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The New Orleans Saints took a huge step in their march toward an undefeated regular season as quarterback Drew Brees fired five touchdown passes in a 38-17 rout against the New England Patriots on Monday night. Brees, who achieved a perfect passer rating of 158.3, hit Pierre Thomas (18 yards), Devery Henderson (75 yards), Robert Meachem (38 yards), Darnell Dinkins (2 yards) and Marques Colston (20 yards) for scores to help explosive New Orleans improve to 11-0.

The AFC’s Indianapolis Colts, who rallied past New England 35-34 two weeks ago, also are perfect through 11 games. It’s the first time in NFL history two teams have started the season 11-0, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

BOX SCORE: Saints 38, Patriots 17

“It only counts as one win on the stat sheet. Emotionally, these types of wins can mean a bit more,” Brees said. “Any time you can go against a team like that and you can win and win like we did, it builds confidence for you.”

New England is the only NFL team to fashion a 16-0 record, accomplishing that two seasons ago before eventually stumbling against the New York Giants 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII.

These Patriots, still led by quarterback Tom Brady, could not match New Orleans’ aerial firepower. Brees finished 18-for-23 for a season-high 371 yards. He was not picked off. He set a club record by averaging 16.1 yards per completion.

With Colston (121 receiving yards) and Henderson (116) both breaking the century mark, the Saints amassed 480 yards in total offense.

“It was great to see him reeling off passes and reeling off completions,” said Saints middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma. “At the end of the day, that’s the best defense, keeping Tom Brady off the field.”

New England slipped to 7-4. “They were better than we were in every phase of the game. I don’t know how to put it any other way,” said coach Bill Belichick. “They were better coached. They played better on offense and defense.”

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