With all but a touchdown of a 35-point advantage gone, the New Orleans Saints were staggered Sunday afternoon in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The Lions were roaring – with an assist from the Saints, courtesy of a punt-return allowed for a touchdown and a 2-yard interception return for a score – and poised to do even more damage after forcing a three-and-out on defense while trailing 45-38, with 5:23 left.
But the wobbled Saints found their equilibrium at just the right time, courtesy of a special team play by the same punt cover team that surrendered a 74-yard score, and then a defensive gem from a unit that befuddled Detroit for most of the day.
First, Thomas Morstead rocketed a 57-yard punt to the Detroit 11-yard line that Jamal Agnew mishandled and once he recovered the muff at the 1, he was tackled there by Saints defensive back Justin Hardee, pinning the Lions near the goal line.
Then, on first down, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw an incompletion intended for receiver Marvin Jones Jr., who was blanketed by Ken Crawley. And finally, the coup de grace: Stafford took a shotgun snap in his end zone and attempted to dump off a pass to his right, intended for tight end Eric Ebron.
But standing in the path of the ball's flight was defensive end Cam Jordan. And Jordan, who has mastered the art of batting down passes, did himself one better against the Lions: He batted this attempt up in the air and tracked it down while standing in the end zone with 5:04 left in the game, to produce his second career interception and his first touchdown.
The score became the final points in a wild 52-38 victory by the Saints that was their third consecutive win and bumped the team's record to 3-2, the first time the Saints have been above .500 since the 2013 season.