NEW ORLEANS – Matthew Stafford's accuracy and poise sparked the Detroit Lions to a big lead and helped prevent them from squandering it, too.
Stafford passed for 254 yards and three touchdowns, and the Lions held off a late surge by New Orleans to defeat the Saints 35-27 on Monday night.
Detroit (5-9) raced to a 28-3 lead, but Drew Brees threw a pair of touchdown passes —one shortly after a Lions fumble — to help New Orleans (5-9) pull to 28-20 with about 10 minutes left.
Brees passed for 341 yards and three touchdowns, becoming only the fourth quarterback to surpass 60,000 yards in a career while also eclipsing the 4,000-yard mark for the 10th consecutive season. Brandin Cooks caught 10 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown.
But New Orleans' loss guaranteed consecutive losing seasons for the first time since Sean Payton became coach in 2006.
Golden Tate caught two touchdown passes for Detroit. The Lions' last-ranked running game accounted for 150 yards and two TDs against New Orleans' last-ranked run defense.