NEW ORLEANS -- It had to be the deep ball. 

Drew Brees has always shown the ability to go deep and make big plays, and on Monday night, he delivered maybe his best. 

Late in the first half, Brees had 166 pass yards and needed 35 more to break the all-time NFL passing yardage record set by Peyton Manning at 71,940 yards.

In style, Brees hit wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith down the right sideline for a 62-yard touchdown. 

The Saints quarterback already sealed a Hall of Fame spot years ago, but this record likely won't be broken for some time. He surpassed both Brett Favre and Peyton Manning on Monday night to break the record. 

Of active quarterbacks, Tom Brady trails Brees by about 4,000 yards, which is about a full NFL season's worth of yards. Should Brees retire and Brady keep playing, maybe that could change, but outside of that possibility, the record seems safe. 

A second-round pick in 2001 out of Purdue, Brees began his career with the Chargers. He left San Diego as a free agent when the team decided to go with Philip Rivers, and has been in New Orleans since 2006.


With Brees at the helm, the Saints have been a perennial playoff team and won the Super Bowl in 2009.

Redskins players were not excited about facing Brees with the record on the line, but in reality, there wasn't much Washington could do. Even a bad game for Brees would still finish with more than 201 pass yards. 

And this was not a bad game.