Joe Flacco Passes Joe Montana Record in Jets Loss Against Patriots

Even in a year when the unconceivable has seemingly become routine, the prospect of Joe Flacco overtaking Joe Montana in the NFL's all-time passing yards leaderboard seems incomprehensible.

And yet, that's exactly what happened on Monday night, when the New York Jets back-up quarterback surpassed the Hall of Famer's tally of 40,551 career passing yards to move into the top-20 for the most passing yards in NFL history.

Flacco's 50-yard completion to Breshad Perriman in the first quarter of the Jets' 30-27 loss against the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football catapulted him past Montana, a remarkable achievement for a player who has divided opinions throughout his 13 seasons in the league.

Flacco was named Super Bowl XLVII MVP after leading the Baltimore Ravens to their second Super Bowl title, but he is unlikely to ever be compared to Montana, a four-time Super Bowl champion, eight-time Pro Bowler and two-time league MVP.

Flacco ranks eighth among the active quarterbacks on the list of all-time passing yards along with Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford.

The fact all eight feature in the top-20 in the all-time list speaks volumes for how the NFL has shifted from a run-heavy approach to be a lot more pass-oriented over the last two decades.

At the same time, being a proficient passer doesn't necessarily translate into success and Flacco is one of just 10 of the quarterbacks in the all-time top-20 in terms of passing yards to have won a Super Bowl.

The 35-year-old rolled back the years as the Jets came tantalizingly close to their first win of the season only to lose to a walk-off field goal against the Patriots.

With Sam Darnold still dealing with a shoulder injury, Flacco made his third consecutive start and completed 18 of his 25 passes for 262 touchdowns, three touchdowns and one interception for a 128.7 passer rating.

With his three touchdown passes on Monday night, the 18th overall pick of the 2008 draft became only the second player after Peyton Manning to throw three touchdown passes on four separate occasions against the Patriots in the regular season and playoffs combined.

The Jets had scored more than 20 points just once this season until Monday night, but Flacco appeared to finally inject some life into his team's moribund offense.

The veteran quarterback threw two touchdown passes in the first half as the Jets took a 20-10 lead at halftime and entered the final period ahead 27-17. Through the first three quarters, Flacco had completed 17 of 22 passes for 254 passing yards and three passing touchdowns, for an almost perfect 154.2 passer rating.

To put his impact into context, the Jets last had more than one passing touchdown in the same game in a loss to the Ravens in Week 15 of last season, while two of Flacco's touchdown passes came in the first half alone.

Ultimately it was all in vain, however, as the Patriots erased a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter and snapped a four-game losing streak thanks to Nick Folk's 51-yard field goal at the siren to improve to 3-5, while the Jets slumped to 0-9.

Joe Flacco, New York Jets
Joe Flacco #5 of the New York Jets throws a pass during the first half against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium on November 9 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Elsa/Getty