New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees set the NFL all-time passing yardage record on Monday, breaking Peyton Manning’s old mark on a 62-yard touchdown pass in a 43-19 victory over Washington.
Brees completed 26-of-29 passes for 363 yards and three touchdowns to spark the Saints’ victory, overtaking Manning for the career mark with a scoring toss to Tre’Quan Smith down the right sideline with 2:36 remaining in the second quarter.
“I will remember that one for a long time,” Brees said.
“It has truly been a dream come true. Truly proud and very grateful.”
Brees finished the game with 72,103 all-time passing yards after moving past Manning’s 71,940 and Brett Favre’s total of 71,838 in the second quarter.
“I don’t know if that will ever sink in,” Brees said of being the career yardage leader. “I just love playing the game. I didn’t set out on this journey to break these records. I just love to play this game.”
Brees said that his mother and grandfather, both deceased, were in his thoughts for the important roles they played in nurturing his NFL dreams.
“It’s hard. There are just so many people that had a hand in it, that can share in it,” Brees said. “There were a lot of people I wanted to make proud and prove right tonight, none more than them.”
The 39-year-old passer, in his 18th NFL campaign, now has 499 career touchdown passes, one shy of joining a select 500-touchdown NFL club whose only members are Manning, Favre and New England’s Tom Brady, who reached the milestone last Thursday.
“I still feel like there’s work to be done,” Brees said.
Cheering supporters roared in the Superdome as Smith ran into the end zone with the historic catch, which gave the Saints a 26-6 lead and pushed Brees to 71,968 yards at that point, 28 yards beyond Manning’s old mark.
“All your hard work and dedication has paid off,” Manning said in a pre-taped message. “Congratulations and I’m proud of you.”
Brees had moved to second on the all-time lost earlier in the quarter, passing Favre on a 75-yard touchdown drive earlier in the quarter.
“Proud to be passed by a guy like you,” Favre tweeted.
After Brees connected on the record throw, he was mobbed by teammates and the game was briefly halted to acknowledge the moment. Brees hugged coach Sean Payton and his family on the sidelines.
Ball goes to Hall
Brees, who tapped his heart and pointed to the spectators in the sold-out stadium, handed the football used on the play to a Hall of Fame official.
Mark Ingram had run for touchdowns of one and two yards and Brees flipped a 1-yard touchdown pass to Josh Hill for other Saints scoring in the first half.
Brees set the NFL all-time completions record last month with number 6,301 to break Favre’s career mark.
Brees, who turns 40 in January, led the Saints to a 2010 Super Bowl victory, taking Most Valuable Player honors in a 31-17 triumph over Manning’s Indianapolis Colts.
Dustin Hopkins kicked field goals of 37 and 53 yards for Washington, which also had a 4-yard touchdown run from Alex Smith to pull within 26-13 at half-time.
Brees and Smith also combined on a 35-yard touchdown pass and Taysom Hill ran one yard for touchdowns in the third quarter while Will Lutz added a 44-yard field goal for a 43-13 New Orleans lead early in the fourth quarter.
Kapri Bibbs added a 1-yard touchdown run for Washington for the final points.
© Agence France-Presse (Additional Edits By Oisin McQueirns)