Giants Defeat Scrappy Lions, Improve to 4-2: It wasn’t easy, but the New York Giants improved their record to 4-2 earlier today by defeating the Detroit Lions 28-20 at New Meadowlands Stadium.
The Lions actually out-gained the Giants in total net yardage (366 to 334) and net yards passing (302 to 167). But the Giants ran the ball better (167 yards to 64) and won the turnover battle (+2).
Detroit took an early 7-0 lead after punter Matt Dodge fumbled the ball away at the Giants’ 43-yard line. Nine plays later, second-string Lions’ quarterback Shaun Hill found wide receiver Nate Burleson for a 14-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-1.
After the Giants and Lions exchanged punts, the Giants were able to tie the game on their third possession by driving 40 yards in five plays. Returner Darius Reynaud first returned the punt 20 yards to the Lions’ 40. Quarterback Eli Manning first found wide receiver Steve Smith for 20 yards and then again for 11 yards on 3rd-and-5. On the next snap, halfback Brandon scored from four yards out. Game tied at 7-7.
Detroit was not able to generate points on their next two possessions, but on the Giants’ fifth series, New York drove the ball 93 yards in 11 plays to for a 14-7 advantage. Big plays on the drive included a 14-yard pass to wide receiver Mario Manningham on 3rd-and-2 and an illegal-hands-to-the-face penalty on the Lions that turned a 3rd-and-20 into a first down. On 3rd-and-4, Manning found Manningham for a 33-yard touchdown.
However, on the ensuing and last possession of the first half, the Lions drove 48 yards in 14 plays to set up a successful 50-yard field goal attempt that cut the Giants lead to 14-10 at the intermission. On this series, Lions’ quarterback Shaun Hill left the game with a broken arm. Third-string quarterback Drew Stanton went the rest of the way for Detroit.
The game really turned in favor of the Giants in the third quarter. Detroit received the football to start the second half and was able to drive the football from their own 36 to the Giants’ 38-yard line. But on 3rd-and-8, Stanton was sacked by defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who also forced a fumble that was recovered by defensive end Justin Tuck. It was Umenyiora’s second sack and forced fumble of the game.
The Giants then drove 57 yards in eight plays to take a 21-10 lead. Manning found Smith for 14 yards and tight end Kevin Boss for 25 yards. A 10-yard pass interference penalty on the Lions gave the Giants the ball at the Detroit 8-yard line. When it looked like the Lions were going to hold the Giants to only a field goal after an incomplete 3rd down pass, the drive was kept alive by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Still, the final yard was tough with the Giants only scoring on 3rd-and-goal on a 1-yard pass to tight end/H-back Travis Beckum.
After both teams exchanged punts, the Lions cut the lead to 21-17 early in the 4th quarter when Stanton hit wide receiver Calvin Johnson on an 87-yard score on 3rd-and-10, beating cornerback Terrell Thomas and safety Antrel Rolle.
The Giants were not able to move the football on their next two possessions that also sandwiched a three-and-out by the Lions. On the Lions’ fifth possession of the second half, Detroit was able to drive the football from their own 13-yard line to midfield. On 3rd-and-5, Stanton completed an 8-yard pass to Burleson, but safety Deon Grant saved the day by forcing a fumble that he also recovered at the Giants’ 42-yard line. On the very next snap, halfback Ahmad Bradshaw broke off a 45-yard run down to the Lions’ 13-yard line. Jacobs then picked up seven yards and then scored from six yards out. Giants 28 – Lions 17 with under four minutes to play.
But the contest was not over. The Lions returned the ensuing kickoff 58 yards to the Giants’ 40-yard line. And although the Lions were only able to gain eight yards, it was enough to set up yet another 50-yard field goal. Giants 28 – Lions 20.
The Giants could not pick up a first down on the ensuing possession and with 2:18 left on the clock, the Lions had another chance to tie the game with a touchdown and 2-point conversion. Detroit moved the ball from their own 14 to the Giants’ 38-yard line. But on 2nd-and-10, with less than 20 seconds on the clock, Stanton’s pass was intercepted by Rolle to seal the game.
Highlights of the game are available at NFL.com.
Post-Game Notes: Inactive for the Giants were HB D.J. Ware (groin), FB Madison Hedgecock (hamstring), OT William Beatty (foot), DE Mathias Kiwanuka (neck), LB Keith Bulluck (toe), LB Phillip Dillard, CB/S Brian Jackson (neck), and PK Lawrence Tynes (ankle).
The victory was the 650th in Giants’ franchise history – 630 in the regular season and 20 in the post-season.
Tom Coughlin is now in third place on the franchise’s all-time win list as head coach with 59. Coughlin trails only Steve Owen (153) and Bill Parcells (77).
Giants Sign Another Place Kicker; Place Victor Cruz on IR: On Saturday, the Giants signed PK Shayne Graham yesterday and placed WR Victor Cruz on Injured Reserve.
The Giants needed to sign another place kicker because Lawrence Tynes sprained his left ankle in practice on Friday. Cruz had pulled his hamstring in practice last week. By being placed on Injured Reserve, Cruz’s season is officially over.
In nine previous seasons, Graham has kicked for the Bills (2001), Panthers (2002), and Bengals (2003-2009). He is a career 85 percent field goal kicker. Graham has 45 touchbacks in 564 career kickoffs. Last season with Cincinnati, Graham hit 23-of-28 field goal attempts (82 percent) and 28-of-29 extra point tries for 97 points. He also tied his career high with a 53-yarder. Graham had eight touchbacks in 69 kickoffs in 2009.
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