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Stafford and the Detroit Lions Could Not Keep Up with the New Orleans Saints

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 07:  Jimmy Graham #80 of the New Orleans Saints lunges towards the goal line on his way to scoring a touchdown in the third quarter against Amari Spievey #42 of the Detroit Lions during their 2012 NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 7, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Hugo OlguinContributor IIINovember 12, 2014

After ending a postseason drought that dates back to 1999, the Detroit Lions are already out of the 2012 NFL playoffs.

The Lions could not keep up with the New Orleans Saints and the high-powered offense led by Drew Brees, losing 45-28 on Saturday night.

The Lions played a decent first half, keeping up with New Orleans and leading for a good part of the first half.  Then Brees and the Saints offense starting getting in sync and scored touchdown after touchdown.

Detroit could not capitalize on two rare Saints mistakes.  Both Marques Colston and Drew Brees fumbled the ball and the Lions offense could score any points off of those turnovers.

While trying to keep up with the Saints, Matthew Stafford and the Lions just fell apart in the second half and could not do anything get back into the game.  

The Lions defense looked helpless at times with Brees throwing 466 yards and three touchdowns.  That was not all. 

The Saints running game did a great job to confuse the Lions defense and their defensive line. The Saints rushed for 167 yards split up between Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles and Chris Ivory.

Pierre Thomas was a big part of the Saints' success.  He kept making play after play to keep drives alive.

The Lions defense kept losing tackles and it hurt them badly.  Thomas keep bouncing off of the Lions' defenders and it opened things up for the rest of the offense.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 07:  Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions dives for the touchdown against Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints during their 2012 NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 7, 2012 in New Orleans, Lou
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

What made things worse for the Lions was the fact that the Saints went for it on fourth down four times and succeeded three times.  

Those fourth downs kept the Saints from punting the ball and keeping their powerhouse offense going and scoring at will.

By the end of the game, the Lions were leaving wide receivers wide open for Brees to throw touchdowns too.

Meanwhile, Matthew Stafford had a hard time in the second half and just collapsed under the pressure of the Saints' constant scoring.  

Stafford threw for 380 yards, three touchdowns, but two costly interceptions.

Lions receiver Calvin Johnson did everything he could to keep the Lions in the game.  He caught 12 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns.

He made great catches and fought for every yard he could.  

What also hurt the Lions was the fact that they have no running game.  The Lions offense could not move the ball at all on the ground.  

I understand Jahvid Best is injured, but the Lions need a power rusher in the rotation next season, especially to help in the red zone. 

Starting running back Kevin Smith rushed for only 21 yards in the game.  

The Lions could have used a running game for ball control and to keep Drew Brees and the Saints offense off of the field.

I give credit to the Lions for fighting as hard as they did.  They have made progress under Jim Schwartz, but it was clear that the Detroit Lions have more work to do.

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