Saints over .500 after surviving Lions' comeback

The New Orleans Saints' slow start to the season is but a memory after Sunday's 52-38 victory over the Detroit Lions. Here's what we learned from New Orleans' third straight win:

1. The score looks familiar. The profile of this Saints team is not. Defensive end Cameron Jordan's batted pass and pick-six interception late in the fourth quarter was a flitting clinching moment in a game that could not have been wilder. The Saints' defense harassed Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford into five turnovers, with five sacks and somehow batted 12 passes at the line of scrimmage, only two from the NFL record. Jordan is having the best season of his underrated career, with two more sacks, two tackles for loss and three passes defensed on the day. The Saints' defense did a fine job despite the score, allowing only 18 first downs in 17 drives. New Orleans' defense gave up 24 points and scored 21 on its own.

2. So how did the score get so crazy without that much offense? The Saints' defense scored three touchdowns, while the Lions' defense scored one and punt returner Jamal Agnew scored another during a wild fourth quarter. After trailing 45-10 midway through the third quarter, the Lions came all the back to make it 45-38 with the ball in the fourth quarter before Jordan's interception.

3. This game could not have gone much worse for the Lions. Stafford was only able to take snaps out of the shotgun because of his injured ankle, then took a beating throughout. The Lions lost safety Glover Quin (concussion), receiver Golden Tate (shoulder) and tackle Greg Robinson to injury. Now 3-3 after a fast start, the team was steamrolled on the ground early and lacks its old explosion on offense.

4. This is the first time since 2013 the Saints are above .500. They have their running game largely to thank. On the week they traded Adrian Peterson, New Orleans went with a run-heavy approach to put up 31 points in the first half, calling 20 runs to only 14 Drew Brees passes. They wound up with 193 yards rushing, showcasing one of the best duos in the league Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara. The return of left tackle Terron Armstead made a big difference.