Dickson: Assistant to be next TU coach

NEW ORLEANS — Tulane will name New Orleans Saints wide receivers coach Curtis Johnson as its next head football coach, Tulane Athletic Director Rick Dickson confirmed Sunday night.

Dickson said the university plans to make the hiring official Monday, ending a seven-week national search for a successor to former Green Wave coach Bob Toledo, who was pressured to resign on Oct. 18.

A native of New Orleans, 50, was a member of Sean Payton’s original Saints staff in 2006 and has served at the University of Miami (1996-2005) and San Diego State (1989-93).

Johnson, who lives in Harvey with his wife, Angel, and their six children, was on the sideline for Sunday night’s game with the Detroit Lions in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Brees ties NFL mark

You can add another NFL record to the résumé of Saints QB Drew Brees, who reached the 4,000-yard passing mark for the sixth consecutive season in a 31-17 win over the Lions.

Brees threw for 342 yards to bring his total for the season to 4,031. His sixth straight 4,000-yard season ties Peyton Manning, who had six in a row from 1999-2004, as the only players in NFL history to throw for at least 4,000 yards six years in a row.

Vilma returns

Saints Pro Bowl middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma was in the lineup for the first time in four games Sunday night.

Vilma, who had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee several weeks ago, missed the past three games while recovering from an injury that he suffered in a Week 2 game against the Chicago Bears.

Vilma started at his usual middle linebacker spot with Jo-Lonn Dunbar, who filled in for Vilma, sliding back to his starting strongside spot.

Inactives

The Saints inactives were defensive end Turk McBride (ankle), running back Chris Ivory, cornerback Johnny Patrick, linebacker Martez Wilson, wide receiver Adrian Arrington, tackle Will Robinson and tight end Michael Higgins.

Inactives for the Lions were cornerback Chris Houston and free safety Louis Delmas, two starters who were out with knee injuries.

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh served the first game of a two-game NFL-imposed suspension for stomping on the arm of a Green Bay Packers’ offensive lineman on Thanksgiving Day.

Working short

The officiating crew headed by referee Clete Blakeman was a man down after umpire Garth DeFelice left in the first period with a left leg injury.

Side judge Greg Meyer took over as umpire, while back judge Terrence Miles and field judge Buddy Horton split Meyer’s duties in the secondary.

Good memories

The Lions have two former LSU players on their roster, starting right guard Stephen Peterman and reserve running back Keiland Williams.

Peterman won a BCS national title with the Tigers in 2003, and Williams was a part of the 2007 BCS championship team — with both games being played in the Superdome.

Lagniappe

The Saints gave up a sack on the final play of the first quarter, their first in four games, when defensive tackle Nick Fairley tripped up Brees. … Saints right guard Jahri Evans established a franchise record for consecutive starts at the beginning of a career when he opened his 92nd game in a row. That broke a tie with Rickey Jackson, who had 91 straight. … Lions tackle Jeff Backus set a club record with his 172nd consecutive start, topping the old mark of 171 by Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau.

Sheldon Mickles and Brian Allee-Walsh contributed.