Detroit Lions lose wild game to Saints

BY Dave Birkett

Tribune News Service

NEW ORLEANS – Forget the final score, a mildly respectable yet totally exhilarating 52-38 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

In many ways, the Detroit Lions played their worst game of the Jim Caldwell era.

Matthew Stafford turned the ball over five times. The Saints scored three defensive touchdowns. And the Lions couldn’t stop Drew Brees or Mark Ingram or Alvin Kamara for most of the day.

The game was so unwieldy early that the Lions attempted an onside kick midway through the third quarter and it actually seemed like the right thing to do.

But as bad as they played, the Lions nearly pulled off one of the most miraculous comebacks in NFL history, and actually leave Week 6 seemingly in better shape to win the NFC North than they were a week ago, when the were widely viewed as one of the best teams in the NFL.

The Saints led 45-10 after Marshon Lattimore returned a Stafford interception 27 yards for a touchdown with 8:34 to play in the third quarter.

But as the Saints went into turtle mode, the Lions mounted one improbable drive after another.

Stafford threw 22-yard touchdown passes each to Marvin Jones and Darren Fells before the quarter was up, Jamal Agnew returned a punt 74 yards for a score, and finally defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson stepped in front of a Brees pass near the goal line and walked into the end zone to pull the Lions within 45-38.

The Lions forced a three-and-out on their next possession, only to have Agnew muff a punt that he recovered near the goal line and took into the end zone, only to come out and be tackled at the 1-yard line.

Stafford, one of the clutchest fourth-quarter quarterbacks in NFL history – he led a record eight game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime last year – had a chance to lead the most improbable comeback of his career with a 99-yard drive.

He threw incomplete to Marvin Jones on first down, and on second down tried dumping a pass over the middle, only to have Cam Jordan tip the ball at the line of scrimmage and intercept it in the end zone for a Saints’ touchdown.

Stafford, who lost two fumbles in the first half, one of which was recovered in the end zone on the Lions’ opening drive for a touchdown, threw his third interception of the game one series later.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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