NFL: Brees pouring it on

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 8, 2012

Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS — Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints are pouring on the points, racking up the wins and rewriting the record books nearly every time they play.
Things sure are rollin’ on the river.
Brees led an unstoppable offense by throwing for 466 yards and three touchdowns, and New Orleans dominated the second half for a 45-28 NFC wild-card victory over the Detroit Lions on Saturday night.
New Orleans broke the postseason mark for total yards with 626, beating the record set 49 years ago.
“We were pulling out all the stops,” Brees said. “We play aggressive. We’re not going to apologize for that. That gives guys in the huddle a lot of confidence. We’re not going to pull the reins back. It’s pedal to the metal.”
Brees hit on 33 of 43 passes while throwing for the most yards in a regulation playoff game. He highlighted his night with three completions of at least 40 yards.
“We just focus on winning. We’re not focused on yards and records,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “I’m serious when I say that.”
As usual, the quarterback had plenty of help from an offense that set an NFL record for yards from scrimmage this season (7,474), outgaining Detroit on the ground 167 yards to 32. The Saints (14-3) will travel to San Francisco (13-3) for next Saturday’s second-round game.
Matthew Stafford threw for 380 yards and three TDs for the Lions (10-7), who simply could not keep pace in their first playoff appearance since the 1999 season. They have lost seven straight postseason games.
“It’s a learning experience for the whole team. We’ll get better. We’ll be back,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. “Obviously it hurts right now.”
All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson had 12 receptions for 211 yards and two touchdowns in his playoff debut for Detroit, but that was not nearly enough as the Saints’ defense responded in the fourth quarter with two interceptions by Jabari Greer.
“We did make the playoffs this year and that’s a great accomplishment,” Johnson said. “We have some things to work on and we will.”
The teams combined for 1,038 yards, tying an NFL playoff record set by Buffalo and Miami on Dec. 30, 1995. The Superdome will likely host a much different contest on Monday night, when defensive stalwarts LSU and Alabama meet for the BCS national title. Fans in the dome cheered wildly for the LSU band as it played before the game and at halftime, then enjoyed a second half that culminated in what they hope will be the first of two Big Easy celebrations in three nights.

NOTES: Bernie Kosar still holds the record for yards passing in a playoff game, though his game in 1986 went to overtime when he reached 489 for Cleveland against the New York Jets. … Brees finished the regular season with seven straight 300-yard or more passing games and easily continued the streak against the Lions.