Drew Brees was lights out, setting the all-time touchdown record with 541 TDs while the Saints defense bounced back from last week’s shootout against the 49ers.
The game was all ups for the Saints.
Up: Drew Brees record breaking night
Brees was in prime form at age 40, throwing for 307 yards, four touchdowns to four different receivers, while finishing with only one incomplete pass.
Entering the game, Drew Brees had thrown 537 career touchdowns, two behind Peyton Manning’s record of 539 touchdowns.
Brees would throw two touchdowns in the first half to tie Manning’s record, with the first being caught by Michael Thomas, and the second being caught by Tre’quan Smith. Brees and the Saints offense were dominating at the half up 20-0.
Brees broke Manning’s touchdown record in the third quarter finding Josh Hill for TD no. 540, before throwing for one more, finding Taysom Hill for no. 541.
That wasn’t the only NFL record Brees broke last night. Brees was absolutely surgical, completing 29 out of 30 passes, setting the record for completion percentage in a game with 96.7%.
Drew Brees has broken so many records that his list of accomplishments looks like a Cheesecake Factory menu pic.twitter.com/lbJV5RUmqC— Chris Rosvoglou (@RosvoglouReport) December 17, 2019
All in a day’s work for an all-time great.
Up: Can’t guard Mike
Michael Thomas was unguardable yet again. What’s new? Thomas continued his dominant campaign with yet another amazing performance, finishing with 12 receptions for 128 yards and one TD.
Thomas had a record night for himself, joining Marvin Harrison, Antonio Brown and Julio Jones as the only players in NFL history to have over 130 receptions in a season. Thomas also became the second players ever to have multiple 125-catch seasons, joining Brown.
Drew Brees isn’t the only Saint making history. With 133 catches so far this season, Michael Thomas now needs 11 more - basically a game for him - to move past Marvin Harrison for the most receptions in a single season. Another record coming....— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 17, 2019
As of the end of Monday night’s game, Thomas leads the league in receiving yards with 1,552 yards, receptions, with 133 on the season and receiving yards per game, with an average of 110.9 yards per game.
Thomas’s 133 receptions moved him 11 receptions behind Harrison’s single season reception record of 144, and with two games left in the season he is poised to break it.
Up : Defense bounces back
After giving up 48 points and 516 total yards in last week’s home loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Saints defense silenced the Colts in the dome. The Colts were held to only 7 points and 205 total yards despite several big names missing from the Saints’ secondary.
Absent from the defensive line were Sheldon Rankins and Marcus Davenport, both on the injured reserve, while Vonn Bell, Kiko Alonso and Patrick Robinson were all inactive for Monday night’s game.
The Saints, however, did not look shorthanded defensively, holding the Colts scoreless until the fourth quarter, when Jordan Wilkins had a one yard run for the team’s only score.
Saints fourth-round rookie Chauncey Gardner-Johnson with a big TFL. Continues to make an impressive impact for this defense. pic.twitter.com/wcK5fwImYr— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) December 17, 2019
Rookie corner Chauncey Gardner-Johnson played like a veteran for the black and gold, leading the team in tackles with eight, two tackles for a loss of yards, and a pass deflection. AJ Klein had six tackles of his own and half a sack with Trey Hendrickson, while hitting Jacoby Brissett twice.
Up: Playoff Implications
If the Playoffs started today, the Saints would be the third seed. Due to the tie break coming down to NFC losses, which the Saints have three compared to Seattle and Green Bay’s two, the Packers and Seahawks would seed above the Saints.
This would line up a rematch of 2018’s divisional matchup between the Saints and the Vikings, this time with the game being at the dome.
Having already clinched the NFC South, in order to claim one of the top seeds in the NFC the Saints will need to win their last two games against the Titans and the Panthers, and they will need a Packers or Seahawks loss in their last two games.
The Saints have arguably the easier schedule to finish off the season. Green Bay must go through the playoff-bound Minnesota Vikings, and then finish things off against the Detroit Lions.
Seattle has a tough path as well, not that their game against the Cardinals will be much of a challenge, but the team will finish the season against the 11-3 49ers for the NFC West division lead.
The Saints need to win out to give them a shot at either the first or second seed in the NFC, and they did just that Monday night.