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Dave Martin, Associated Press
Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz looks at the scoreboard during the second half of an NFL wild card playoff football game against the New Orleans Saints Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, in New Orleans.

DETROIT — 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.