Fittingly, Marques Colston's record-breaking reception came on a touchdown, because that paved the way for a celebration that was more extended than he otherwise might have allowed.
A 25-yarder from Drew Brees, the only quarterback from whom he has caught a pass in a regular-season game, in the second quarter of a 23-17 victory over Atlanta was catch No. 533 as a Saint for Colston. And it put him alone at the top of the franchise career receptions list, in front of the home crowd at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
"It feels pretty good," said Colston, who finished with five catches for 68 yards. "(Coach) Sean (Payton) talked about it all week, but he told me that it would only be special if we got the win. It was great to get a team victory. We are definitely going to enjoy it tonight. Then, we'll be ready to move on to Tampa Bay next week."
Colston's scoring grab pulled the Saints into a tie at 10, and capped a momentum-swinging turnover. Safety Roman Harper scooped up a fumble caused by Malcolm Jenkins and returned it 19 yards, to the Falcons' 31-yard line.
The record-breaker came on third down, from the 25.
"I knew that he broke the record, but I didn't know that it was on that touchdown pass," Brees said. "It was a critical play in the game. (Later) he made a great catch and got hit in the middle of the back. He came down with it. That was vintage Marques Colston.
"He came in here eight years ago as a seventh-round draft pick. He didn't know if he was going to make the team coming out of OTAs. After training camp, he was our No. 1 receiver and he hasn't looked back since. He's been the same guy every day.
"He comes in ready to work. He's a play-maker and I have the utmost confidence in him. He knows the ball is coming to him and he will make that play."
Quietly and without fanfare, he has become the franchise's all-time leader in receptions and touchdowns (59). Another record that soon will fall is receiving yards; he now has 7,462 and Eric Martin's record is 7,854.
"If I could, I'd be president of his fan club, but he wouldn't let me," Harper said of his reserved teammate.
Instead, Colston is president of his own club with the franchise, and the membership is extremely select.