The Detroit Lions have taken a leap forward by ending an 11-season playoff drought.
Detroit's deficiencies on defense prevented the team from taking another step.
The Lions gave up an NFL postseason-record 626 yards to New Orleans in a 45-28 NFC wild-card loss Saturday night. They slipped to the unfavorable matchup against the Saints after losing the regular-season finale by allowing Green Bay's backup quarterback to throw for 480 yards and six touchdowns.
Matthew Stafford could only do so much to prop up Detroit's D during the regular season and postseason.
Stafford threw for 5,418 yards with 44 TDs — 18 to Calvin Johnson — in 17 games that provided a lot of hope for a franchise that has desperately needed it.