Detroit 38 New Orleans 21 The Lions came into the Superdome for what promised to be an exciting matchup between two of the top QBs in the league, but the beginning of the game certainly didn't live up to that billing. The Saints received the opening kickoff, and Brees threw two balls directly into defensive players' hands (neither of which were caught) for a quick 3-and-out. After receiving the punt with great field position, Stafford on the very first offensive play of the game threw his own ill-advised pass directly at a defender: intercepted. A few plays later, while marching downfield deep into Lions territory, Brees' pass was picked by CB Darius Slay and returned nearly 80 yards for the TD. At this point, both QBs calmed down and found their rhythm. The very first play after the kickoff, Brees answered with an out to Jimmy Graham that he took 82 yards for the score. Game tied 7-7 just minutes into the game after two gigantic 80 yard plays. Detroit answered with a long drive of their own, taking the 14-7 lead. But the 3-and-out that the Lions D forced on the Saints' first drive turned out to be the exception, not the rule: the Saints had some running success early and answered with their own TD drive, finding Marques Colston to tie the game up at 14 all as the 2nd quarter was just beginning. Brees would connect on 10 of his first 13 passes, including 2 TDs. The Lions offense was in full swing in the second quarter, as well, putting together a balanced drive to go up 21-14. As the first half was ending, they got the ball back with about 2 minutes left and marched downfield to the ~30 yard line, threatening to go up two scores--but the Saints D-line took over and logged back to back sacks on Stafford, knocking them out of FG range and forcing a punt as the first half wound down--but not before the Saints in a final 10 seconds attempt to score nearly threw another INT on their own 15 yard line. The 3rd quarter saw the run game start to click, spreading carries between Joique Bell, Ronnie Hillman, Denard Robinson & rookie Marion Hardy. As a group they rushed 32 times for 120 yards on the day. The Lions extended their lead to 28-14, but the Saints would not go out easy. Eddie Royal took the ensuing kickoff back 101 yards for the TD, keeping it a one score game. Following an INT by CB Adam Jones, the Lions were able to once again extend the lead as Stafford threw his 4th TD (to four different receivers) to make the score 35-21. This time they wouldn't relinquish the lead, as the Lions pass D was able to sit back in coverage and thwart Brees & Graham for the first time all game: Graham accounted for a whopping 152 of Brees' 201 passing yards. GG Raunchy. Much closer than the final score, was neck & neck through 3 quarters. It was kinda funny having two offenses using the same playbook going at it.