOydByBk7— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) December 17, 2019
The veteran quarterback started early on Monday night, finding All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas for a 15-yard touchdown. This moved him into a tie for second place with Patriots' QB Tom Brady. Brees threw his second touchdown of the night midway through the second quarter, finding Tre'Quan Smith for 21 yards and tying Manning with 539 touchdowns. This set up the eventual record-breaking play.
Brees nearly had the record prior to halftime, and it actually appeared that he had thrown the needed third touchdown with seconds remaining in the second quarter. However, Smith was called for offensive pass interference, which elicited boos from the raucous crowd and brought on the field goal unit.
Despite missing five games due to a torn ligament in this thumb, the 40-year-old Brees has still managed to keep on his record-setting pace. This absence from the field gave Brady second place for a time, but Brees tied him during a battle with the San Francisco 49ers.
The two veteran QBs have been racing each other to take the top spot throughout their careers, but this primetime battle against the Indianapolis Colts gave Brees the all-time record. Although Brady could set his own record over the final two weeks of the season.
If Brees and Brady continue playing in 2020, which is likely, this battle for the top spot will only continue. The Saints' QB has the age advantage considering that he is two years younger, but Brady has long expressed his desire to play until he is 45 years old. That would give him three more seasons to pad his stat line and potentially set an unreachable mark for younger quarterbacks.
That being said, Brees does have the advantage over Brady in another prominent QB category. With 76,577 passing yards in his career, the Saints' star is the all-time leader and has a 2,498-yard lead over Brady. This record could ultimately fall if Brady outlasts his peer, but Brees does have bragging rights at the moment.
The interesting aspect about Brees breaking this record is that he has missed 13 games in his career since taking over as the starter in his second season (2002). He has been ultra-productive in Sean Payton's offense since joining the Saints and has put together a record-breaking career despite missing time for various reasons.0comments
In his 19-year career, Brees has 10 seasons with more than 30 passing touchdowns. This also includes two in which he threw for more than 40. He hasn't sniffed the single-season touchdown record (55), but Brees has been consistently productive, whether he was playing for the Saints or the Chargers.
(Photo Credit: Carmen Mandato/Getty)