Spring 2021 Magazine

Saints QB Drew Brees enjoys 'incredible' night claiming NFL's all-time passing TD record

Another remarkable night by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees means a couple more impressive NFL records now belong to him.

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The 40-year-old legend broke Peyton Manning’s career touchdown record Monday night when he tossed a 5-yard pass to tight end Josh Hill in the third quarter, pushing his career total to 540. That was the third of four TD passes for Brees on the night, as he added another later in the third quarter to move the record to 541 and counting.

The Saints cruised to a 34-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, led by Brees completing almost everything. He missed on just one of his 30 passes, finishing with a 96.7 completion percentage that broke Philip Rivers’ all-time-best mark of 96.55 from 2018 (28-of-29 passing; minimum 20 attempts). Brees ended the game with a personal record 22 consecutive completions, and he can break the NFL record of 25 in his next game.

But the highlight of the night was the touchdown record, which may or may not stay in Brees’ possession for long. Brees’ first TD pass tied Tom Brady at 538, but with the Patriots QB still very much active as well, Brees and Brady might pass this record back and forth until one of them finally decides to retire.

Because two regular-season games remain and the postseason looms, Brees found it hard to reflect too much on what he’d accomplished Sunday night.

“I’m not sure how we got here. It just kind of makes your whole life and career flash before your eyes,” Brees said after the game. “Because I never thought I would’ve had a chance to be a part of something like this, and just looking at the entire journey: Nineteen years from five years in San Diego to 14 years here and all the incredible teammates and coaches that I’ve had the chance to play with and for — this team right here, who’s very special. And, of course, our fan base, the Who Dat nation, everyone in the Dome tonight, everybody watching tonight. Loved ones, my family, my kids here. Both my college roommates, two of my best friends in the world, were here with their kids. Just an incredible night, incredible experience, incredible moment — to be able to share that with so many people, because all of them are a big part of this.”

Last year, Brees became the all-time leader in NFL passing yards, as he passed another mark previously held by Peyton Manning. A “grateful” Brees said after that game that he believes and often reminds his kids, “God has equipped us for great works.”

Brees’ faith in Jesus has long been on display. Earlier this season, he was widely criticized over a video he recorded to promote “Bring Your Bible To School Day,” after which he felt the need to reiterate, “I live by two very simple Christian fundamentals, and that is love the Lord with all your heart, mind and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Brees says one of the best decisions he’s ever made is to make Jesus Christ the Lord of his life.

“I remember sitting in church on my 17th birthday,” Brees told us at The Increase. “I was locked in on the pastor as he was talking about how the Lord was looking for a few good men to carry on His Kingdom, to spread His Word, and to live the life that He had planned for them, and that spoke to me. And it was at that moment that I accepted Jesus Christ in my heart and knew that there was something bigger planned for me than just sports.”

Brees and the Saints will finish their season on the road with games against Tennessee and Carolina. At 11-3, they’re tied for the best record in the NFC, but currently sit as the No. 3 seed due to tiebreakers. Brees is aiming to win his second Super Bowl before calling it a career. He was MVP of Super Bowl XLIV, when the Saints topped Manning’s Colts, 31-17.

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