VIDEO: Saints vs Lions, NFL Playoffs 2012
New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles (R) avoids Detroit Lions outside linebacker Justin Durant (Reuters)
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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.
As usual, the quarterback had plenty of help from an offence that set an NFL record for yards from scrimmage this season (7,474). The Saints (14-3) gained a whopping 627 yards of total offense, and will travel to San Francisco 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 1999. They have lost seven straight playoff games.
All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson had 12 receptions for 211 yards and two touchdowns in his playoff debut for Detroit.
Earlier today, the Houston Texans won their first NFL playoff game in franchise history by beating the bungling Cincinnati Bengals 31-10 in the AFC wild-card game.
Rookie J.J. Watt's leaping interception return for a touchdown late in the first half put the Texans on course for victory.
Third-string quarterback T.J. Yates, another rookie pressed into action, then threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Andre Johnson in the third quarter and Arian Foster followed with his second touchdown of the game, a 42-yard run in the fourth quarter, to finish off the Bengals.
After nine seasons of missing the playoffs, the Texans (11-6) are heading to play the Baltimore Ravens (12-4) next Sunday.