The Saints missed the playoffs this year, but Brees had a stat explosion. By year's end, he racked up 5,069 passing yards, 15 shy of the single-season record held by Dan Marino. He was only the second player in history to cross the 5,000 mark. He also tied Rich Gannon's record of passing for 300 yards 10 times in a single season. This season perhaps previewed the what was to come the next year.
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Brees has only missed two games during his entire tenure with the Saints, coincidentally, both against the Carolina Panthers. A shoulder injury kept him out of this year's Week 3 matchup. Back in 2009, Brees sat out the final game of the regular season to rest for the playoffs after the team started the season 13-0.
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New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys - Nov. 25, 2010
For the most part of this game, the Saints were in control on the road against the Cowboys. But America's Team started making their comeback in the second half, eventually taking the lead after being down 20-6. With the pressure of ruining everybody's Thanksgiving dinner, Brees took the Saints almost the length of the field in front of a packed crowd at Cowboys Stadium to take back the lead and eventually win with less than three minutes to play. The Saints ended the season 11-3 and earned a wild-card spot in the playoffs.
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New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons - Dec. 26, 2011
In 2011, Brees was having one of his best years statistically. During Week 16, Brees completed a 9-yard TD pass in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter to pass Dan Marino's 27-year-old record for most passing yards in a single season. He entered the game needing 305 passing yards. He finished the game with 307. By the end of the season, he completed football's Triple Crown by leading the NFL in completion percentage, passing yards and passing touchdowns. He set a franchise record for passing touchdowns with 46.
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New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys - Oct. 4, 2015
Not only did Brees become the fifth quarterback in NFL history to throw 400 touchdowns (joining the ranks of Brady, Marino, Favre and Manning), but he did it with style, too. Brees completed a pass to running back C.J. Spiller that turned into an 80-yard touchdown on the second play of overtime, earning the win against the visiting Dallas Cowboys. Brees missed the game prior due to injury, and the Saints lost. The win against the Cowboys was the first of the 2015 season.
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Mr. New Orleans
Perhaps no picture better represents Brees' commitment to the New Orleans community than this photo he shared following a Saints' practice of him walking home with fans this past summer. Brees seems to have fully embraced his new city following his signing in 2006. That year, the NFL awarded him a co-share of the Walter Payton Man of the Year award for his work helping to rebuild the city following Hurricane Katrina. Brees still lives in the city and is often spotted at local charity events.
New Orleans Saints vs. Miami Dolphins - Oct. 25, 2009
The Saints traveled to Miami holding on to a perfect 5-0 start to the 2009 season. Brees & Co. quickly found themselves in a 24-3 hole in the second quarter. Brees didn't have a strong outing, but he still managed to rush for two crucial touchdowns that changed the momentum of the game, one before halftime that cut the lead to 24-10 and one in the third quarter to put the Saints up for good 37-34. The Saints went on to win the game 46-34, tying the biggest comeback in franchise history.
New Orleans Saints vs. San Diego Chargers - Oct. 7, 2012
Brees once again etched his name in the record books by tossing a touchdown in his 48th straight game, breaking Johnny Unitas' record of consecutive games that stood for 52 years. A few weeks later, Brees went without a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons, ending the streak at 54 games.
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Brees signed with the Saints prior to the start of the 2006 season. He was coming off a major injury to his throwing arm, and many questioned Brees' capabilities. The city of New Orleans was in the midst of recovering from Hurricane Katrina, and the Saints finished the 2005 season with a 3-13 record. Brees and new coach Sean Payton rejuvenated the Black & Gold, and the team improved to a 10-6 record and won the NFC South. During the first home game of the season in Week 3, the Superdome was electric, having not hosted a game since December 2004. Football had returned to New Orleans, and Drew Brees was there to lead the charge.
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Super Bowl XLIV
There is nothing greater an athlete can give a city than a championship. Brees was already a household name in the Bayou City, but the 2009 season's Super Bowl solidified Brees’ "sainthood" in New Orleans forever. In his MVP effort, Brees recorded 288 passing yards and two touchdowns while completing 32 of 39 attempts against the Indianapolis Colts.