Drew Brees Breaks Unitas' Record as Saints Clinch First Win
New Orleans, LA
Drew Brees cemented his name in the NFL record book by posting his 48th straight game with a touchdown pass as the New Orleans Saints finally got their first win in five tries after beating the San Diego Chargers, 31-24, Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
In his 100th start as the Saints quarterback, Brees completed a 40-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Devery Henderson in the first quarter to break a tie with Johnny Unitas for the longest streak in NFL history.
"Johnny Unitas, arguably one of the best quarterbacks in this game, really revolutionized the position, everything that he stood for as a player, just a pioneer of this game. It's a tremendous honor. It's humbling. It is certainly a record that we all very much appreciate," Brees said after the game.
Brees, who completed 29 of 45 passes for 370 yards and four touchdown heaves, also moved past Warren Moon for seventh place on the NFL career passing touchdown list with 295 scores.
The quarterback also surpassed 30,000 yards passing in his Saints career on his third-quarter touchdown pass to wideout Marques Colston. He now has 30,114 yards passing in a Saints uniform.
What made it more special for Brees was the presence of suspended Saints coach Sean Payton, who was on hand to watch his quarterback's special achievement together with assistant head coach Joe Vitt and general manager Mickey Loomis.
Despite serving various suspensions in connection with the NFL's bounty investigation, the three were allowed to watch the historic game upon Brees' request.
"That is another reason why I felt it so important to have Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis and Joe Vitt in the building as well. They had a chance to share in that moment too," Brees said.
Colston also achieved a career milestone when he moved past Joe Horn as the Saints' all-time leader in career touchdown receptions with 52 after catching three of Brees' touchdown passes.
Chargers playmaker Philip Rivers, who completed 27 of 42 passes for 354 yards, threw the first of his two touchdowns with a 15-yard connection to Robert Meacham for a 7-0 lead.
Then, Brees achieved the historic milestone when he found Henderson for a 40-yard touchdown pass with less than three minutes left in the first period.
"It was a great feeling. We knew that we wanted to be a part of it going into this game. I know every guy in the receiving corps would have loved to have caught that ball. Most importantly, Drew got it done. It's a historic compliment to him," Henderson said of his historic catch.
After Nick Novak booted a 20-yard field goal for the Chargers (3-2), Brees found Colston for a 19-yard passing score to give the Saints a 14-10 advantage.
But it was short-lived as Rivers retaliated with a 44-yard touchdown pass to Meacham for a 17-14 halftime edge.
The Chargers made it a 10-point cushion after Ryan Mathews' 13-yard touchdown run but Brees connected with Colston for a 16-yard scoring pass to end the third period just behind by three.
It was all Saints in the fourth period as Brees clinched his fourth touchdown pass with a five-yard toss to Colston, who finished with 131 receiving yards on nine catches with three scores.
Garrett Hartley drove the final nail in the Chargers' coffin with a 26-yard field goal with less than three minutes in the game.
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