- Associated Press - Sunday, January 8, 2012

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints picked up right where they left off in the regular season: piling up points and yards in record-breaking fashion.

Brees threw for 466 yards and three touchdowns, and New Orleans used a strong second half to roll to a 45-28 NFC wild-card victory over the Detroit Lions on Saturday night. It marked the third straight game the Saints scored 45 points.

New Orleans broke the postseason mark for total yards with 626, beating the record set 49 years ago.

“We were pulling out all the stops,” Brees said. “We play aggressive. We’re not going to apologize for that. That gives guys in the huddle a lot of confidence. We’re not going to pull the reins back. It’s pedal to the medal.”

Earlier Saturday, the Houston Texans posted the first postseason win in franchise history _ in their first playoff game _ by routing the Cincinnati Bengals 31-10.

Next up: the Baltimore Ravens.

“This team believes,” running back Arian Foster said. “I’ve never been around a team like this before. We don’t need anyone else to believe.”

In Sunday’s two matchups, Atlanta (10-6) is at the New York Giants (9-7), and Pittsburgh (12-4) is at Denver (8-8).

At New Orleans, Brees was 33 of 43 while throwing for the most yards in a regulation playoff game.

“We just focus on winning. We’re not focused on yards and records,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “I’m serious when I say that.”

Brees 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, as the teams combined for 1,038 yards, tying an NFL playoff record set by Buffalo and Miami on Dec. 30, 1995.

At Houston, rookie J.J. Watt returned the first of rookie Andy Dalton’s three interceptions 29 yards for a score that broke a 10-all tie with 52 seconds left in the half.

As the game’s final seconds ticked away, Houston coach Gary Kubiak walked down the sideline, a broad smile on his face, and smacked hands with players and assistant coaches.

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