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Week 16 Game Recap: New Orleans Saints 42, Detroit Lions 7
What you need to know
|New Orleans Saints|
The story of this football game was how thoroughly the Saints' offense utterly dominated the hapless Detroit defense. New Orleans scored touchdowns on their first six possessions and never faced a fourth down. With 32 first downs and 532 yards of total offense, the Saints offense was so efficient, onlookers must have wondered if the University of Michigan defense would have fared any better. New Orleans had no trouble moving the ball through the air or on the ground. Drew Brees had plenty of time to throw the ball and was able to pick apart the Detroit secondary; Brees completed three fourths of his passes for 351 yards and two touchdowns.
The Saints netted 181 rushing yards and averaged six yards per run. Each of New Orleans' first four drives ended with rushing touchdowns by four different players. Robert Meacham got the scoring started with a 20 yard end around. Deuce McAllister chipped in his fifth touchdown of the season, Mike Bell ran strong for his first touchdown of the season, and Pierre Thomas tallied his sixth rushing touchdown (ninth total) in the last six games.
Marques Colston was the receiving star of the game with nine catches for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Both of Colston's touchdowns came in the third quarter.
New Orleans set a new franchise record and has now scored 53 touchdowns on the season.
The Lions are now the first team in the history of the NFL to lose their first 15 games; if they can't find a way to win next week at Green Bay, they will become the only team ever to go 0-16.
Detroit's offense did some things well. Kevin Smith had a strong game. Smith totaled 111 yards on 24 carries and scored the Lions' only touchdown. Smith ran hard and displayed a niftiness that was almost reminiscent of Barry Sanders. Unfortunately for Lions' fans, Smith could not carry the offense all by himself.
Dan Orlovsky made his sixth NFL start at quarterback and played better than his numbers suggest. Orlovsky did not make poor decisions with the football. He threw the ball away three times when he was under heavy pressure, rather than risking an interception or sack. His two interceptions were the products of Detroit's offensive predicaments. The first came on a third and 15 play from the New Orleans' 48. Orlovsky took a shot downfield and tried to hit John Standeford for a big play. Although the pass was intercepted, the result was like a good coffin corner punt, as the Saints took over at their own three yard line. Orlovsky's second interception came on a Hail Mary type pass at the end of the first half.
Calvin Johnson was a focus of the Detroit offense. Although he only caught three passes for 54 yards, Johnson was heavily involved in the game plan, especially on Detroit's scoring drive. Johnson left the game with what was called an ankle injury in the third quarter. He did not return and later was spotted with his knee wrapped in ice.
The Lions defense was abysmal. Detroit did not force a fourth down the entire game and allowed New Orleans to score touchdowns on their initial six possessions before finally forcing a Pierre Thomas fumble while trailing 42-7.
What you ought to know
|QB Drew Brees, Pass: 30 - 40 - 351 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - -3 - 0|
Brees leads the NFL in passing yardage and touchdowns. If he can pass for 402 yards in the season finale, he will break Dan Marino's single season mark of 5,084 yards. Brees had an easy and efficient game against the Lions. He was not sacked and averaged 8.8 yards on his 40 attempts. Brees threw two second half touchdowns to Marques Colston. Brees was credited with negative three yards rushing on three kneel down plays to end the game.
Brees set a career high for passing yards and broke the Saints' record for touchdowns in a season.
|RB Pierre Thomas, Rush: 13 - 77 - 1, Rec: 3 - 26 - 0 (4 targets)|
Thomas led the Saints with 77 yards rushing and added 26 more receiving yardage. Thomas' two yard plunge in the second quarter marks sixth consecutive game he has scored and is the ninth time he has reached the end zone in that span. Thomas ran hard and was able to gain yards after contact. However, his aggressive style led to a fumble and New Orleans' only turnover.
|RB Deuce McAllister, Rush: 9 - 61 - 1, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (1 targets)|
McAllister showed he still has some gas left in the tank with 19 and 18 yard runs, his two longest runs of the year. He also added a two yard touchdown, which was his fifth score of the year. McAllister caught his only target and picked up six yards on the play. McAllister passed the 6,000 career rushing mark for the year.
|RB Mike Bell, Rush: 4 - 26 - 1, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (1 targets)|
Bell ran with speed and power. He averaged nearly six yards per touch and scored his first touchdown since the 2006 season.
|RB Mike Karney, Rec: 1 - -1 - 0 (1 targets)|
Fullback, Mike Karney caught his only target, but lost a yard on the play.
|WR Marques Colston, Rec: 9 - 99 - 2 (12 targets)|
Colston was the focus of the Saints' passing attack. He caught nine of his twelve targets for 99 yards. Colston caught two short touchdown passes in the third quarter. His long reception went for 30 yards. Colston had a chance and could have caught two other passes in the end zone, but the passes were broken up.
|WR Lance Moore, Rec: 4 - 36 - 0 (5 targets)|
New Orleans' leading receiver had a quiet game. He caught four passes for 36 yards with a long gain of 17. Moore muffed a punt, but the Saints recovered.
|WR Devery Henderson, Rec: 2 - 96 - 0 (2 targets)|
Henderson caught only two passes, but gained 96 yards. His first reception was a 32 yarder. Brees later found him wide open. Henderson had to wait for the pass, but was able to cut across the field and make it all the way to the Detroit six yard line for a 64 yard gain.
|WR Robert Meachem, Rush: 1 - 20 - 1 (1 targets)|
Meachem was targeted on a deep pass. He was on of four Saints to score a rushing touchdown on a 20 yard end around.
|TE Jeremy Shockey, Rec: 5 - 37 - 0 (7 targets)|
Shockey caught five short passes in the first half. His long gain went for 10 yards. He injured his ankle just prior to the two minute warning in the first half and did not return. Shockey was targeted in the end zone on a play action pass from the one yard line, but Brees overthrew the pass slightly.
|TE Billy Miller, Rec: 4 - 38 - 0 (6 targets)|
After Shockey was hurt, Miller was targeted five times in the second half. He caught four of the passes and had a long gain of 21 yards.
|PK Garrett Hartley 0 - 0 FG, 6 - 6 XP, 6 points|
Hartley remains perfect as an NFL kicker, nailing all six extra point tries.
|NO Rush Defense|
Kevin Smith became only the second runnier to rush for more than 100 yards against the Saint defense this season. Smith was effective. However, New Orleans controlled the game from the second quarter onward.
Josh Bullocks led the unit with eight solo tackles and two assists. Scott Fujita chipped in with six solos, and an assist. Roman Harper forced a fumble.
|NO Pass Defense|
Detroit was able to gain only 126 yards through the air. Jason David and Usama Young intercepted passes. Jeff Charleston and Sedrick Ellis added sacks.
|QB Dan Orlovsky, Pass: 10 - 23 - 125 - 0 TD / 2 INT|
Orlovsky started for the sixth time in his career. Despite the lopsided score and his lackluster statistics, Orlovsky played reasonably well. Detroit was able to move the ball on their first two drives. Orlovsky had a 43 yard touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson called back by a penalty, then threw an interception on third down. The interception however, was not a bad play; John Standeford had a chance at it and it acted like a punt by pinning New Orleans on their own three yard line. Orlovsky then led the Lions to a touchdown on their second drive. Orlovsky's other interception came on a Hail Mary-like throw to close out the first half. Otherwise, Orlovsky did a good job of protecting the ball. He was willing to throw the football away rather than try to force it into tight coverage.
|QB Drew Stanton, Pass: 1 - 3 - 12 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 16 - 0|
Stanton replaced Dan Orlovsky in the fourth quarter. He hit on only one of his three attempts. He underthrew John Standeford, who ran a nice route to get open in the end zone, then did not see Keary Colbert wide open in the end zone on fourth down. He took off running prematurely and was sacked for a two yard loss. Earlier Stanton was able to run for a 15 yard gain down the middle.
|RB Kevin Smith, Rush: 24 - 111 - 1 (2 targets)|
Smith was Detroit's biggest bright spot in the game. He was effective throughout the contest, exhibiting a variety of nifty swerving moves that cut into and away from the defense. Although not a large running back, Smith ran hard and was not afraid to fight for extra yardage. Smith lost a 10 yard reception on a screen pass to a penalty. He fumbled once, but the ball went harmlessly out of bounds.
Smith lined up at wide receiver on a play where Calvin Johnson lined up on the backfield.
|RB Jerome Felton, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets)|
Felton had one reception and gained five yards.
|RB Aveion Cason, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0|
Cason had one rushing attempt. He also returned three kickoffs.
|RB Moran Norris, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (1 targets)|
Norris caught one pass for a three yard gain.
|WR Calvin Johnson, Rec: 4 - 64 - 0 (9 targets)|
All but one of Johnson's targets came in the first half. He hurt his ankle and/or knee early the second half and did not return. Johnson was a difference maker in the Lion offense. He averaged 18 yards per catch and had a 43 yard touchdown reception called back by a penalty. After he left the game, the Detroit offense was not as effective. Johnson's long gain of 28 yards came mostly after he broke a tackle to pick up big yardage; he came very close to breaking the play for a touchdown.
Johnson lined up once in the backfield.
|WR John Standeford, Rec: 3 - 46 - 0 (8 targets)|
Standeford caught three passes for 46 yards. He also ran a beautiful route and found himself open in the end zone, but Drew Stanton was late delivering the ball and the defense recovered in time to break up the pass. Standeford had a chance for another big gainer. He was double-covered on the play and one of the defenders tipped the ball. However, Standeford had his hands on the football. He then juggled it before
|WR Keary Colbert, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (2 targets)|
Colbert caught one pass for a twelve yard gain. He was uncovered in the end zone on a fourth down play late in the game, but Drew Stanton did not see him and took off running prematurely.
|WR Adam Jennings (1 targets)|
Jennings was not a factor in the game.
|TE John Owens, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets)|
Owens caught his only target.
|TE Michael Gaines (3 targets)|
Gaines did not catch a pass. He was targeted on a fourth and goal play and drew a pass interference call that set up Detroit's sole touchdown.
|PK Jason Hanson 0 - 0 FG, 1 - 1 XP, 1 points|
Hanson had only one extra point try.
|DET Rush Defense|
The Saints were effective on the ground. New Orleans ran for 181 yards and averaged six yards per attempt. Four different Saints rushed for touchdowns. Detroit allowed New Orleans to convert all but one of their first down attempts. The only failed third down conversion came on the third consecutive kneel down that ended the play.
|DET Pass Defense|
Drew Brees had plenty of time to pick apart the Detroit secondary. Brees passed for 351 yards and two touchdowns. Marques Colston caught two third quarter touchdown passes. The Lions were unable to force a punt in the game and allowed touchdowns on the Saints' first six possessions.