--After breaking Dan Marino's 27-year-old NFL record for single-season passing yards Monday night, it's possible that Drew Brees' mark could be surpassed a lot quicker.
Brees is just 190 yards ahead of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady going into Sunday's regular-season
finale, and it's possible that Brees might not play the entire game
when the Saints play the Carolina Panthers.
Brady, on the other hand, should get a solid
opportunity to move ahead of Brees because the Patriots need to win
their game with the Buffalo Bills to wrap up the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
Saints coach Sean Payton announced Wednesday that
he will play his regulars, but there's no guarantee that they'll play
the whole game if the San Francisco 49ers are blowing out the St. Louis
Rams and are on the way to clinching the No. 2 seed that the Saints are
still hopeful of earning.
"I'm not really aware of the space between (Brees
and Brady)," Payton said Tuesday. "I'm probably better off not knowing."
--As he did late Monday night, Payton shrugged off
mild criticism Tuesday for having Brees throw the ball in the final
five minutes of a 45-16 bashing of the Atlanta Falcons.
Leading at that point by 22 points, Brees went
back into the game needing 30 yards to break Marino's record. He got 32
and the record on a six-play drive that included five passes.
His last pass, a 9-yard touchdown strike to
running back Darren Sproles with 2:51 to play, got Brees past Marino
and apparently riled up some Falcons in the process.
"You go with your gut," Payton said. "I thought it
was the right decision last night. This morning (Tuesday), I thought it
was clearly the right decision.
"I felt overwhelmingly that most people that are
involved in this game, and know a little bit about this game, probably
felt the same way. The great thing about our game is that you can have
an opinion about it."
--Brees was named Wednesday as the NFC Offensive
Player of the Week for the third time this season and a club-record
13th time with the Saints.
Brees completed 23 of 39 passes for 307 yards and
four touchdowns to run his season total to 5,087 yards and break Dan
Marino's 27-year-old single-season passing record.
Brees also claimed the NFC's weekly honor
following a Week 7 win over the Indianapolis Colts and a Week 12
victory over the New York Giants.
--The Saints go into Sunday's game against the
Panthers with an 0-5 record in regular-season finales under Payton
since he took over in 2006.
Two of those losses came when the Saints had no
chance to improve their playoff seeding in 2006 and 2009 and last
season's 23-13 setback to the Tampa Bay Bucs came after the Saints
cleared their bench early.
The Saints are 0-3 in season finales against the
Panthers since Payton became head coach.
--The seven-game winning streak the Saints will
take into Sunday's game is the second-longest under Payton.
His longest winning streak, which is also the club
record, came when the Saints won their first 13 games in 2009.
--With his second extra point of Monday night's
game with the Falcons, Saints kicker John Kasay broke the franchise's
single-season record for scoring.
Kasay, who was signed late in training camp when
Garrett Hartley was lost for the season, went into the game with 129
points -- one shy of the old mark of 130 set by John Carney in 2002.
Kasay now has 138 points.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I guess we could cut (the ball) up
and give it to them (his teammates) all. The ball itself is not as
important to me as the memory we created, because that is something
that will live forever." -- Saints QB Drew Brees, on the ball used for
the pass that broke Dan Marino's single-season record for passing yards.
Brees Has Record But Brady Isn't Far Behind
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