This has to be the greatest QB matchup in playoff history, doesn't it? Any other one in which the QB's combined to throw for 10,514 yards and 87 TDs in the regular season? Don't think so...
Remember last Sunday how everybody said they wouldn't be able to throw the ball at Green Bay because of the high winds and all we would up with was the HIGHEST PASSING YARDAGE game in NFL HISTORY? That's what I think of predictions...
8:20 Lions go 80 in 8 to lead 7-0, 4:02 in. TD is 10y Matthew Stafford pass to Will Heller as Stafford is 5/6 for 70y on drive. Big plays were 22y pass to Calvin Johnson on second play of game and 15y pass to Titus Young on 3rd and 7 after Lions got one of those dumb Too Many Men in the Huddle penalties. Oddity: Lions leading rusher right now is Young (8y
Saints were cruising right down the field, but they fumbled inside the Detroit 20 and the Lions get it back and that is exactly how you pull off an upset. New Orleans had driven from own 19 to Det 18 in only 5 plays when Marques Colston fumbled and Detroit's Justin Durant recovered. 7-0, Det midway through the first. It would be huge if the Lions could get points off the TO and put the Saints in a hole early. A bigger hole, that is.
OT, but as I watch the Wings out of the corner of my eye, does anyone have a reason for them being 15-2-1 (.861) at home and 10-11-0 (.477) on the road? Neither do I. Wings down 3-2 in Toronto late second, but were down 0-3 when period began. Lions drive to midfield, punt. Still up 7-0 in New Orleans...
8:45 QTR ends as Saints drive from their own 11 to the Det 11 in 8 plays. The biggest play was an 11y Pierre Thomas screen pass that was good for 11 and and first. He totally juked Lions CB Eric Wright. S Louis Delmas was the fakeout victim on a 31y Thomas run moments later. 7-0 Det, going second.
8:50 Tie game. Saints go 89 in 11 (surprisingly enough, 56 of the 89 yards on the drive came on the ground) and tie Lions 7-7 just :59 into second quarter.
9:00 The drive is 87 in 9 and the Lions lead again on 13y Stafford to Johnson TD toss. Up and down the field they go with 9:11 left in the half! Det 14, NO 7. Seven of the nine plays in the drive were passes with Stafford 6/7 for 73 yards.
OT (again) The Wings have just come back from 0-3 down to tie Leafs 3-3 in Toronto in 3rd with 15:30 left in reg.
9:10 Anybody else wondering why they blew the play dead on that Brees fumble? Because it looked to me like the Lions might have scored on the play, for crying out loud.
An official, thinking the play was an incomplete pass instead of a fumble, blew his whistle and ended the play in which Brees fumbled. That makes this the second week in a row in which incompetent officialing (not a word, btw but I've decided to write the story the way they call the game) has cost Detroit aTD.
9:29 That was no catch, right? Didn't the ball juggle around a bit when he hit. Isn't that "Process of the Catch" stuff?.
9:36 Good first half. Real good. Better than I expected to be honest with you as I thought if GB's second stringer could light up the Lions Brees just might be able to do the same. But, Stafford (180) has more pass y in half than Brees (174). Det 14, NO 10 at the half. Time to break for all-important halftime snackage. Wish I was at Ford Field since they always have something nice for us at halftime but then again, I would be able to be in a t-shirt like I am now. Red Wings lose 4-3 in Tor, fall to 10-12 on the road.
9:52 Brees finally hits a big one, a 41y TD pass as Saints go 78 in 4 to take 17-14 lead 1:51 into 3rd. Can Stafford answer?
10:02 Uh, not a first down there on that third and long from the NO 7.... Refs get the Lions again.
10:08 Anybody remember the Lions opener at GB about 15 years ago when Scott Mitchell lept and thrust the football forward to get a first down on Dets first possession of the season and had the ball swatted out of his hands and returned for a Packer TD? Could have happened to Brees right there, but it's a NO first down instead.
10:10 Saints TD drive is 92 in 13 with the bad spot on the 3rd and 7 from the 7 and the Brees 4th-and-inches reach-across the big plays and now the Lions, trailing 24-14 with 4:03 left in 3rd, have to respond.
10:25 For those of you scoring at home, that is first rush TD by Stafford this season. Det TD drive is 80 in 8. Stafford 4/6 for 79 on the drive. Det back in game, down 24-21 with 0:26 left in third.
NO is 7-10 on 3rd down but that's misleading because on two of the misses they came back to convert on 4th down (2-2 on 4th down converts) and on the other they kicked that field goal on last play of first half.
10:43 If you can't get 'em off the field, eventually--by definition--they score. Darren Sproles runs it in from 17 to complete a 14 play, 80y Saints drive. Now it's 31-21, NO and now there's 9:53, that's all, left.
10:48 A pick. Damn. A pick. Stafford, having a typically great night until this very moment, puts it up for grabs and it's intercepted and it's the first TO by DET tonight and it's a killer. Unless the defense can get 'em off the field and off the field in a hurry. Under nine to play.
10:52 Good night, everybody. Brees ends it with a 56y pass to Robert Meachum and it's 38-21 ballgame with 7:29 left and I don't think the Lions can make the deficit up in that amount of time. Brees has thrown for 425 tonight and 3 TDs..
10:29 Is anybody else streaming this game? Who is that singing that annoying "I want to be a billionaire song" and can you make her stop?
10:59 Way to not give up. Stafford now at 367 pass y and 3 TD as he hits Johnson in the end zone to make it 38-28, Saints with 4:40 left. Kick or on-side kick?
11:08 616 yards of offense for NO is a new NFL postseason record and they didn't have to punt once. Not once. That's the story, isn't it? 4 plays is all it takes them to put it in the end zone again after the failed on-sides kick. 45-28 with 3:13 to play.
11:11 Correction: NFL website says NO had 618y of offense after that last TD, not the 616 I said. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have cause. A desperate Stafford is picked again and the Death Watch is underway.
11:20 I am not, by rule (No Cheering in the Press Box), allowed to root for the Lions, but I feel badly for the guys and for the members of the staff who helped me so much in covering them this year. I remember being on the sidelines at RFK the night they got blown out in the '92 NFC title game and a remember being sad for the players then, too. I hope they will quickly realize that they had one hell of a fine year. And wait until you get a load of that LeShoure kid out of Illinois next season. Detroit's leading rusher had 28 yards tonight. That won't happen with him in the lineup. Final: New Orleans 45, Detroit 28. Thanks for reading!