NEW ORLEANS (AP/WLOX) - The New Orleans Saints forced five turnovers and held off a furious Detroit comeback in the second half to defeat the Lions. That's three straight wins by the Saints who are back in the hunt in the NFC South Division race.
For those 73-thousand-plus fans inside the Mecedes-Benz Superdome, it looked as if the Saints would crush the Lions and coast to an easy win. It started early, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was sacked, he fumbled and defensive back Kenny Vaccaro recovered in the end zone propelling New Orleans to an early lead that blossomed.
Quarterback Drew Brees tossed two touchdown passes, one was a 20 yard strike to Ted Ginn Junior who snagged 4 catches for 66 yards on the day.
Besides the passing game having success, the running game also was clicking with the return of veteran offensive lineman Terron Armstead. Running back Mark Ingram would rush for 114 yards and scored two touchdowns while rookie running back Alvin Karmara added 75 rushing yards.
New Orleans jumped out to a 45-10 lead with 8:34 remaining in the third quarter after rookie Marshon Lattimore returned an interception 27 yards for a touchdown. The rout was on and the game was over...right? Wrong!
Detroit turned up the heat by running off 28 unanswered points and trailed 42-35 with 6:45 remaining in the third quarter. Jamal Agnew ran back a punt return for a touchdown and Lions defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson intercepted a pass thrown by Brees and he walked into the end zone.
Fans were getting worried.
Don't freak out because the Saints defense was up to the task in saving the day.
After a poor decision on a punt return by the Lions, Matthew Stafford and his offense was backed up at the one. From there Cameron Jordan came through for New Orleans by leaping and batting down a pass thrown by Stafford. Jordan, who was staying in the end zone, grabbed the ball out of the air and produced a back-breaker for Detroit, a touchdown that propelled the Saints to a 14 point victory.
Jordan said, "Can't speak enough about how young our defense is and how much they love to play this game. We knew he (Stafford) was giving up sacks, that he was getting a whole lot of his passes batted. We had to take advantage where we could. Did it result in my first touchdown? Yes it did. Did I enjoy every minute of it? For sure!
Kenny Vaccaro, who recovered the fumble in the end zone to give New Orleans an early lead, knows every win is big from here on out.
Vaccaro said, "We never broke. That was the biggest thing. We need to finish the game. It wasn't pretty but we got the "W" and that's all that counts in this league.
Head coach Sean Payton said, "We did a lot of good things offensively. Turnovers and our third down numbers were awful. Obviously a crazy game. Credit our defense for 21 points and that was significant."
For the first time since late in the 2013 season, the Saints record is above .500. That's 3 wins and 2 losses tied with Atlanta for second-place in the NFC South Division standings, a half-game behind 4 and 2 Carolina.
New Orleans travels to Green Bay on Sunday and the Packers will be without their star player, quarterback Aaron Rogers. He broke his collarbone in Sunday's loss to the Minnesota Vikings.