Brian Allee-Walsh

Passing record in hand, Drew Brees fuels greatest NFL quarterback debate

The Washington Redskins may have been standing for the national anthem before Monday night’s game, but New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees eventually brought them to their knees.

The newly-christened “Passin’ Assassin’‘ blew past Peyton Manning and Brett Favre to become the NFL’s all-time passing yardage leader, throwing for 363 yards and three touchdowns to help the Black and Gold rout the Redskins 43-19 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Fittingly, ol’ No. 9 became No. 1 on a 62-yard scoring pass to wide open rookie wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith with 2:36 remaining in the first half, extending the Saints lead to 26-6 and sending the sellout crowd of 73,028 into Mardi Gras mode.

Let the record show, Brees now has 72,103 yards (regular season only) for the NFC South-leading Saints (4-1) going into their bye week.

As planned, game officials halted play Monday night to allow for the pomp and circumstance and to give Brees time to share the moment with wife Brittany and their four young children on the sideline. Before returning to play, Brees told his three sons “you can accomplish anything you want, if you work hard enough.”

Brees also had some love for Saints coach Sean Payton, punctuating their warm embrace with the words “Let’s go win this game.”

Truth be told, Brees’ family, his teammates and Payton got closer to the new record-holder than the Redskins’ pass rush for much of the night.

Believe me, I have come to praise Brees today, but let’s be honest here: On a night billed as history making by its mere presence on Monday Night Football, the Washington Redskins seemed almost submissive, reminiscent of the patsy Washington Generals who existed primarily to play the role of stooges for the world renowned Harlem Globetrotters for decades.

Brees played well, but the Redskins’ defense put up little resistance.

He completed 26 of 29 passes with zero INTs for a near-perfect 153.2 passer rating. He threw as many TD passes as he did incompletions: 3.

He was so good this night, he even caught one of his own passes.

As to the greatest quarterback of all time, the national debate rages on.

Unquestionably, Brees has to be in the conversation, along with Joe Montana, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Johnny Unitas, Brett Favre and Terry Bradshaw.

But on Monday night, there was no doubt: Drew Brees WAS the G.O.A.T.

He has another noteworthy career achievement to prove it.

Brian Allee-Walsh, a longtime Saints reporter based in New Orleans, can be reached at sports@sunherald.com.
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