Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Saints overwhelm Lions

Lions safety Amari Spievey can’t prevent Saints tight end Jimmy Graham from reaching over the goal line in the third.

Associated Press

Lions safety Amari Spievey can’t prevent Saints tight end Jimmy Graham from reaching over the goal line in the third.

NEW ORLEANS — Drew Brees threw for 466 yards and three touchdowns to help the Saints beat the Lions 45-28 in Saturday's wild-card game at the Superdome.

The Lions hardly looked like a playoff neophyte, however.

Matthew Stafford threw for a pair of touchdowns to stake the Lions to a 14-10 halftime lead in their first postseason appearance since 1999.

Then when Brees and the Saints appeared on the verge of blowing the game open, Stafford hit Calvin Johnson three times, including a 42-yarder, before running it himself on a 1-yard bootleg to keep Detroit in the game.

Johnson finished with 12 catches for 211 yards.

Stafford's final touchdown, a 12-yarder to Johnson, cut it to 38-28 with 4:40 left. But New Orleans went right down the field, capped by Pierre Thomas' 1-yard run with 3:36 left.

The Saints, rolling into the postseason on an eight-game win streak, took their first lead of the night on Brees' 41-yard pass to Devery Henderson early in the second half. Then the record-setting quarterback completed 7 of 8 passes for 94 yards on another scoring drive, which he kept going by leaping over the line for a first down when New Orleans went for it on fourth and inches from its 38.

Three plays later, Brees, who completed 33 of 43 passes, hit Marques Colston for 40 yards quickly followed by a 3-yard scoring pass to Jimmy Graham.

Stafford went to tight end Will Heller for a 10-yard touchdown on Detroit's opening possession then connected with Johnson on a 13-yard score. Darren Sproles tied the score at 7 early in the second quarter with a 2-yard run.

New Orleans' high-powered offense, which lost an NFL-low five fumbles during the regular season, coughed it up twice during the first half.

Colston was stripped of the ball at the Detroit 13 on the Saints' first possession. Brees later had the ball knocked away just before his right arm went forward trying to get off a pass.

The Saints caught a break on Brees' fumble. An inadvertent whistle halted the play, costing linebacker Justin Durant a chance to take off with a clear path to the end zone. The Lions failed to move the ball after both turnovers.


Saints overwhelm Lions 01/07/12 [Last modified: Friday, January 13, 2012 10:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa lands Super Bowl in 2021


    NFL owners have voted unanimously to move Super Bowl LV to Tampa in Feb. 2021. This will be the fifth time Tampa has hosted and the first time since 2009.

    Mike Tomlin celebrates with LaMarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu after the Steelers beat the Cardinals in 

Super Bowl XLIII  on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. [Times files (2009)
  2. Why Ryan Fitzpatrick may solve the puzzle for Bucs at backup quarterback


    Ryan Fitzpatrick will have to leave One Buc Place following Thursday’s off-season workout and fly home to New Jersey in time to teach a class of 10 second and third grade students how to solve the Rubiks Cube.

  3. For starters: Rays vs. Angels, with Cobb leading the way


    Rays veteran RHP Alex Cobb had a lot to say Monday about the team needing to focus on getting past .500 and building a winning record.

    And after the disappointing 3-2 loss that …

    Alex Cobb will start tonight when the Rays play the Angels.
  4. Family a driving force for University of Tampa pitcher David Lebron


    TAMPA — For University of Tampa junior pitcher David Lebron, baseball reminds him of family. He uses it to help honor the memory of his father, who taught him the game. One day, he hopes his career can help support his mother and allow her to rest.

    University of Tampa junior pitcher David Lebron (Courtesy of University of Tampa)
  5. L.A. delay could re-open Super Bowl chance for Tampa in 2021


    Construction delays on the NFL's new stadium in Los Angeles mean the Rams and Chargers won't be playing there until 2020, a year later than expected, and the ripple effect could give Tampa another …

    Tampa and Raymond James Stadium last hosted a Super Bowl in 2009, when the Pittsburgh Steelers edged the Arizona Cardinals.