Drew Brees broke Dan Marino’s 27-year-old National Football League record for most passing yards in a single season as the New Orleans Saints beat the Atlanta Falcons 45-16.
Brees completed a nine-yard touchdown pass to Darren Sproles with 2:56 remaining to surpass the former Miami Dolphins quarterback’s mark of 5,084 set in 1984. Brees received a standing ovation from the crowd at the Superdome in New Orleans after topping the milestone and now has 5,087 passing yards with one regular-season game left.
Brees, 32, who threw for 307 yards and four touchdowns last night, thanked his teammates, coaches and the entire Saints organization in a televised speech after the game.
“There may be only one name that goes in the record book, but it’s all about you guys,” said Brees, who has thrown for more than 300 yards in 12 of 15 games this season. “I want everybody to be proud of this because it’s all about you.”
The Saints, who had already locked up a postseason berth, captured the National Football Conference South division title and remain in contention for a first-round bye. New Orleans and the San Francisco 49ers have 12-3 records, while the Green Bay Packers have sealed the NFC’s No. 1 seed with a 14-1 mark.
The Saints have won seven straight games and end the regular season on Jan. 1 against the Carolina Panthers.
Matt Ryan passed for 373 yards and a touchdown for the Falcons (9-6), who clinched an NFC wild card playoff berth when the Packers beat the Chicago Bears on Dec. 25. Atlanta had its two-game winning streak halted last night.
Marino, 50, congratulated Brees on his Twitter page, saying Brees’s accomplishment is a “great job by such a special player.” Marino is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and his 61,361 career passing yards rank second in NFL history to Brett Favre.
Marino threw for more than 300 yards nine times in his record-setting 1984 season, when he led the Dolphins to the Super Bowl in his second year before they lost to the 49ers.
Brees, who’s in his 11th NFL season and sixth with the Saints, said he wasn’t playing with records in mind. Brees has passed for more than 4,300 yards in six straight seasons and in 2008 finished with 5,069 yards, 15 shy of Marino’s mark.
“I was trying not to think about the record or anything,” said Brees, who led New Orleans to its first Super Bowl victory after the 2009 season. “There are so many people that are a part of this. It’s not about me.”