American Football: Brees blows flying Saints to a ninth straight win

 

Drew Brees was at his imperious best on Saturday night as he
threw three touchdown passes to lead his New Orleans Saints to a
45-28 victory over the Detroit Lions in the NFL wild-card match
which sets up a meeting with the San Francisco 49ers next
weekend.

The Saints, Super Bowl champions two years ago, raced into the post-season as the NFL's hottest team and rode that momentum to a ninth straight win to set up a divisional showdown against the 49ers on Saturday.

"I feel like our offense, our team, is built for whatever conditions," Brees said. "We play indoors here but we feel we're the type of team that should be able to go anywhere, any time and play the type of football we know how to play. We scored on every drive in the second half. I guess that's what you hope for."

Only four quarterbacks have passed for over 5,000 yards in a single NFL season and two of them, Brees and Lions' Matthew Stafford, were on the field in New Orleans, promising a night of offensive fireworks at the Louisiana Superdome. As usual, it was Brees at the controls of the NFL's top offense, providing most of the pyrotechnics as the Saints attack piled up a post-season record of 626 total yards.

Brees, who set the new single season passing mark, zeroed in on some play-off records, completing 33 of 43 passes for 466 yards, the second most in the NFL post-season behind Bernie Kosar's 489 with the Cleveland Browns.

After a slow start, the Saints were unstoppable in the second half, when Brees had all his touchdown passes, including a 56-yarder to Robert Meachem and a 41-yard strike to Devery Henderson, as New Orleans outscored Detroit 35-14 over the final two quarters.

Jimmy Graham was also on the receiving end of a Brees touchdown pass while Darren Sproles ran for a pair of scores and Pierre Thomas added one late in the game.

"I thought the big plays in the second half really helped us," said the Saints coach, Sean Payton. "Us being able to come out to get those two [touchdowns] and we took the lead, it was really the tale of two halves. "I think Detroit played extremely well in the first half, forced some turnover, made enough big plays offensively and really had control of the game. But we were lucky enough to get that momentum back in the third quarter."

Stafford provided his share of thrills, completing 28 passes for 380 yards and three touchdowns, one to Will Heller and a pair to the NFL's leading receiver Calvin Johnson, who had 12 catches for 211 yards in his play-off debut.

The Lions pounced early, Stafford hitting Heller with a 10-yard touchdown strike to cap an opening 80-yard drive. In the second quarter, Brees had New Orleans' powerhouse attack back in gear, marching the Saints 89 yards with the diminutive Sproles scampering the final two yards. But Detroit, appearing in the play-offs for the first time since 1999, quickly regained control, and went into the intermission leading 14-10.

Brees came out gunning in the second half and despite Stafford engineering an 80-yard drive to restrict the gap to three going into the final quarter, the Lions ultimately had no answer to the explosive Saints' high-octane attack.

In Saturday's other game, the Houston Texans beat the Cincinnati Bengals 31-10. Last night, Eli Manning threw for three touchdowns as the New York Giants routed the Atlanta Falcons 24-2 in the NFC wild-card game.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Extras
indybest
News
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
education
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform