New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees throws touchdown passes. Quite often, in fact. Brees also stays healthy, which enables him to toss those TD passes game after game after game.
Brees will enter the 2012 season within range of a long-standing NFL record that once appeared untouchable.
Brees has thrown a TD pass in 43 consecutive games, just four shy of tying the legendary Johnny Unitas’ record that has stood for more than half a century.
Last season, Brees shot past Dave Krieg (27 consecutive games), hall-of-famer Dan Marino (30) and future HOF’er Brett Favre (36) in the record books, ending the season with a TD connection in 43 straight.
Here’s how the first quarter of the 2012 season looks for Brees and the Saints:
Week 1 vs. Washington Redskins
The Redskins allowed 14 TD passes in the second half of the season, although they shut out Eli Manning and Matt Moore in that stretch.
Brees last faced the Redskins in Week 13 of the 2009 season, throwing 2 TD passes (and 1 INT) to extend his streak to 8 games.
Brees has just 3 career TDs vs. Washington (tied for lowest output, with Miami, Denver, New York Jets and San Diego).
Week 2 @ Carolina Panthers
Brees shredded the Panthers for 5 TD passes in the final week of the 2011 regular season.
Prior to that, Carolina had done a good job against Brees, twice holding him to a single TD pass during the streak.
Week 3 vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Brees has not faced the Chiefs since 2008.
In 8 career games against KC, Brees has 14 TDs and 7 INTs.
The Chiefs were middle-of-the-pack in the league 2011 with 23 TD passes allowed.
Week 4 @ Green Bay Packers
Brees has excelled against the Packers during his career, averaging 364.5 YPG and boasting an 11/2 TD/INT ratio in four games.
In Week 1 a year ago, Brees tossed 3 TDs (0 INT) while posting a 112.5 quarterback rating in a loss to the defending champion Packers.
A football shootout between Brees and Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau Field is already intriguing enough, but add in the fact that Brees could equal Johnny U’s famous record that day, and you might have an all-time classic.
If Brees can keep the streak going through Week 4, the record could be his the following week against the team that drafted him out of college, and gave him his start in the NFL…
Week 5 (Oct. 7) vs. San Diego Chargers
The Chargers tied for fifth-worst in the NFL in 2011 with 29 TD passes allowed, and SD picked off 17 passes all year long.
In his one career start against San Diego, in 2008, Brees was 30-for-41, for 339 yards, 3 TDs and 0 INTs (in a 37-32 New Orleans win).
BREES’ STREAK SO FAR…
Has thrown a TD pass against 24 different teams.
Has been held to 1 TD pass 12 times.
Dallas has done the best job against him, limiting him to 1 TD a game in 2 games.
Has tossed 5 TDs against Minnesota, New England and Indianapolis.
9 TDs in four games against the AFC North.
15 TDs in five games against the NFC North.
8 TDs in two games vs. New York Giants.
15 TDs in six games against division rival Atlanta.
11 TDs against other division foes Carolina and Tampa Bay.
Brees was held without a TD pass in consecutive games in early 2009 against Buffalo and the New York Jets. His streak began in Week 5 against the Giants, with a 4-TD performance.
Unitas’ record-setting streak of 47 games came to an end on Dec. 11, 1960, when the Los Angeles Rams beat Unitas’ Baltimore Colts 10-3.