The New Orleans Saints defeated the Detroit Lions 52-38 Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in a wild victory that gave the team a three-game winning streak and moved the Saints above .500 for the first time since the 2013 season.
It appeared the Saints were going to run away with it when they led the Lions 45-10 with 8:34 to play in the third quarter. But Detroit rallied with four touchdowns, including a 74-yard punt return by Jamal Agnew and a 1-yard pick-six by A'Shawn Robinson with 6:41 to play.
The Saints were able to hold on as Thomas Morstead's 67-yard punt pinned the Lions at their 1-yard line with 5:11 to play. New Orleans sealed the game when Cameron Jordan batted a Matthew Stafford pass and intercepted it in the end zone for a touchdown. Safety Kenny Vaccaro intercepted Stafford on the next possession to end the Lions' final threat.
The Saints' defense came up with five turnovers, three of which went for touchdowns, continuing its game-changing play from the Carolina and Miami victories.
The Saints offense turned in its most balanced effort of the season with 193 yards rushing and 186 passing yards from quarterback Drew Brees. The offense did see the end of its streak of games without a turnover end on a very questionable interception in the third quarter. But running back Mark Ingram II also lost a fumble in the second half and then Brees gave up the pick-six in the fourth quarter.
Saints defensive end Alex Okafor got the party started on the first possession with a strip-sack of Stafford. Safety Kenny Vaccaro jumped on the loose ball on for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
Linebacker Craig Robertson set up another score with an exceptional strip-fumble recovery in the second quarter. The defense also stopped the Lions on fourth-and-goal from the 5 at the end of the half.
Rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore added a 27-yard pick-six in the third quarter as the Saints pulled away from the Lions (3-3), who had defeated the Saints each of the past three seasons. The defensive touchdowns were the Saints first since the 2015 season.
Jordan was his usual dominant self with two sacks, one in which he pushed Lions right tackle Brian Mihalik into Stafford, and the end zone pick-six.
On offense, Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara proved to be a powerful 1-2 punch as Ingram scored two touchdowns and ran the ball 23 times for 115 yards while Kamara had 75 yards on 10 carries including a sensational hurdle of a Lions defender on a 14-yard scamper. Receiver Ted Ginn Jr. had his best game was a Saint with four catches for 66 yards and a toucdown.
The Saints offense benfited from the return of left tackle Terron Armstead and receiver Drew Brees, who were making their first appearances of the season.
The Saints (3-2) will play at Green Bay next Sunday. The Packers lost quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Sunday to a broken right collarbone. Things in the NFC South are starting to get interesting as all four teams have two losses, with the Falcons losing on Sunday and the Panthers losing on "Thursday Night Football." The Buccaneers played Arizona later Sunday afternoon.
New Orleans Saints key stats
Drew Brees, 21 of 31 for 186 yards with two TDs
Mark Ingram, 25 carries for 114 yards and two TDs
Ted Ginn Jr., four catches for 66 yards and one TD
Detroit Lions key stats
Matthew Stafford, 25 of 52 for 317 yards with three TDs and two interceptions
Ameer Abdullah, 13 carries for 48 yards
Marvin Jones Jr., six catches for 96 yards and one TD
Check out the on-field action as the Saints host the Lions in Week 6.