Finding Breshad Perriman deep over the middle for a 50-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter on Monday night, Jets quarterback Joe Flacco didn't just give New York an early lead, he made NFL history.
That touchdown pass pushed the veteran quarterback up into 20th place on the all-time passing yards list, passing Hall of Famer Joe Montana.
Finishing the game with 262 yards, Flacco now has 40,726 yards halfway through his 13th season in the NFL. Montana, across 15 seasons, now ranks 21st on the all-time list with 40,551 yards.
Asked about the achievement in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Flacco wasn't just honored, he revealed why passing Montana meant even more.
"It is kind of crazy anytime Joe Montana comes up. I always viewed him as my favorite quarterback," Flacco said. "Look, I'm 35 years old and I still look at myself as a 15-year-old kid, maybe even younger, that just grew up watching football, playing football and now all of a sudden you get to do things like that."
Born in 1985, Flacco was certainly younger than 15 when Montana was in his prime with the San Francisco 49ers. Nonetheless, looking up to the four-time Super Bowl winner as his football career began, Flacco has now passed one of his idols.
If Jets starting quarterback Sam Darnold continues to miss time due to injury, Flacco could potentially leapfrog another big name this season. He needs just 197 more yards to pass Kerry Collins.
Flacco has averaged 164.8 yards per game this season in four appearances and three starts. In his career, over 175 games since his debut in 2008, he averages 232.7 yards per game.
Remarkably, Flacco is one of eight active quarterbacks currently jockeying for position in the top 20 on the all-time yards list. On Thursday night, Phillip Rivers passed Dan Marino and is now ranked 5th while Drew Brees continues to distance himself from the rest of the pack in the top spot.