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Drew Brees, Saints soar past Lions for 45-28 victory
Brees led an unstoppable offense by throwing for 466 yards and three touchdowns, and New Orleans poured it on in the second half for a 45-28 NFC wild-card victory over the Detroit Lions on Saturday night.
New Orleans broke the postseason mark for total yards with 626, beating the record set 49 years ago.
Brees hit on 33 of 43 passes while throwing for the most yards in a regulation playoff game. He highlighted his night with three completions of at least 40 yards.
As usual, the quarterback had plenty of help from an offense that set an NFL record for yards from scrimmage this season (7,474). The Saints (14-3) will travel to San Francisco (13-3) for next Saturday’s second-round game.
Matthew Stafford threw for 380 yards and three TDs for the Lions (10-7), who simply could not keep pace in their first playoff appearance since the 1999 season. They have lost seven straight postseason games.
All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson had 12 receptions for 211 yards and two touchdowns in his playoff debut for Detroit, but that was not nearly enough as the Saints’ defense responded in the fourth quarter with two interceptions by Jabari Greer.
The teams combined for 1,083 yards, tying an NFL playoff record set by Buffalo and Miami on Dec. 30, 1995.
Pierre Thomas rushed for 66 yards and one touchdown, while Sproles added 51 yards, two scores and several other clutch plays.
New Orleans showed guts and got a little good fortune on a decisive 14-play, 80-yard scoring drive in the fourth quarter. The Saints ran Sproles around left end on fourth-and-2 at the Lions 40 and gained 3 yards. Soon after, Brees‘ pass as he was clobbered by Nick Fairley went right through the hands of defensive back Aaron Berry.
Berry would regret that drop two plays later as Sproles bolted 17 yards to make it 31-21.
Stafford tried to get some of that back quickly, throwing deep for Titus Young, but Greer ran under it and picked it off. Four plays later, Brees spotted Meachem behind blown coverage for his long score to make it 38-21.
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
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