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New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) drops back for the throw in the second half of Tampa Bay's 31-24 win over New Orleans, Sunday, December 31, 2017, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Fla.

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK

TAMPA, Fla. — The NFL's single-season accuracy title is back in the hands of its rightful owner. 

Drew Brees, the most accurate passer in NFL history, took back the NFL record for completion percentage on Sunday against Tampa Bay, one year after Minnesota's Sam Bradford broke the mark. 

Brees completed 22 of 30 throws for 238 yards to finish at 72 percent completion percentage for the season, knocking off Bradford's mark of 71.6, set with the Vikings last year. 

The 38-year-old legend has set the standard for single-season accuracy twice before. Brees became the first NFL quarterback to complete 70 percent of his passes in a season by hooking up on 70.6 percent during the Super Bowl run in 2009, then lifted that mark to 71.2 in 2011. 

"Completing passes, they're positive plays," Brees said. "Positive plays are good, positive plays move the chains, get you into third-and-manageable situations, which increase your odds of conversion, which increases your chance of scoring points."

Brees also managed to break the record again without sacrificing the big play in the New Orleans offense. With two more long completions on Sunday, Brees finished with five completions where the ball traveled more than 40 yards in the air after posting just one such play last season, and he completed 30 passes that traveled 20 or yards or more in the air. 

That's only one fewer than he completed in 2016, and Brees attempted 137 fewer passes in 2017. 

"It's efficiency in the offense," Brees said. "Our offense has the ability to push the ball down the field. We're going to take our shots, we're going to be aggressive and yet, when it's not there, we're going to check it down and live to play another day."

Follow Joel A. Erickson on Twitter, @JoelAErickson.