27 Dec 2011

Brees breaks Marino's record as Saints win NFC South

7:02 pm on 27 December 2011

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees broke Dan Marino's 27-year single-season National Football League passing record as the Saints beat the Atlanta Falcons 45-16 to clinch the NFC South conference.

Brees came into the game needing 305 yards to beat Marino's 1984 record of 5,084 and finished the game with 307, breaking the record with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Darren Sproles with less than three minutes left.

The New Orleans crowd gave Brees a raucous ovation and the Saints called a timeout to mark the milestone and let Brees enjoy the acclaim.

Brees threw two touchdown passes in each half as the Saints raced to a 21-10 half-time lead, and their defense and special teams snuffed out any Atlanta hopes of a comeback.

A 92-yard kick return by Sproles set up a field goal that put the home team ahead 31-13 in the third, and Malcolm Jenkins returned a fumble 30 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to give New Orleans a 38-16 lead.

Brees then punctuated the win with his fourth touchdown pass of the night on his record-breaking throw to Sproles.