Drew Brees broke the NFL record for career completions and accounted for five touchdowns, including the winner on an overtime quarterback sneak, as the New Orleans Saints defeated the Atlanta Falcons 43-37 on Sunday.
The Saints (2-1) won the coin toss for overtime and never let the Falcons (1-2) get the ball, driving 80 yards in 15 plays.
Brees completed 39 of 49 passes for 396 yards and three touchdowns, and also ran for two scores as the Saints amassed 534 yards against the injury-depleted Falcons defense.
Matt Ryan had a career-best five touchdown passes for the Falcons, completing 26 of 35 for 374 yards, and also threw a pair of two-point conversions. Rookie wide receiver Calvin Ridley had three of the touchdowns, including a 75-yarder.
Saints second-year running back Alvin Kamara had 15 catches for 124 yards and also rushed for 66 yards on 16 carries. Wide receiver Michael Thomas made 10 catches for 129 yards while setting the NFL record for receptions in three games with 38.
Brees forced overtime by scrambling 7 yards for a touchdown with 1:15 remaining in a fourth quarter that featured 30 points and three of the game’s eight lead changes.
Ryan threw touchdown passes of 5 yards to Tevin Coleman and Mohamed Sanu in the quarter, while also connecting with Austin Hooper and Sanu for two-point conversions.
Brees’ TD pass in the fourth quarter came on a fourth-down 1-yard toss to fullback Zach Line.
Ridley became the first rookie wide receiver with three touchdown catches since Odell Beckham of the New York Giants in 2014 when he caught a 9-yard TD pass from Ryan on the first possession of the second half.
A blocked punt, though, led to the Saints taking the lead back on an 11-yard pass from Brees to Cameron Meredith midway in the third quarter.
Wil Lutz hit from 45 yards for his third field goal of the second quarter with six seconds remaining to give the Saints a 16-14 lead at intermission. He was also good from 49 and 21 yards.
Brees broke Favre’s record of 6,300 completions midway in the second quarter with his 14th connection in his first 18 throws. He finished the game with 6,326.
Brees had a 4-yard touchdown pass to Ted Ginn Jr. on the game’s first possession and finished the first half 20 of 27 for 243 yards.
Ryan, who was 11 of 17 for 186 yards in the first half, threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Ridley in the first quarter before teaming with the first-round draft choice from Alabama on a 75-yard bomb late in the second.
—Field Level Media