Brees throws 5 TD passes

NFL Notes

Saints stay even with Colts

December 01, 2009|By From Sun news services

The New Orleans Saints are still unbeaten and have joined the Indianapolis Colts in making NFL history.

Drew Brees threw for a season-high 371 yards and five touchdown passes, and the host Saints beat the New England Patriots, 38-17, on Monday night. The Saints joined the Indianapolis Colts at 11-0, the first time two teams have opened with that many wins in the same season.

The convincing victory left little doubt about New Orleans' credentials to match the Patriots' 16-0 regular-season mark in 2007. New England remains the only team to go undefeated in a 16-game regular season - for now.

Brees threw touchdown passes to five different players: Pierre Thomas, Devery Henderson, Robert Meachem, Darnell Dinkins and Marques Colston.

It was the second time the Patriots (7-4) had lost to an unbeaten team on the road in three weeks.

Tom Brady, returning to the Superdome for the first time since leading the Patriots to their first Super Bowl title in 2002, won't have many fond memories of this game. He was intercepted twice, sacked once, hit as he threw several times and pulled from the game in the fourth quarter with New Orleans leading by three touchdowns.

Brady finished 21 of 36 for 237 yards and did not throw a touchdown pass. He did, however, become New England's all-time passer, eclipsing Drew Bledsoe's mark of 29,657 passing yards.

The Patriots were within a touchdown early in the third quarter after marching 81 yards on a drive highlighted by Brady's 47-yard completion to Randy Moss, which set up Laurence Maroney's 2-yard touchdown.

New Orleans needed only three plays to get it back, though. Brees hit Colston along the right sideline, and the receiver turned it into a 68-yard gain by eluding Jonathan Wilhite's tackle. That set up tight end Darnell Dinkins' first touchdown of the season on a 2-yard pass to make it 31-17.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick, clearly worried about his club's ability to stop Brees, made his latest unconventional fourth-down call.

Unlike in Indianapolis, where the Patriots tried to put the game away by going for it in their own territory late in the fourth quarter, New England this time went for it on fourth-and-4 from the New Orleans 10 in the third quarter.

Brady's pass for Moss along the left sideline was broken up by Mike McKenzie, who was playing for the first time since fracturing his right kneecap a year ago. The play preserved New Orleans' two-touchdown lead.

Off the field
FALCONS: Atlanta will be without quarterback Matt Ryan as it tries to improve its playoff hopes in a key NFC game against the Eagles this week.

Coach Mike Smith said Monday that Ryan will miss at least one game with a turf toe injury. Chris Redman, a former Raven who took over for Ryan in Sunday's 20-17 win over the Buccaneers, will start against Philadelphia.

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