The New Orleans Saints defeated the Detroit Lions 45-28 in Saturday’s NFC Wildcard game. Coach Sean Payton was asked before the game what it would take to win tonight; Payton’s response: “We don’t need to do anything different than what we’ve been doing to get to this point.” Payton could not have been more right, as the Saints picked up right where they left off in the regular season as their offense was on fire yet again. Despite 2 fumbles in the game the Saints were able to recover and destroy the Lions as they went for 626 yards of total offense, an NFL postseason record.
Drew Brees threw for 466 yards and 3 touchdowns and the Saints did what they have been doing all season, lighting up the score board. Brees and the Saints made big play after big play and their potent offense proved to be too much for the Lions, who were making their first playoff appearance since 1999. Matthew Stafford’s big game was overshadowed by Brees’s monster of a game and costly interceptions down the stretch; but Stafford managed to throw for an impressive 380 yards with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Also, pro-bowl receiver Calvin Johnson gave the Saints’ defense all they could handle as he went for 211 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns on 12 receptions. The Lions were keeping the game close in the first half and even managed a 14-10 lead at halftime, but the second half belonged to Brees and the Saints.
In the Saints’ opening drive of the second half they scored a 41 yard touchdown pass from Brees to wide receiver Devery Henderson. The opening drive would prove to be definitive for the rest of the game as the Saints scored an astounding 35 points in the second half. The Saints also got key contributions from all three of their running backs, Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas, and Chris Ivory, and the Saints rushed for 167 yards with 3 rushing touchdowns.
The Saints will play the San Francisco 49ers next Saturday in the NFC Divisional game and it will prove to be a tough test for the Saints. The 49ers are arguably the best defensive team in the NFC, but if the Saints’ play like they did tonight then perhaps the Saints’ offense can prevail against the 49ers defense.