Brees leads easy victory with 5 TDs
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By Brett Martel
The Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS -- Drew Brees and the unbeaten Saints left Tom Brady in the dust, zipping up and down the field in a dominant romp over the New England Patriots.
Brees threw for a season-high 371 yards and five touchdowns, carving up coach Bill Belichick's defense like few quarterbacks ever have in New Orleans' 38-17 victory last night.
By harassing Brady all game and routing one of the NFL's top powers, the Saints joined the Indianapolis Colts at 11-0 -- the first time two teams have opened with that many wins in the same season.
The convincing win left little doubt about New Orleans' credentials as the Saints try to match the Patriots' 16-0 regular-season mark in 2007. New England remains the only team to go undefeated in a 16-game regular season -- for now.
Brees threw touchdown passes to five players: Pierre Thomas, Devery Henderson, Robert Meachem, Darnell Dinkins and Marques Colston. In doing so, the Pro Bowl quarterback kept New Orleans on pace to narrowly eclipse New England's single-season scoring record of 589 points set in 2007.
It was the second time the Patriots (7-4) lost to an unbeaten team on the road in three weeks. Unlike in Indianapolis, there was no drama at the end this time.
Brady, returning to the Louisiana Superdome for the first time since leading the Patriots to their first Super Bowl title in 2002, won't have many fond memories of this game. He was intercepted twice, sacked once, hit as he threw several times and was pulled from the game in the fourth quarter with New Orleans leading by three touchdowns.
Brady finished 21 of 36 for 237 yards and did not throw a touchdown pass. He did, however, become New England's career passing leader, eclipsing Drew Bledsoe's mark of 29,657 yards.
Brady fell short of tying the record for consecutive games with 300 yards passing. He had done it in his previous five games, one short of the mark shared by Steve Young, Kurt Warner and Rich Gannon.
The Patriots were within a touchdown early in the third quarter after marching 81 yards on a drive highlighted by Brady's 47-yard completion to Randy Moss, which set up Laurence Maroney's 2-yard touchdown.
New Orleans needed only three plays to get it back, though. Brees hit Colston along the right sideline, and the receiver turned it into a 68-yard gain by eluding Jonathan Wilhite's tackle. That set up tight end Dinkins' first touchdown of the season on a 2-yard pass to make it 31-17.
First Published December 1, 2009 12:41 am