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Saints morning report: Brees gets topped

METAIRIE, La. – New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was well aware that one of his longest-standing passing records was broken over the weekend when the subject came up during his weekly media session Wednesday. Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday attempted 89 passes in a 62-38 loss to Oregon, breaking Brees’ record of 83 attempts, which he set as a sophomore at Purdue in 1998.

“Records are made to be broken,” said Brees, whose record of 55 completions in that game had already been broken years earlier.

Then he added with an admiring tone, “That’s a loooot of balls.”

Brees vividly remembers his 55-for-83 performance in a 31-24 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers, who went on to the Rose Bowl that year. He threw two touchdown passes and four interceptions in the dramatic affair.

“And we had a chance to send it to OT, so it could have been even more wild,” said Brees, who insisted that he “could have thrown 100 more” if needed that night.

Brees and former Boilermakers coach Joe Tiller turned out to be trend-setters in college football. Fifteen years ago, they were one of the few teams airing it out like so many do today.

“You’d say in 1998 that was a bit unusual compared to nowadays,” Brees said. “Nowadays for a team to put up 70 points and 700 yards of offense and throw it 80 times, that’s not all that uncommon.

“But still, that’s 89 times.”

Total recall: Brees has always had an uncanny ability to recall details from past performances. After the Purdue memory Wednesday, I asked him how many of the 44 players he could name that he has thrown touchdown passes to in his NFL career, and he was pretty confident he could come close to the full list. He immediately started rattling off names from his days with the San Diego Chargers, starting with the first -- tight end Freddie Jones.

Hard to beat: ESPN Stats & Information dug up several streaks that don’t bode well for the visiting Buffalo Bills on Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome:

  • The Saints have not lost a home game with coach Sean Payton on the sideline since Week 17 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2010. Payton has led them to 11 straight home wins since.

  • The Saints (5-1) are coming off their first loss of the season in Week 6 to the New England Patriots. But they haven’t lost back-to-back games with Payton as their coach since Weeks 15-17 of the 2009 season.

  • As we’ve mentioned previously this week, the Saints have won four straight games following their bye week, another streak that dates back to 2009.

Worth a click:

  • Brees got passed up by Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck for the No. 2 spot on Dan Graziano’s MVP Watch for ESPN.com. Winning a head-to-head duel against Peyton Manning will do that for you.

  • Remember to check out ESPN.com’s Bills team page this week for all you need to know about the Saints’ next opponent -- including the latest confusion over running back C.J. Spiller’s health. And stay tuned for this week’s edition of Double Coverage with me and Bills reporter Mike Rodak later today.

  • The Advocate’s Ramon Antonio Vargas writes about how young receivers admire the way veteran Marques Colston goes about his business -- whether he’s breaking records or having a quiet stretch.

  • WWLTV.com’s Bradley Handwerger profiles a rising Saints star with a much more animated personality – defensive end Cameron Jordan.

  • Veteran tight end Benjamin Watson knows the Saints can’t replace what Jimmy Graham does if Graham is unable to play with a foot injury Sunday. But he’s confident the Saints offense will find a way to keep running smoothly, per this article by The Times-Picayune’s Larry Holder.