Drew Brees threw four touchdown passes and rushed for another as the New Orleans Saints won their third straight game by pummeling the visiting New York Giants 49-24 on Monday night.
Brees threw for 363 yards, including two scoring passes each to Jimmy Graham and Lance Moore, and the Saints piled up 577 yards of offense in sending the Giants to their third straight defeat.
Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram added rushing scores and Brees ran for his first TD in over two years as the Saints (8-3) improved to 5-0 at home and remained one game ahead of Atlanta atop the NFC South.
It was a spectacular night for Brees, who threw a touchdown pass for the 38th consecutive game to put him within nine of tying the all-time record held by Johnny Unitas.
Brees did extend his own NFL mark by completing at least 20 passes for the 31st straight game and set a league record by becoming the first player in history to throw for more than 30,000 yards in a span of seven seasons – with five games still to go.
Despite Eli Manning completing his first 21 passes of the second half, New York (6-5) was unable to keep up with New Orleans, which had four scoring drives of at least 80 yards and another of 73.
Manning, making his return to his hometown, finished 33 of 47 for 406 yards and threw a pair of scoring passes to Victor Cruz as the Giants dropped a game behind Dallas in the NFC East.
The Saints seized control of the game by scoring a pair of touchdowns in the final 2 1/2 minutes of the first half to take a 21-3 lead into the locker room.
Brees needed only three minutes to take New Orleans 80 yards in seven plays, capping it with a 5-yard slant to Graham.
The Saints got the ball back with 1:09 left in the half and Brees marched them 88 yards in only 34 seconds, connecting on a 10-yard pass to Moore.
New York offered a brief hope of a comeback by scoring on the first possession of the second half, with Brandon Jacobs bursting up the middle for the final 8 yards to cut the deficit to 21-10.
Brees responded by guiding a 73-yard scoring drive and darting in from 8 yards out for his first rushing TD since Oct. 25, 2009.
After a Giants fumble, Brees converted two plays later by hitting Graham down the left sideline for a 29-yard strike to push the lead to 35-10 with 4:13 left in the third period.