The New Orleans Saints secured the NFC South with an almost easy 45-16 rout of the Atlanta Falcons that looked about as easy as driving down to the store to pick up some sugar. While the win itself is monumental and goes along way in showing the NFL that maybe it's not just the Packers that they should be worried about, it was secondary to the night that Saints QB Drew Brees had.
Brees, who had 307 passing yards and 4 td's to 2 interceptions, took the spotlight away from the team when he broke Dan Marino's 27 year old record for most passing yards in a season (which was 5,084). He even did it in dramatic fashion, with a touchdown, on his last pass of the game.
"Honestly, I was really trying not to think about the record or anything," Brees said. "I knew we were close. A couple guys mentioned stuff to me on the sideline. I didn't want to hear it. It's like a pitcher with a no-hitter, I guess."
Sure, the record was got with Brees passing late in the 4th with the Saints already up 38-16 and sure, it could be considered a faux paux (a no-no) in NFL circles as it was basically akin to running up the score, but nothing can take away from the fact that Brees earned this chance. He has mainly been an unspoken of figure behind Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and now, Aaron Rodgers, pretty much his whole career but with this mark, he is making a statement that maybe the QB pecking order in the NFL isn't so cut and dried as it seems.
Brees and the Saints were helped by a poor showing by the Atlanta Falcons who still had a chance at the division if they could have win this game. Atlanta started strong in the first, going up 10-7 after the quarter, but couldn't hold it as the balanced and unstoppable offense of the Saints just simply overpowered them into submission, holding them to just two field goals over the next 3 quarters.
"We didn't really play well enough in any phase of the game to give ourselves a chance to win," said Falcons coach Mike Smith, whose team came in with a chance to stay in the hunt for the division title. "There were some opportunities early on. And then it kind of got out of hand there at the end. … It's not the type of effort that you want to have with so much on the line with what the outcome could have meant to our team."
Both teams can now start looking ahead to the postseason, one feeling slightly better about it than the other of course, but for now, the focus for Brees and his teammates is all on the breaking of one the sports most hallowed records. And though Brees might get the spotlight for this, it takes a team effort to achieve this and that whole Saints team is pretty special.
"Obviously, it's a special moment for the players, especially Drew," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "I couldn't be more proud of him."
Not to be outdone for to long, New England QB Tom Brady also has a chance to break Marino's record next week as he is currently sitting on 4,897 yards.
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