New Orleans 45, Detroit 28
When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, January 7, 2012
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Drew Brees directed five consecutive second-half scoring drives as the New Orleans Saints pulled away for a 45-28 victory over the visiting Detroit Lions in an NFC wild card game Saturday night.
Brees finished with 466 yards and threw all three of his touchdown passes in the second half as New Orleans erased a 14-10 halftime deficit to set up a divisional-round matchup at San Francisco next weekend.
Darren Sproles ran for a pair of touchdowns as the Saints (14-3) piled up a postseason-record 626 yards of total offense to win their ninth consecutive game and improve to 9-0 at home this season.
New Orleans needed a special performance from Brees and Co. to hold off the upstart Lions (10-7), who got brilliant efforts from wide receiver Calvin Johnson and Matt Stafford in the team's first postseason appearance since 1999.
Johnson hauled in 12 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns, becoming the sixth receiver in league history to eclipse 200 yards in the playoffs.
Stafford completed 28 of 43 passes for 380 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions, but the Lions were unable to keep up with the high-powered Saints, who converted all three fourth-down chances in the game.
Jabari Greer had a pair of fourth-quarter interceptions to help New Orleans snuff out Detroit's last-gasp comeback bid. Detroit also lost at New Orleans 31-17 on Dec. 4.
The game was expected to be a track meet in the first postseason game in NFL history featuring opposing quarterbacks who have each thrown for more than 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns during the regular season.
Brees, who snapped Dan Marino's single-season record with 5,476 yards this season, had his eighth straight game with at least 300 yards passing. He has 28 TD passes and three interceptions in that stretch.
Stafford held up his end of the quarterback duel with Brees in the first half, leading touchdown drives of 80 and 87 yards.
He threw a 10-yard scoring pass to Will Heller on the opening possession of the game and connected with Johnson from 13 yards out with 9:11 to go in the second quarter for a 14-7 lead.
New Orleans got a 24-yard field goal by John Kasay on the last play of the first half and went into the locker room trailing 14-10.
The Saints, who fumbled only six times all season - a league record - lost two in the first half but never punted in the game.
Top Game Performances
Team Stats Summary
New Orleans will play their next game on the road against San Francisco.
The Saints have a W/L % of .000 after a win and .000 after a loss.