Record Setting Night

Record Setting Night
by Rob Holecko

Last night, Saints QB Drew Brees broke Dan Marino's 1984 single-season passing mark of 5,084 yards on his final throw of the night, a touchdown that gave him 5,087 yards for the season, with one more game still to play.  The Saints beat the Falcons and clinched the NFC South title.

Throughout the night, during the telecast they referred to the record, giving a countdown of how many yards Brees needed.  They flashed back to 1984 and the Monday Night game at the end of the year against the Cowboys when Marino set the record.  They talked about the evolution of the record, from Sammy Baugh and John Unitas, and then in 1967, in the AFL, Joe Namath became the first to pass for 4,000 yards in a season.  Dan Fouts broke that record three consecutive years, in 1979, 1980 and 1981, and then Marino in 1984 passed for 5,084, a record that has stood since then.

In 2008, Brees got close to breaking the record a first time, throwing an incomplete pass on the final play of the season against the Carolina Panthers and winding up at 5,069 yards.

But this time he closed the deal, and he'll get to add to it next week, possibly they won't rest their starters in the season finale as the Saints still have a chance at a first-round bye, if they can win although they'll need the 49ers to lose to the Rams, possibly a tall order.

It was an exciting night in the Louisiana Superdome Allstate Car Carriers Big Old Round Building Mercedes Benz Superdome, possibly the biggest since the 2009 Super Bowl run, a with it being a Monday Night against the Falcons, it was reminiscent of the 2006 Week 3 game against the MNF Falcons when the Saints re-opened the dome after losing the 2005 season to Hurricane Katrina.

The Saints that year, after a dismal 2005 season went all the way to the NFC Championship game where they lost to the Bears, and three years later won Super Bowl XLIV.

Tom Brady has 4,897 yards going into his finale against Buffalo, so he also has an outside chance of passing 5,000 yards and Marino's mark.

Next week Brees also has a chance of passing Peyton Manning's record of 450 completions in a season, he finished last night with 440.

~ ~ ~

"On This Day..."

Last week all the talk (in and around New York anyway) was the Giants-Jets game, but today we will look back to another day where the focus of the NFL was all on the New York teams.  On December 27, 1981, the two NFL Wild Card games were played as the Bills and the Jets faced off at Shea stadium in the early AFC game, and the Giants and Eagles faced off in the NFC game in Philadelphia.

Here's a quick summary of this game from Wikipedia:
Bills defensive back Bill Simpson's interception at the Buffalo 1-yard line with 2 seconds left in the game preserved a 31-27 victory and gave Buffalo their first playoff win since 1965.

The Bills jumped to a 24-0 lead by the second quarter. First New York's Bruce Harper fumbled the opening kickoff while being tackled by Ervin Parker, and Charles Romes returned the ball 26-yards to the end zone. Then after a punt, quarterback Joe Ferguson completed a 50-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Frank Lewis, while interceptions by Simpson and linebacker Phil Villapiano led to a 29-yard field goal by Nick Mike-Mayer and a 26-yard scoring reception by Lewis. However, Jets quarterback Richard Todd threw a 30-yard touchdown to tight end Mickey Shuler, and kicker Pat Leahy added two field goals to cut Buffalo's lead, 24-13.
With about 10 minutes left in the game, running back Joe Cribbs ran for a 45-yard touchdown, increasing the Bills lead to 31-13. But Todd then led the Jets 80 yards in 8 plays and completed a 30-yard touchdown to Bobby Jones. Then after forcing a punt, New York drove for another score, aided by a pass interference call against Bills defensive back Mario Clark that nullified an interception. Kevin Long finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to cut the score to 31-27. The Jets got the ball back with 2:36 remaining and then drove 69 yards to the Buffalo 11-yard line, aided by a holding penalty that wiped out an interception by defensive back Steve Freeman. However, Simpson's interception at the 1-yard line halted New York's comeback with 2 seconds left.

Simpson recorded 2 interceptions, while Lewis caught 7 passes for a franchise postseason record 158 yards and 2 touchdowns. Shuler caught 6 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown. Todd threw for 377 yards, while Ferguson threw for 268. Both quarterbacks threw 2 touchdowns and were intercepted four times.
Larry Schmit reports to us in the forum that in this game the Bills' Joe Cribbs wore a gray facemask, while the other Bills wore the correct white facemasks. (see pictures)  Thanks, Larry.

In the other game, the Giants and Eagles faced off.  Here's the Wikipedia run down of that game:
The Giants jumped to a 20-0 lead in the first quarter, but had to withstand an Eagles comeback at the end to hold on to a 27-21 win. In the first quarter, Eagles kick/punt returner Wally Henry fumbled a punt and Beasley Reece recovered the ball at the Philadelphia 26-yard line. A few plays later, quarterback Scott Brunner then threw a 9-yard touchdown to running back Leon Bright (the extra point attempt failed). Later in the first period, Brunner threw a 10-yard touchdown to wide receiver John Mistler, Henry then fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Mark Haynes recovered the ball in the end zone to give New York a 20-0 lead.

In the second quarter, Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski completed a 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Harold Carmichael, but it was countered by Brunner's 22-yard touchdown to wide receiver Tom Mullady to give the Giants a 27-7 halftime lead. However, New York was shut out in the second half, while the Eagles opened the third period by marching 82 yards to score on running back Wilbert Montgomery's 6-yard rushing touchdown. Montgomery added another touchdown with 2:51 left in the game, but the Giants were able to run out the rest of the clock to preserve the victory. It marked the Giants first post season victory since 1956.
The Bills and the Giants both scored their first post-season victories in decades that day, and while they would both go on to lose to the eventual Super Bowl participants, the 49ers and the Bengals, the following week, for one day the New York teams were the center of the football world.

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