The Detroit Lions started the fourth quarter trailing by a field goal, but the New Orleans Saints quickly turned that into a two-score deficit, as Darren Sproles took the ball up the middle for a 17-yard touchdown run just a couple minutes into the quarter. Desperate to come back, Matthew Stafford tried to go deep to Titus Young on first down, but was intercepted by Jabari Greer, ending that drive.
Drew Brees then went on to hit Robert Meachem for a 56-yard touchdown and the game was out of reach for the Lions, regardless of an immediate response touchdown to Calvin Johnson. The final score would end up 45-28 in favor of the Saints, and that has all to do with how insane that offense is.
Brees threw for 466 yards with three touchdowns. Pierre Thomas only rushed for 66 yards, but there were multiple points in which he looked down, but still fought for the extra yards. Overall, the Saints rushed for 170 yards, with Darren Sproles and Chris Ivory both notching 45+. The Saints went for, and converted three fourth-down attempts and didn't punt the football once.
Detroit's offense didn't play poorly, with Stafford throwing for 380 yards and three touchdowns, but also had two picks. One of them was in garbage time, but the first was infinitely costly. The Lions only ran for 32 yards.
Many folks said that this game would come down to which team got a big turnover on defense. The Lions got two of them, but were hurt on the second, a fumble forced by Willie Young, when the referee blew the whistle far too early and negated what probably would have been a touchdown and a significant Detroit lead. It was an offensive shootout, as everyone expected it would be, but those calls and a costly turnover late in the game were enough to tip it in New Orleans' favor.
Detroit loses its first playoff game after a long drought of no appearances. The Saints will now go to Candlestick Park to take on the San Francisco 49ers on Jan. 14