Drew Brees breaks record for all-time passing touchdowns

Drew Brees owns another NFL passing record.

Brees’ touchdown pass to Tre’Quan Smith with 6:11 left in the second quarter on Monday night was his 539th career touchdown pass, tying Peyton Manning for the most in league history. Brees also passed New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady with that pass; Brady finished his game on Sunday with 538 career touchdown passes.

The record-breaking 540th pass came with 7:08 left in the third quarter. Brees hit tight end Josh Hill all alone in the end zone. Brees got the ball, took off his helmet, pointed to the crowd and blew kisses. It was fitting it happened at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. No quarterback has ever thrown more touchdowns at one venue than Brees has at the Superdome. 

Brees tied Brady for second place on the all-time list on a touchdown pass to Michael Thomas early in the second quarter. When Brees set the career record for all-time passing yards in 2018, passing Manning, Smith caught the record-setting pass on a long touchdown. Smith’s 21-yard score over the middle against the Indianapolis Colts on Monday made some more history.

Smith almost had the record-breaker too, but his second touchdown was wiped off the board due to an offensive pass interference call in the final seconds of the first half. Brees and the Saints started to celebrate, but the play came back and Saints fans yelled at the officials. The celebration would have to wait. But not much longer.

Several major records

This is just the latest major passing record Brees holds. In October 2018, he passed Manning for the all-time yardage record, also in a “Monday Night Football” game. Brees likes big moments on the prime-time stage. He also set an NFL single-season passing yardage record in 2011 on “MNF” and a record for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass on “Sunday Night Football” in 2012. Brees is also tops in NFL history for completions (6,792 before Monday night) and career completion percentage (67.5 before Monday night).

Brett Favre retired for the final time in 2010 with 508 touchdowns; he was the first quarterback ever with more than 500 TDs. Dan Marino had 420 and Favre blew past his record. Manning passed them both, retiring with 539 in 2015.

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Drew Brees through his NFL career
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Drew Brees through his NFL career
Charger rookie quarterback and first round draft pick Drew Brees watches the action from the sidelines during the season opener against the Redskins in San Diego on Sept.9, 2001. The Chargers won 30�3. (Photo by Vince Compagnone/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
7 NOV 2002: San Diego Chargers Drew Brees during a game against San Francisco 49ers at the Qualcomm Stadium Sunday November 7, 2002, in San Diego, CA. (Photo by Matt A. Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
28 Sept 2003: Drew Brees of the San Diego Chargers during Chargers 34-31 loss to the Oakland Raiders at Network Associates Coliseum in Oakland, CA. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Sporting News via Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban (R) sacks San Diego Chargers quarterback Drew Brees as the snow falls during the first quarter of NFL action in Cleveland, Ohio December 19, 2004. REUTERS/Ron Schwane RS/GN
KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 24: Jimmy Wilkerson #96 of the Kansas City Chiefs reaches for Drew Brees #9 of the San Diego Chargers as he runs the ball in the first half of the game on December 24, 2005 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Larry W. Smith/Getty Images)
New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees during the first half of the Saints 23-3 win over Atlanta Monday, September 25, 2006, at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees accepts the NFL Player of the Year award in Miami, Florida January 31, 2007. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES)
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Devery Henderson (19) and quarterback Drew Brees celebrate after defeating Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-20 in their NFL football game in New Orleans September 7, 2008. REUTERS/Sean Gardner (UNITED STATES)
New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees celebrates his team's overtime win against the Washington Redskins in Landover, MD, December 6, 2009. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES SPORT FOOTBALL)
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton applauds as quarterback Drew Brees holds up the Vince Lombardi trophy after defeating the Indianapolis Colts to win the NFL's Super Bowl XLIV football game in Miami, Florida in this February 7, 2010 file photo. Proposals to extend the National Football League (NFL) season by two games have not been thought through and could lead to more injuries and curtailed careers, say players. Picture taken February 7, 2010. To match Feature NFL-SCHEDULE. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
BALTIMORE - DECEMBER 19: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints looks on from the sidelines against the Baltimore Ravens on December 19, 2010 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland.The Ravens defeated the Saints 30 to 24. (Photo by: Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images)
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is lifted by guard Carl Nicks (77) after setting a new NFL single season passing record of 5087 yards, surpassing Dan Marino's 5084 yards, with a touchdown pass to Darren Sproles against the Atlanta Falcons during their NFL football game in New Orleans, Louisiana December 26, 2011. REUTERS/Sean Gardner (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) gets away from Dallas Cowboys defensive end Jason Hatcher (97) in the first quarter at Cowboys Stadium on Sunday, December 23, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. (Ron Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 22: Greg Hardy #76 of the Carolina Panthers goes after Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints during their game at Bank against the Carolina Panthers of America Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Sep 28, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) runs with the ball against the Dallas Cowboys in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 1, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) reacts after throwing his seventh touchdown pass of the game during the fourth quarter against the New York Giants at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Giants 52-49. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 30, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) celebrates with teammates after a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks during the second quarter of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 29, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; NFC quarterback Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints (9) passes against the AFC during the second half of the 2017 Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 07: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints reacts after throwing a touchdown pass against the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 7, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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Brees’ start against the Colts is the 273rd regular-season game and 272nd start of Brees’ career, which began with the San Diego Chargers in 2001. He now has thrown two or more touchdowns in a game on 163 occasions, with 69 different players on the receiving end of those scores. Marques Colston has the most, with 72, and 16 players caught only one.

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