Saints by the Numbers: Brees’ record only a part of historic night

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NEW ORLEANS – This was a night full of numbers.

One of the biggest records in NFL history fell Monday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome as Drew Brees became the all-time leader in passing yards, but that would not be all Brees would accomplish in the Saints’ 43-19 victory over Washington.

Brees finished with 363 yards on the night and has 72,103 passing yards for his career, 163 more than Peyton Manning. He also passed Brett Favre after entering the night in third place on the list.

But there was more:

*The record-setting pass, a 62-yard touchdown pass to rookie Tre’quan Smith, was the first of Smith’s career, making him the 63rd different player to catch a TD pass from Brees in his career.

*Brees finished 26 of 29 passing, a career-best 89.7 completion percentage. His previous career best was 88.6 percent (31 of 35) in the Saints’ 62-7 dismantling of the Colts in 2011. The franchise record is 90.9 percent (10 of 11) by Mike Buck 25 years ago this month against Pittsburgh.

*He extended his own NFL records for games with 300 yards passing (112) and games with 350 yards passing (60).

*His 12.5 yards per attempt (363 yards passing on 29 pass attempts) is the second-best average of his Saints career, topped only by his extraordinary 16.1 yards per attempt on Nov. 30, 2009, when he turned in his only career perfect passer rating of 158.3 in a 38-17 shellacking of the New England Patriots.

*Speaking of passer rating, his 153.2 mark Monday night is his fifth-best as a Saint.

At least Brees left something for next time. He ended the night with 499 career touchdown passes, one shy of joining Manning, Favre and Tom Brady in the 500-TD club.

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The Saints became the 11th team in NFL history to score 40 or more points in at least three of the first five games of the season. It’s the second time in franchise history it’s happened, along with the 2009 team that eventually won Super Bowl XLIV.

Only two teams – the 2000 St. Louis Rams and the 2013 Denver Broncos – have scored 40+ in four of their first five games.

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New Orleans is also the first team in three years to score 180 points in the first five games of the season. Arizona and New England each topped the mark in the 2015 season.

Five franchises – the Saints, Cardinals, Patriots, Rams and Broncos – have accounted for the only 180-point, five-game starts in the last 50 years. Arizona did it once while the other four achieved the feat twice.

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New Orleans held Washington to 39 yards rushing Monday night, the fourth consecutive game it has held its opponent below 100 yards on the ground.

Through five games, the Saints have allowed 357 rushing yards, an average of 71.4 yards per game. Not only does it rank third in the NFL behind Chicago and Philadelphia, the five-game start is the second-best in the 52-year history of the franchise, topped only by the 1991 team that allowed held its opponents to 266 rushing yards in a 5-0 start.

Research assistance from the website Pro Football Reference.

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Lenny Vangilder

Lenny Vangilder

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Lenny has been involved in college athletics since the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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