The Detroit Lions couldn’t continue the momentum from last week to defeat a beaten up New Orleans Saints game. After jumping out to a quick 14-0 lead, the Lions defense gave way and Detroit’s offense made too many mistakes to recover.
The Lions did make a valiant effort at a comeback, but in the end, their defense couldn’t get the one more stop they needed to give a chance at a fourth-quarter comeback. In the end, the Lions dropped 35-29 game to the Saints, leaving the team at a disappointing 1-3 record at the bye.
Here’s how it happened.
The Lions offense got off to an aggressive start. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevel called up six plays to just two running plays on the first drive, and it paid off. After finding a wide-open Danny Amendola for 50 yards, Matthew Stafford connected with D’Andre Swift for the opening score of the game.
The defense would give the ball right back to Stafford and company. Drew Brees’ first pass attempt was batted at the line and intercepted by Darryl Roberts.
Just three plays later, Stafford found Kenny Golladay for Detroit’s second touchdown in the first five minutes. 14-0 Lions.
But you knew the Saints weren’t going to go quietly. Brees and Saints responded with a huge 13-play, 75 yards drive. New Orleans converted on three third downs on the drive including the final third-and-goal play—a 3-yard rush by Latavius Murray. 14-7 Lions.
The Lions offense couldn’t keep the momentum going. Though they were able to drive near midfield, Stafford was sacked on third-and-short by Cameron Jordan, ending the Lions’ drives.
New Orleans struck back. After driving to midfield, Drew Brees took a devastating sack. But a huge fourth-down conversion on a 29-yard strike to Alvin Kamara got the Saints into the red zone.
A few players later, the Saints punched it in with Kamara and tied it up. 14-14 tie.
The Lions were looking to strike back. A huge play from Jesse James picked up 31 yards on the first play of the drive got Detroit into Saints territory. A New Orleans pass interference penalty got Stafford into the red zone, but the Lions quarterback made a huge error on the subsequent first down. Driven out of the pocket, Stafford threw a ball way short of T.J. Hockenson in the end zone and it was picked off by Patrick Robinson.
The Saints offense, again, proved too potent for the Lions to stop. A nine-play, 80-yard drive put the Saints ahead with just over three minutes left. Kamara proved especially unstoppable for Detroit, as the Saints running back rushed for 12, 10 and 6 yards on back-to-back-to-back carries. Brees found Tre’Quan Smith for the 2-yard score to cap the drive. 21-14 Saints.
Detroit’s offense went back to some old habits with the dreaded run-run-pass, which predictably resulted in a three-and-out for the Lions offense. After a solid punt return, that left 1:43 for the Saints to add to their lead before halftime. With the shortened field, it took Brees just a minute to go down field and score a touchdown on their fourth straight drive. 28-14 Saints.
The Lions would drive to midfield, but couldn’t get any further, and the Lions would head to the second half down 14 points after jumping to a 14-point lead.
Detroit’s defense didn’t look any better to open up the second half. The Saints went 10 plays for 75 yards to extend their lead to 21 points and the route was on. 35-14 Saints.
The Lions offense finally got back on track. A 32-yard pass interference penalty on New Orleans set the Lions up in the red zone. Stafford found Hockenson for a 1-yard touchdown, bringing the Lions back within two possessions. 35-21 Saints.
But the Saints offense proved to be unstoppable, as New Orleans drove with little resistance as the game rolled over into the final quarter.
Detroit defense would finally force its first punt of the game, giving the Lions a little hope. With 13 minutes left in the game, the Lions needed a score starting from their own 1-yard line. They were able to move the ball out of their own end zone, but not that much more. Detroit punted on a fourth-and-13 from their own 23-yard line.
After another nice punt from Jack Fox, the Lions successfully swapped the field position. A three-and-out from New Orleans plus a shanked punt gave Detroit a fighting chance at the Saints’ 43-yard still with 8:01 left.
The Lions had to convert two fourth downs, but they did, including Adrian Peterson’s 5-yard touchdown run to bring it within a single possession. The Lions made a bold decision to go for two, and Hockenson pulled in a heck of a catch to make it a six-point game. 35-29 Saints.
Unfortunately, the Lions defense just couldn’t get the defensive stop they needed. The Saints picked up two first downs and ran out the rest of the clock, dropping the Lions to 1-3 at the bye week.