Brees’ NFL-record TD streak ends at 54 games

ATLANTA — A lingering media throng is a curious sight following a

historic sporting event, conversing in hushed tones but bodies and eyes all facing one direction. On Thursday night in the Georgia Dome,

those eyes faced the Saints locker room door, each pair straining to spot a

future Hall of Fame quarterback.

 

After years of playing Atlanta’s

tormenter, Drew Brees fell back to Earth against the Falcons’ defense Thursday — losing

to the NFC South rival for just the third time in his Saints career. But the

game was not Brees’ only loss of the night.

Brees’ NFL-record streak of 54 straight

games with a touchdown pass came to an end as well, a historic accomplishment for a

defense Brees has toyed with for years.

 

“I realized it. I guess records are

meant to be broken and at some point they come to an end,” said Brees, who

passed for 341 yards and five interceptions in the 23-13 loss. “It’s tough, we

felt like we could have kept that one (going) for a while.”

Brees broke Hall of Fame quarterback

Johnny Unitas’ record of 48 consecutive games earlier this season against the San Diego

Chargers. Before Thursday’s game, Brees had thrown a touchdown pass in every game since

Week 4 of the 2009 season.

The cruel irony of the story is the opponent and the timing.

Brees had won four straight games

against the Falcons — 11 of 14 career matchups overall — often posting back-breaking numbers in the process. In 15 games against Atlanta, he’s now thrown for 300 or

more yards nine times.

The Falcons had not

held Brees scoreless since 2006.

“I didn’t realize that (we ended the

streak) and we walked off the field and somebody told me,” Falcons coach Mike

Smith said. “It’s an unbelievable streak. Drew Brees is an outstanding

quarterback.  … That guy has gone out

there and thrown touchdown after touchdown, game after game after game. Just

says a whole bunch about the way out football team played tonight.”

“Anytime you can end an offensive player’s streak you have to be happy about that, especially when they’re wearing a black and gold uniform,” Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon added.     

In his postgame interview, Brees said he

felt better about the offense than he had at any point in the season — the

preparation, the passing game, it was all there. But not only did his historic

touchdown mark conclude, he also threw a career-high five interceptions on the

night. Safe to say, it was a night to forget.

“It doesn’t really matter how they happened,

though. The fact is there was five of them, and that’s the first time it’s ever

happened,” Brees said of his interceptions. “That’s extremely disappointing. I pride myself on being

a great decision-maker and a guy that’s going to help us win the game and not

be a detriment and turn the ball over like that. … I can hold myself

accountable.”

The Super Bowl-winning quarterback has

long talked about the meaning of the streak to him personally — his

record-breaking throw to wide receiver Devery Henderson in October sent him barreling toward

his receiver, arms raised — as even Unitas’ son, Joe, wrote him a letter

following the game. Brees called the experience humbling.

And after it was all over, with the

horde of microphones and recorders circling his position on a makeshift platform, he

was not about to dismiss the accomplishment or put it squarely in his illustrious past.

 

“It doesn’t take away how special it

is.”