New Orleans started off the game looking as if they wouldn't give their all after the Saints were officially eliminated from post-season play on Sunday.
The Detroit Lions behind quarterback Matthew Stafford led 28-3 in the third quarter before New Orleans rallied.
Drew Brees fired a 27-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Brandin Cooks, tacked-on a field goal and Brees hit Marquez Colston for another TD to close the gap 28-20 with about 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Detroit came right back and grabbed a 35-20 advantage when former Saints running back Joique Bell cracked the goal line from the one.
Brees drove New Orleans 80 yards in 15 plays connecting with tight end Ben Watson to end the scoring with the Saints trailing 35-27 with just under 2 minutes left in the game.
Brees completed 34 of 52 pass attempts for 341 yards and three touchdowns. He became only the fourth quarterback to surpass 60,000 yards passing in NFL history.
With only two games remaining, the 5 and 9 Saints will suffer its first losing season under head coach Sean Payton since he took over the New Orleans coaching reins in 2006.
The Saints entertain Jacksonville 3:05 Sunday afternoon in the Superdome.
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