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Saints Postgame Notes

Posted Dec 26, 2011

Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints ● Monday, December 26, 2011

Saints Postgame Notes

·         Monday’s victory improved the Saints’ record to 12-3 and clinched the NFC South title. It is the fifth division title in franchise history (NFC West, 1991 and 2000; NFC South, 2006 and 2009).

·         As the division champ, the Saints will either be the No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the NFC playoffs. The Saints need a win over Carolina on Sunday and a San Francisco loss at St. Louis to earn the No. 2 seed and a bye into the divisional round.

·         The Saints improved to 7-0 at home for the first time in franchise history. It’s the first time the Saints have won seven home games in a season.

·         The Saints had 463 total yards Monday night and set a franchise single-season record with 6,857 total yards, breaking the mark of 6,571 set in 2009. New Orleans needs 219 yards against Carolina on Sunday to break the NFL record of 7,075 set by the St. Louis Rams in 2000.

·         With 26 first downs against the Falcons, the Saints extended their franchise single-season record total to 383. New Orleans needs 16 first downs against Carolina to break the NFL single-season record of 398 set by the 2004 Kansas City Chiefs.

·         TE Jimmy Graham became the Saints’ single-season leader in touchdown catches by a tight end with his 9-yard TD reception late in the second quarter. Graham’s 10th TD catch of the year broke a tie with Henry Childs for the most in a season by a Saints tight end.

·         Graham, who had four receptions for 42 yards, now has 91 receptions for 1,213 yards, the fifth-highest single-season yardage total for a tight end in NFL history. He is 77 yards behind record holder Kellen Winslow (1980 Chargers), but also trails New England’s Rob Gronkowski by six yards going into Week 17.

·         WR Marques Colston led the Saints with seven receptions for 81 yards and is on the cusp of reaching the 1,000-yard mark for the fifth time in six seasons as a Saint. Colston goes into Week 17 with 998 receiving yards.

·         WR Robert Meachem’s third-quarter 24-yard TD reception was the 23rd of his career, moving him into a tie with Donte’ Stallworth for eighth place on the franchise’s career list for receiving TDs.

·         RB Pierre Thomas capped the Saints’ first offensive drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. It was the 23rd TD run of Thomas’ career, moving him into a tie for fifth place on the Saints’ all-time list with George Rogers and Rueben Mayes.

·         RB Darren Sproles36-yard run in the third quarter was the longest rushing play of the season for the Saints.

·         Later in the third quarter, Sproles broke a 92-yard kickoff return (from six yards deep in the end zone to the Falcons 14). Though no official record is in the Saints’ record book, it appears to be the longest non-TD kickoff return in franchise history. The Saints have had three 88-yard returns not go for touchdowns – the most recent in 2008 by Pierre Thomas, also at home against the Falcons.

·         Sproles had two receptions, including the 9-yard TD catch to allow Drew Brees to break the NFL single-season passing yardage record, to improve his season total to 81. According to the NFL, Graham and Sproles are the first tight end/running back combination in NFL history with at least 80 receptions each.

·         S Malcolm Jenkins’ 30-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter was the Saints’ second defensive touchdown of the season. Jonathan Vilma had a fumble recovery in the end zone at St. Louis.

·         Jenkins’ TD was the second of his career. He returned an interception 96 yards for a score last season against the Rams

Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints ● Monday, December 26, 2011

Drew Brees Postgame Notes/Quick Quotes

·         Saints QB Drew Brees broke the 27-year-old NFL record for passing yards in a season on a 9-yard touchdown pass to RB Darren Sproles with 2:51 remaining in the game. Brees has 5,087 yards passing this season, three more than Dan Marino had in 1984.

·         On Monday, Brees completed 23 of 39 passes for 307 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions. It is Brees’ 12th 300-yard passing game of the season, extending his own NFL record, and his 49th in six seasons as a Saint.

·         On a 2-yard pass to WR Marques Colston in the second quarter, Brees surpassed 5,000 yards passing for the season. It marked the third time in NFL history a passer has topped the 5,000-yard mark and the first time in league history one quarterback has topped 5,000 twice.

·         On the play prior to the record-setter, Brees surpassed his career best and franchise mark of 5,069 yards.

·         Brees passed Pro Football Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas for 12th place on NFL career passing yards list. Unitas passed for 40,239 yards in his career. Brees, who now has 40,353, entered Monday night 193 yards behind Unitas.

·         Brees threw four TD passes to improve his season total to 41 and become the first Saint and seventh quarterback in NFL history to top the 40-TD mark in a season.

·         While Brees passed Unitas on the career yardage list, he is still on a quest to pass perhaps Unitas’ most revered career mark – 47 consecutive games with a touchdown pass. With his first TD pass Monday night, Brees extended his streak to 42, second-longest in NFL history.

·         Brees finished with a passer rating of 96.8, the first time in seven games he has not had a passer rating of 100 or better. He has reached the century mark in passer rating 10 times this season.

·         Brees also extended his NFL-record streak of games with 20 or more completions to 34.

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