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New Orleans Saints overpower Detroit Lions to win NFL wildcard playoff

For three quarters, the Detroit Lions performed like playoff veterans.

They led Drew Brees and the mighty New Orleans Saints at halftime. They were still right in the game heading to the fourth quarter.

But Brees and the Saints blew it open in the final period, turning Detroit's postseason return into a one-and-done affair with a 45-28 NFC playoff victory that was much closer most of the night on a raucous Saturday at the Superdome.

Having already eclipsed Dan Marino's 27-year-old record for passing yards in a season, Brees turned in his best performance yet by shredding the Lions for 466 yards through the air, the most ever in a playoff game that didn't go to overtime. In all, the teams combined for 1,038 yards, tying a postseason record.

The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.