On a night when quarterback Drew Brees became the NFL’s passing king, the New Orleans Saints sent a statement to a national television audience that they should be considered serious contenders for the NFL throne as they throttled the Washington Redskins 43-19 on Monday, Oct. 8.
With a raucous crowd of 73,028 fans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome cheering him on, Brees broke Peyton Manning’s all-time passing mark with a 62-yard touchdown strike to rookie receiver Tre’Quan Smith. A few minutes later he connected with Smith on a 35-yard touchdown and when all-everything Taysom Hill scored on a 1-yard run to the right side the rout was on.
The Saints (4-1) now have won four consecutive games and get a week of rest before they head to Baltimore to take on the Ravens. The Redskins dropped to 2-2. The Los Angeles Rams (5-0) are the only NFC team with a better record than the Saints. The two teams will play Nov. 4 in the next game at the Superdome.
Brees, who finished 26 of 29 for 363 yards with three touchdowns (he’s now just one shy of 500 for his 18-year career), showed how potent the Saints can be when they have their full complement of weapons. It was running back Mark Ingram’s first game after serving a four-game suspension and he powered his way to two first-half touchdowns and had a Pierre Thomas-esque screen pass go for 27 yards. Michael Thomas made several tough catches, Alvin Kamara was Alvin Kamara and Cameron Meredith and Smith had the best games of their brief Saints careers.
The Saints defense lost star cornerback Marshon Lattimore to a possible concussion in the first half but forced two Washington turnovers, an interception by Alex Smith that reserve defensive back Justin Hardee nearly returned for a touchdown and a Smith fumble that linebacker A.J. Klein recovered.
Brees now has 72,103 yards for his career and owns one of the NFL’s prestige passing records to go along with having completed more passes than any player in history. Next season he’s likely to become the record-holder in attempts ( Brett Favre has 10,169) and touchdowns (Manning has 539). The football Smith caught for the record-setting touchdown was given to David Baker, president of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, to take back to Canton, Ohio. Five years after his career ends, Brees will be able to visit that football and other items from his sure-to-be Hall of fame career.
Saints stat leaders
Drew Brees, 26 of 29 for 363 yards with three touchdowns
Mark Ingram, 14 carries for 41 yards
(Press Release Provided by the New Orleans Saints)