Before Drew Brees could blow kisses to the adoring Superdome crowd, before he could embrace his wife and children on the sideline, the Saints' 39-year-old quarterback had to shred one of the NFL's top pass defenses with ruthless efficiency.
And so he did.
Brees passed Peyton Manning to become the NFL's all-time leader in yards passing with a 62-yard touchdown to rookie Tre'Quan Smith on Monday night that sent New Orleans on its way to a lopsided 43-19 victory over the mistake-prone Washington Redskins.
Brees entered the game needing 201 yards to eclipse Peyton Manning's previous mark of 71,940 yards. He had 250 yards and two touchdowns by halftime and finished 26 of 29 for 363 yards and three touchdowns. He has yet to throw an interception this season. He did, however, make his eighth career reception on his own deflected pass, and pushed across the line of scrimmage to add an extra yard to his career total.
The Saints' Smith, a third-round draft choice last spring, caught two touchdown passes from the 18th-year pro. Brees also hit Smith for a 35-yard score down the right sideline early in the third quarter.
Any hope Washington had of coming back was all but snuffed out when Justin Hardee, a special teams regular who was in the game because of Marshon Lattimore's concussion symptoms, snagged Alex Smith's underthrown pass at the Saints' 19-yard line and returned his first career interception to the Washington 4.
That set up change-of-pace QB Taysom Hill's 1-yard touchdown run that put the Saints (4-1) up 40-13.
Smith completed 23 of 39 passes for 275 yards for the Redskins (2-2). He ran for a short touchdown late in the first half that pulled Washington within 26-13.