NEW ORLEANS — The Detroit Lions led for most of the game and manhandled the New Orleans Saints 28-13 at the Superdome on Sunday afternoon.
The Lions have now won seven of their last eight contests.
On Sunday, the Saints accepted the opening kickoff and were promptly forced to punt to the Lions, who took over near midfield. They began progressing and scored first with Matt Prater’s 27-yard field goal for a 3-0 advantage to cap their opening drive.
That margin held up through the end of the first quarter.
Coach Jim Caldwell’s troops then scored again, soon after quarterback Matthew Stafford’s 35-yard completion to Golden Tate, on a 1-yard TD pass from Stafford to Theo Riddick for a 10-0 bulge with 13:03 to go in the second stanza.
Meanwhile, Saints quarterback Drew Brees struggled against the Detroit defense throughout the entire day. New Orleans finally got on the board thanks to Wil Lutz’s 40-yard field goal that sliced the gap to 10-3 with 5:05 remaining in the first half.
The Lions renewed their 10-point lead when Prater booted a 29-yard field goal for a 13-3 edge with just 56 seconds left until intermission. But that was enough time for Brees to drive the Saints to a 32-yard Lutz field goal as time elapsed with Detroit in control 13-6 at halftime.
The Lions came out of the locker room for the second half energized and Stafford and T.J. Jones connected on a 36-yard aerial deep into New Orleans territory, setting up a 32-yard Prater field goal for a 16-6 advantage at the 8:57 juncture of the third.
Glover Quin’s interception of a Brees toss 2 1/2 minutes later once again set the Lions in motion, culminating in another field goal by Prater for a 19-6 lead with 1:42 remaining in the third frame.
That score stood until 13:32 left in the game, when John Kuhn dove over from 1 yard out, allowing the Saints to close to within 19-13.
However, Stafford came right back on third-and-10 with a 66-yard scoring strike to Tate for a 25-13 lead with 11:38 to play. The Lions went for two but failed, due to an incomplete pass, to maintain their 12-point lead.
Prater then tacked on a 52-yard field goal — his fifth of the day — to set the final margin at 28-13 with 7:10 remaining in the contest.
The Lions improved to 8-4 on the season. Detroit’s next game will be a home date with the Chicago Bears next Sunday as the first-place Lions return to NFC North competition. The Bears dealt Detroit a 17-14 loss back on Oct. 2 at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
The Saints dipped to 5-7 overall. New Orleans’ next outing will involve a trip to meet the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next Sunday.