New Orleans — Drew Brees became the NFL’s all-time leader in touchdown passes, throwing for four scores to lead the New Orleans Saints to a 34-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night.
The scoring strike that broke Peyton Manning’s record of 539 career touchdown passes came in the third quarter, when Brees hit tight end Josh Hill for a 5-yard score. Brees’ next pass in the game was the 541st scoring toss of his career, a 28-yard TD to reserve QB and utility player Taysom Hill that put the Saints up 34-0.
“It was special, everything about the night,” Brees said. “It just kind of makes your whole life and career flash before your eyes, because I never thought I’d have a chance to be part of something like this.”
The 40-year-old Brees came into the game already holding NFL records for completions with 6,792 and yards passing with 72,577 — and built on those numbers by also setting a record for completion percentage in a game. He completed 29 of 30 passes — 96.7% — for 307 yards before being relieved by Teddy Bridgewater in the fourth quarter. That broke the mark Philip Rivers had held since completing 28 of 29 (96.6%) against Arizona last season.
“He had a hot hand, obviously,” Payton said. “Guys were making plays, but that’s awfully difficult to do.”
The victory kept the Saints (11-3), who’d already won the NFC South, in the running with San Francisco (11-3) and Green Bay (11-3) for one of the top two seeds in the NFC playoffs. The Colts (6-8) were eliminated from playoff contention after losing their fourth straight and sixth out of seven.
“There’s a lot at stake right now relative to these games when you look at the top of the NFC,” Payton said. “It’s about winning and winning and winning and trying to give yourself the best chance in the postseason.”
Jacoby Brissett struggled at times with accuracy and finished 18 of 34 for 165 yards against a Saints defense looking for redemption after allowing 48 points in a loss to the 49ers a week earlier.
Meanwhile, Colts defenders had no answer for Michael Thomas, who caught 12 passes for 128 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown. Thomas’ eighth game this season with at least 10 catches give him 133 for the season, which is also the fourth-highest single-season total in NFL history.
With four more catches, Thomas will pass Antonio Brown and Julio Jones for second-most in a season and needs 11 to eclipse Marvin Harrison’s record of 143 from 2002.
Tre’Quan Smith caught a 21-yard touchdown pass for New Orleans.
Jordan Wilkins scored the Colts’ lone TD on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Gordon suspended again
The troubles that have followed Josh Gordon throughout his career continued as the Seahawks wide receiver was suspended indefinitely by the NFL for violating league policies on performance enhancers and substances of abuse.
Gordon was reinstated by the NFL in August after having been suspended indefinitely in December 2018, missing the final three games of last season for violations of the league’s substance abuse policy.
Gordon signed with New England and was among the leading receivers for the Patriots with 20 catches for 287 yards and a touchdown through six games. But he was placed on injured reserve because of knee and ankle injuries and was released in late October.
Seattle stepped in and claimed the oft-troubled receiver off waivers. His first game came in Week 10 against San Francisco when Gordon made a pair of key catches late in Seattle’s 27-24 overtime win.
Gordon had seven receptions over five games with the Seahawks. All seven seemed to have significance, including his 58-yard catch in Sunday’s win over Carolina.
Gordon’s brief stint with Seattle likely finished with 11 targets, 139 yards receiving and one incomplete pass on a trick play against the Panthers.
Gordon spoke last week with reverence about being given another chance by Seattle and the culture he stepped into with the Seahawks. He said it was a “great transition,” from his release in New England to being quickly added into the fold by the Seahawks.
“I think I’m fortunate in general to have landed in a place like this with coaches like this,” Gordon said. “The coaching staff, the organization from the top down, the guys, it’s real family-like. It’s real close, real tight-knit, real energetic group and real competitive. They love the game of football. You can see it and it’s a great feeling to come back to football and enjoy what you do and then be able to have fun with it.”
A 2012 second-round draft pick by the Cleveland Browns, Gordon was also suspended for the first two games of the 2013 season for a substance abuse policy violation but still caught 87 passes for nine TDs and a league-leading 1,646 yards and was voted to the All-Pro team.
He has been in and out of the league since, was released by New England earlier this season and signed with Seattle in November. This is the eighth time in his career Gordon has been suspended by the league or by his team.
Falcons defensive end Takk McKinley (shoulder) is out for the final two games.
... The Chiefs claimed veteran pass rusher Terrell Suggs.