The New Orleans Saints started the second quarter in the red zone, and Darren Sproles was able to score from a few yards out on third down to tie the NFC Wild Card game at 7-7. That gave the Detroit Lions the ball near the beginning of the quarter, trying to pull back ahead. Matthew Stafford hit Calvin Johnson on first down for an 18-yard gain, but faced a third down following that. Stafford converted through the air again though, hitting tight end Tony Scheffler for seven yards.
At the 44-yard line, it was Kevin Smith who got the carry, and he took it across midfield for nine yards and a 2nd and 1 was up next. Stafford did a quick dropback, and hit Nate Burleson over his back shoulder for the first down and then some, picking up 21 yards and taking the ball close to the red zone. From the shotgun on firs down, Stafford threw deep, at ... basically nobody. But the Lions kept it up, and eventually, Stafford hit Johnson with a beautiful pass and beautiful catch for 13-yard touchdown and a 14-7 Lions lead.
But the Saints came back, once again, and started driving. Brees eventually hit Pierre Thomas for a short pass that, once again, Thomas took for far more yardage than he had any business doing, getting the Saints into Lions territory. But on the 37-yard line, Brees dropped back, cocked a throw, and was immediately hit by Willie Young, who forced the fumble. Detroit recovered once again, and an over-zealous referee blew the whistle far too early. It almost definitely would have been a touchdown for Detroit if the referee hadn't blown the whistle.
Naturally, the Lions were unable to take advantage of the situation, and instead of 21-7, we have 14-7 after a quick three-and-out. So the Saints took over again, and started to drive down the field. Eventually, they lined up at 3rd and 1 on the 36-yard line, and Detroit gets pressure, forcing a Brees incompletion. But the Saints quickly line up on fourth down, and Chris Ivory runs it, picking up the yard they needed and keeping the drive going with a minute to go. They kept driving, and ended up at the Detroit 17-yard line, calling their final timeout with 21 seconds left and a first down.
Brees then hit Colston for a touchdown in the back of the endzone, but it's clear he didn't complete the process of the catch, so it was waved off. But there's a facemask penalty on the play, so New Orleans gets the ball with a first and goal at the six-yard line with 16 seconds to go. Detroit holds them until there's four seconds on the clock, so the Saints kick the field go and trail 14-10 at the half.
Here's a video of the Calvin Johnson touchdown.
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