Two deep drives by the New Orleans Saints into New York Jets territory in the second half -- either of which would have put the game away -- ended when wide receiver Brandon Coleman was stripped of the football by hard hits inside the Jets' 20-yard line.
The next time Brees got the ball with 12:22 left in the game, it was all Michael Thomas, all the time.
The second-year receiver from Ohio State caught four passes for 50 yards on the decisive 64-yard touchdown march that gave the Saints all the points they needed in a 31-19 victory on Sunday.
Thomas has been on an incredible two-year run. In his 2016 rookie season, he caught 92 passes for 1,137 yards, and he has followed that up with an even better 2017 -- 94 catches for 1,086 yards with two games remaining.
Only six other NFL receivers have surpassed 1,000 yards receiving in their first two seasons: Randy Moss (six consecutive seasons), A.J. Green (five), Odell Beckham Jr. (three), Michael Evans (three), John Jefferson (three) and Amari Cooper (two).
With his nine catches yesterday, Thomas joined Beckham as the only players in NFL history to record at least 90 catches in their first two seasons.
Thomas showed his athleticism in the fourth quarter, outleaping Jets safety Jamal Adams to haul in a 20-yard completion in the decisive touchdown drive. Brees simply threw the ball to a high spot and Thomas went up and grabbed it.
"I love it," Thomas said.
The only negative Sunday was a 32-yard catch that initially was called a touchdown but reversed when replay showed that Thomas did not get his second foot inbounds.
"I'm trying to get out of here as fast as I can to forget about it," Thomas said. "I am ready to move on to Atlanta (Sunday's game against the Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome). You want to score and put points on the board."
Thomas needs just 18 yards receiving in the final two games to surpass Marques Colston's all-time Saints' record of 2,240 yards receiving in his first two seasons.
Brees said Thomas deserves Pro Bowl recognition.
"I certainly feel Mike Thomas deserves (it)," Brees said. "(We know) where he stands among some of the league's best receivers. He's had really two very good years thus far, and he continues to get better and better. He's a guy that wants to learn and wants to be put in as many positions as possible to help this team make plays. He envisions himself as that type of player.
"What's fun for me is coming to work every day with a guy like that, who approached each and every practice like it was a game. His attention to detail and his focus and his intensity, there is no walkthrough for Mike. He's full go -- Where do I need to be? When do I need to be there? When are you expecting me to be there? I love that attitude."