Saints, Rams, Chiefs, Panthers in playoffs
WASHINGTON – Agence France-Presse
Drew Brees reached an NFL milestone and threw a touchdown after a rear-aided interception to power the New Orleans Saints into the NFL playoffs Dec. 24 by beating Atlanta 23-13.
New England, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Minnesota and Jacksonville had already secured playoff berths, which leaves three wildcard spots up for grabs next week before the playoffs begin in January.
Brees, who turns 39 next month, completed 21-of-28 passes for 239 yards to spark the Saints, becoming the fastest quarterback in NFL history to surpass 70,000 career passing yards in the process.
Brees joined retired stars Peyton Manning and Brett Favre in reaching the milestone with a 12-yard screen pass to Mark Ingram during the first quarter, reaching the mark in 248 games to 258 for Manning and 293 for Favre.
With 70,200 career passing yards, Brees could crack Manning’s all-time passing yardage mark of 71,940 next season.
Atlanta (9-6) can clinch the last NFC playoff spot by beating Carolina but a loss would open the door for the Seattle Seahawks (9-6), who eliminated host Dallas 21-12 to stay in contention before facing Arizona next weekend.
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith completed 25 of 39 passes for 304 yards and a touchdown to power host Kansas City over Miami 29-13.