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New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) warms up before Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 3, 2017, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD

Drew Brees had no idea he'd passed another major NFL milestone on Sunday. 

Not until Michael Thomas told him in the locker room after the game.

With the game winding down and the Saints trying to sink the dagger into Carolina, Brees unleashed a 32-yard dart to Thomas down the left sideline that set up the Saints' final score in a 31-21 win. 

The pass gave Brees 6,126 completions in the NFL, pushing him past Peyton Manning into second place on the all-time list. The number flashed on the scoreboard, but Brees wasn't paying attention to any milestones at the time.

"I didn't realize it until Michael handed me the ball," Brees said. 

Brees now trails only Brett Favre now. Favre completed 6,300 passes in his Hall of Fame career, meaning that Brees needs 174 completions to break the record.

Although it's highly unlikely that Brees will break the record in the final four games of this season, he's breathing down Favre's neck.

"You play long enough, then I guess those things happen," Brees said. "It just makes me think of all the guys who caught those balls, and all the guys who blocked."

Follow Joel A. Erickson on Twitter, @JoelAErickson.