The young Detroit Lions came out hot early, scoring a touchdown on the first drive, and then getting a fumble from Marques Colston that ended the first Saints drive. Drew Brees also fumbled in the second half on a play where his arm was hit before coming forward, and the Lions recovered and were starting to run back what looked like a potential defensive touchdown. The officials blew it dead for an incomplete pass, but then ruled it a fumble. The Lions could not score, and the story of the first half was Detroit not putting up enough points with the opportunities they were given.
Detroit led 14-10 at the half, but the second half belonged to the Saints offense and Drew Brees, and the Lions had no answer. New Orleans went 5 for 5 on touchdown drives. The Lions couldn’t stop Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles running it, and Thomas continually broke tackles and got extra yards. When the linebackers didn’t get deep enough trying to help stop the run, though, Brees carved them up over the top. Coach Sean Payton also knew he was in a shootout, and did not play it conservatively. New Orleans went for fourth down three times, converting all three, including a 4th and inches in his own territory, and a 4th and 2 just past midfield to extend drives.
New Orleans finished with over 600 yards of total offense, Drew Brees passed for 466 yards and 3 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Calvin Johnson had a beast game in defeat, and maybe Cris Carter will now recognize that he is the best receiver in the game–12 catches for 211 yards and 2 touchdowns. New Orleans takes their high powered offense to San Francisco next, in a battle of unstoppable force against the 49ers’ immovable rush defense and stout front 7. Expect the Saints to open as a road favorite in the Divisional Round.
[photo via Getty]