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Brees streaking up all-time list for touchdown passes

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By Eli Kaberon

The Saints' 24-10 victory over the Jets in Week Four of the 2009 season was an important game for a variety of reasons. New Orleans, on its way to a Super Bowl title, improved to 4-0, while New York, on its way to a loss in the AFC championship game, suffered its first defeat under head coach Rex Ryan and fell to 3-1.

The contest also had some important historical significance for Saints QB Drew Brees, as it was the last time that he failed to throw a touchdown pass. In each of the 31 regular-season games that Brees has participated in since that day — starting with Week Six in '09 vs. the Giants and stretching through Week Four of this season, when Brees threw a one-yard score to TE Jimmy Graham vs. the Jaguars — the quarterback has tossed at least one touchdown pass. That streak is the third-longest of all time but is still a full regular season behind the record holder for the most consecutive games with a touchdown pass, Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas.

Here is a list of the five quarterbacks with the NFL's longest streaks of games in which they threw at least one TD pass.

1. Johnny Unitas / 47 — The Colts' great set several records during his illustrious career in Baltimore, but perhaps none as impressive as this touchdown streak that spanned parts of five regular seasons. Starting in 1956, when he was just a 23-year-old rookie, "Johnny U" threw a touchdown pass in each Colts game until the second-to-last game of the '60 season. During that stretch, Unitas was named to four Pro Bowls, was twice named a first-team All-Pro and helped Baltimore win the 1959 NFL championship. He retired in 1973 with 290 touchdown passes, which at the time was the most ever and currently ranks seventh on the all-time list. 

2. Brett Favre / 36 — As the NFL's all-time leading passer, Favre's name is littered throughout the record books for passing. He put together quite a run from 2002-04, throwing a touchdown in 36 consecutive games. The streak began with one TD on Nov. 4, 2002, and went through the entire 2003 season. In that '03 season, Favre had back-to-back four-TD games and finished as the league leader with 32 touchdowns. He brought the streak 11 games into the '04 campaign before finally being shut out by the Eagles on Dec. 5, 2004. He completed just 14-of-29 passes in the 47-17 loss, but he threw a touchdown in each of the team's final four games. The Packers had a 23-13 record during the stretch.

3. Drew Brees / 31* — Brees threw a touchdown pass in every game during the 2010 season, finishing with 33, which tied him for second in the league and was one shy of a career high that he reached in both 2008 and '09. He is on a torrid pace early on this season, with three touchdown throws in each of the Saints' first three games, and one in Week Four, giving him 10 on the season. Brees also threw a touchdown pass in all four playoff games during the years of his streak, including two scores in the Super Bowl XLIV win over the Colts.

4. Dan Marino / 30 — Marino, who held the title as the NFL's most productive passer until Favre beat his record, had his streak of touchdowns span from 1985-87, which included every game in 1986. He had a six-touchdown game in a loss to the Jets and a five-touchdown game in a win over the Rams in '86. During that season, he led the league with 44 TD passes, followed by Ken O'Brien, who finished second with a measly 25 scores. That '86 Dolphins team was just 8-8, though. Marino's streak paused in 1987 when he missed Weeks 3-5, and it came to a halt on Nov. 29, 1987, when he threw three interceptions in a 27-0 loss at Buffalo. Marino did throw eight TD passes in his final four games of the season.

5. Dave Krieg / 28 — He might not have the distinguished résumés of the other four quarterbacks on the list, but for a stretch of time, there were few QBs putting up better numbers than Krieg. The Seahawks' signalcaller tossed touchdown passes in the final two games of the 1983 season, then every game in '84 and the first 10 games of '85 before finally being stopped in Week 11 of that season in a 20-13 loss to the Patriots. Krieg was named to the Pro Bowl in '84, the first of his three career appearances in the all-star game, with a career-best 32 TD passes and a league-high 24 interceptions. Seattle posted a 20-8 record during Krieg's streak.

* - Denotes active streak.

PFW associate editor Kevin Fishbain contributed to this article.

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