New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees passed Peyton Manning to become the NFL’s career leader in touchdown passes on Monday night, and he also set a league mark for the highest single-game completion percentage.
Brees wound up 29 of 30 for 307 yards and four touchdowns in a 34-7 rout of the visiting Indianapolis Colts.
Brees’ 5-yard touchdown pass to Josh Hill with 7:08 left in the third quarter — his third scoring strike of the game – was the 540th of his career, surpassing Manning. The touchdown was also Brees’ 20th straight completion in the game, a franchise record and personal best.
“Pretty incredible moment to be able to share something like this with my team and Who Dat Nation and everybody here in the Superdome tonight, my family and friends,” Brees said postgame on ESPN. “You don’t really think about these things, especially when you first enter this league. I can remember as a young player, just trying to become a starter someday maybe, maybe be able to make a little bit of an impact.
“It’s hard to believe, here we are 19 years later, having a chance to do some of these things. But these special moments are special because of the people that are on this journey. I love my team, I love our fans, and I love the opportunity that we have.”
Then with 35 seconds left in the third quarter, on his next pass, Brees hit Taysom Hill for a 28-yard scoring pass for No. 541 and his fourth of the night.
When he flipped the ball to Michael Thomas for a 2-yard loss early in the fourth quarter, Brees connected on his 22nd consecutive pass and moved to 29 of 30 on the night, 96.7 percent. Brees didn’t throw another pass in the game. The previous NFL record for the highest single-game completion rate was 96.6 percent, set by the Los Angeles Chargers’ Philip Rivers when he went 28 of 29 on Nov. 25, 2018.
Bress’ lone incompletion was a second-quarter throw intended for running back Latavius Murray.
“I’ll be honest with you — you always think about the one that you missed,” Brees said. “If I just set my darn feet and throw it to the running back, it’s 30-for-30, so that one may haunt me for a little while.
“A lot of great catches out there. A lot of guys making great plays.”
With 6:11 left in the second quarter, Brees had hit Tre’Quan Smith for a 21-yard touchdown toss to tie Manning with 539 passing TDs.
Brees, 40, entered Monday night’s home game against Indianapolis third on the all-time list. Brees’ 15-yard touchdown pass to Thomas with 12:37 left in the second tied him with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for second.
Brady tweeted after Brees’ third scoring pass of the night, “Congrats drew!! Couldn’t be more deserving. Passing Peyton in anything is an incredible achievement and your records will be tough to beat! But it’s worth trying (winking face emoji)”
Brees is in his 19th season in the NFL, his 14th with the Saints after playing the first five years of his career in with the then-San Diego Chargers.
Brees also holds the NFL career records for career passing yards, completions, passing yards per game and completion percentage (minimum 1,500 attempts).