By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
FOXBORO (CBS) -- The shelving of Drew Brees due to a thumb injury was certain to open the door for Tom Brady to make some moves on the all-time regular season passing record leaderboards. It did not take long for Brady to make his move.
With a 25-yard touchdown pass to Phillip Dorsett on Sunday afternoon vs. the Jets, Brady leapfrogged Brees on the list for most career regular-season passing touchdowns. It was Brady's 523rd career regular-season touchdown pass.
In moving past Brees, Brady put himself 16 behind Peyton Manning, who owns the all-time record with 539. Brady closed the gap even more when he threw career touchdown pass No. 524 early in the second quarter.
Brees is expected to return for the Saints at midseason, at which point Brady (health permitting) will have opened up a decent lead in the touchdown race while also gaining ground in the passing yard race. Brady entered Sunday in fourth place, trailing Brees by 3,726 yards.
Brady also set a new record, throwing his seventh touchdown of the season. That's the most ever in a single season by a quarterback after his 42nd birthday.
As this story is tracked and followed all year long, it's probably important to note that if playoffs are included, Brady is the all-time leader by a comfortable margin in both categories. He entered Sunday with 595 touchdown passes combined between the regular season and postseason. Manning ranks second with 579, followed by Brees at 553. In terms of passing yards, Brady entered Sunday with 82,298 passing yards combined in the regular and postseason, with Brees (79,604) ranking second.
Of course, all players run different offenses, in different systems, in different stadiums, under different playing conditions and for different career lengths, so no statistic is ever apples-to-apples. Nevertheless, in a season where the Patriots may not be challenged until November, the statistical tabulation at least provides a decent sideshow to the main act.
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