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brees MARK: 48 STRAIGHT GAMES with TD pass

NEW ORLEANS — Saints QB Drew Brees, above, threw a touchdown pass for the 48th straight game Sunday night, breaking the NFL mark set by Johnny Unitas a half-century ago.

The record-setting touchdown was a 40-yard pass to Devery Henderson in a victory over the Chargers.

After the completion, Brees raced to the end zone to greet Henderson, who wears the same No. 19 that Unitas wore for the Baltimore Colts.

The rest of New Orleans' offense swarmed around Brees in celebration.

Unitas set the record between 1956 and 1960, and no one had come within 10 games until Brees began to close in late last season. The Patriots' Tom Brady has the third-longest streak, extending his to 37 games Sunday in a victory over Denver.

"Johnny Unitas stands for everything great about this game,'' Brees said. "It's a team record, not an individual record.''

Coach Sean Payton, assistant head coach Joe Vitt and GM Mickey Loomis — all suspended in the NFL's bounty investigation — were permitted by the league, at Brees' request, to attend the game.

Unitas' son, Joe, attended.

Marques Colston had three TD catches to set the Saints record of 52, surpassing Joe Horn's mark of 50.

Quinn to start at QB against Bucs?

To the cheers of Chiefs fans, Brady Quinn replaced struggling QB Matt Cassel during a loss to the Ravens and appears likely to start against the Bucs on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. Cassel threw for 92 yards, was intercepted twice and had two lost fumbles before leaving in the fourth quarter with what the Chiefs described as a head injury. "We just want to play a sound football game where we're not dropping the ball as much," said Quinn, who was 3-of-3 for 32 yards passing on his only series. Fans had a banner flown by a plane asking for Cassel to be benched and for GM Scott Pioli to be fired.

browns: Middle LB D'Qwell Jackson , a former Seminole standout, left in the second quarter with a concussion and did not return. Also, CB Joe Haden, a former Gator standout, served the final game of a four-game suspension.

steelers: Coach Mike Tomlin said it was too early to know if LB Lamarr Woodley (strained right hamstring) and S Troy Polamalu (reaggravated strained right calf) would be available Thursday against the Titans.

vikings: S Harrison Smith was ejected during the second quarter after pushing an official as Smith tried to get closer to jaw at Titans players. Smith said he made a mistake and apologized.

Times wires

.tonight

Texans at Jets

8:30, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J. TV/radio: ESPN; 98.7-FM, 1010-AM

NFL news and notes 10/08/12 [Last modified: Monday, October 8, 2012 1:15am]

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