It would have been easy to shake off the Detroit Lions’ two-game winning streak in Week 11. Not only did they barely get by in both games, but those wins also came against the lowly Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.
On Sunday, however, the Lions made a huge statement. Heading to New York for a game against the surprisingly 7-2 Giants, Detroit dominated every aspect of the game. On offense, the Lions got over 150 yards on the ground and found the end zone four times. In defense, they forced a normal-sounding Giants offense to three turnovers.
In the end, the final score of 31-18 was not very symbolic of the actual competitiveness of the game. Detroit had an 18-point lead going into the fourth quarter and it never got much closer.
Detroit has now won three in a row, and at 4-6, it’s almost socially acceptable to talk about getting into the playoff race. A big chance awaits on Thursday against the Buffalo Bills, but enjoy the victory for now.
Here’s how it all happened.
The Lions won the coin toss and deferred, giving the Giants the ball first. The Detroit defense got a quick chance to get off the field on third-and-7, and Alim McNeill charged down the center of the line for the sack and quick three-and-out.
The Lions offense grabbed a first down on the ground, then moved the sticks on a passer roughness after a failed convert on the third down. A sneak from Jared Goff picked up the ensuing third down and pushed Detroit into field goal territory. Detroit fell down inside the Giants’ 10-yard line, but on a fourth-and-second, Dan Campbell chose to kick a field goal. 3-0 Lions.
The Giants offense continued to move in no-hddle and found themselves in a key fourth and first at center field. New York converted on a jet sweep and put up a first at Detroit’s 44-yard line.
On the next set of downs, Campbell made an interesting decision to disallow a holding penalty, giving the Giants a third-and-8 instead of a second-and-19. New York eventually converted and eventually moved it inside the Lions’ 10-yard line. A few plays later, Giants quarterback Daniel Jones danced into the end zone with a designed run to give New York a 6-3 giants lead after a missed extra point (deflected by John Cominsky).
Detroit’s offense looked like they were going to go three-and-out quickly after blowing their first down fast display for a three-yard loss. But Kalif Raymond caught a third and long screen, got to his feet and ran for a first down. Lions starting right guard Evan Brown was injured on the play, and Dan Skipper replaced him. Brown was officially labeled doubtful to return with an ankle injury. In the second half he was demoted to OUT.
After Jared Goff fouled and a 1-yard run from Williams, Detroit faced a third-and-nine going into the second quarter.
Goff scrambled for a first down, but it was called back after a holding penalty on Penei Sewell. A personal foul on Jonah Jackson pushed the Lions back even further, eventually leading to a punt.
Detroit continued to bottle up Saquon Barkley — he had just 11 yards on his first eight carries — but Jones proved to be the bigger threat, using both his legs and his arm. Jones grabbed 9 yards on one run and another 7 on a third and three. He also got the Giants out of a second-and-long nicely with a completion to Kenny Golladay. Detroit was eventually stopped, however, after coverage forced a throwout from Jones. The Giants punted with Raymond making a fair catch on his own 8-yard line.
On that drive, Jeff Okudah left the game with an injury, and was declared OUT for the rest of the game shortly after his departure when he entered concussion protocol.
Detroit’s offense was answered three-and-out due to some critical errors by D’Andre Swift. On second, he caught a pass and had enough distance for a first down, but fumbled and lost another 2 yards, though he recovered. They gave him the ball on third and first on a sweep play, but Swift took too long to cut up the field and fell two yards short.
But rookie Aidan Hutchinson, the Lions offense got the ball back quickly with this impressive fingertip interception:
A few plays later, Jamaal Williams slammed it in for the Lions one 10-6 lions lead.
Although New York was able to move the ball into center field on the next drive, Jerry Jacobs grabbed a nice third and fifth stop with tight coverage. A shafted punt returned the ball to Detroit at the 32-yard line with just over two minutes remaining.
A nice action shot found Amon-Ra St. Brown wide open for a 32-yard gain, and after a 15-yard run from Williams, the Lions were in the red zone. A block in the back on Sewell pushed them back, but St. Brown quickly got back 15 yards and Brock Wright caught a clutch third and 2 pass that brought Detroit to the 1-yard line. Williams managed for his second of the game – and his eleventh of the season to make it 17-6 Lions.
Cornerback Jerry Jacobs went down on the ensuing return punt, but walked off on his own and would return in the second half.
With 44 seconds down and no timeouts left, the Giants tried to cut Detroit’s lead. A great 19-yard passing game on third and tenth gave them a chance, but they were eventually dismissed, ending the half.
Justin Jackson gave the Lions a nice start to the second half with a punt return all the way to the 44-yard line. Detroit missed a big play after fullback Jason Cabinda dropped a pass that would have lasted at least 15 yards. But Goff converted a third and nine with a 13-yard pass to Tom Kennedy. Then the Lions run game started to take over. Jackson picked up 10 yards and Swift followed it with 16 yards of himself. St. Brown brought them to the 1-yard line and it was time for Jamaal Williams again for a big opening drive. 24-6 Lions.
The Giants offense attempted to respond after completing a 24-yard pass to Darius Slayton on an early third and fourth. But New York went for it on a later fourth and fifth, and Jones threw it straight to Lions rookie safety Kerby Joseph, who picked it off and returned it to the Giants’ 41-yard line.
Detroit was unable to capitalize on the ensuing possession, but a nice Jack Fox punt pinned the Giants to their own 7-yard line.
Jones dug out the Giants with an 18-yard pass to Slayton. But three consecutive midfield incompletions forced another Giants punt, and the Lions would begin the next drive at their own 9-yard line with three minutes left in the third quarter.
But Detroit again went three-and-out and returned the ball to the Giants at their own 33-yard line with just over a minute left. The Lions had a chance to get an early dagger on fourth and first, but Jones pecked 15 yards off a QB keeper.
Jones quickly drove the Giants inside the 10-yard line with some throws over center and another QB keeper. And Matt Breida hit it in from the 3-yard line to make it 24-12 Lions just two minutes into the quarter. The extra point bounced off the upright.
Detroit avoided another three-and-out with a nice action pass to Kalif Raymond for 21 yards, moving the Lions to center field. On the ensuing third and seventh, Goff scrambled to find St. Brown for an important 17-yard pickup. But Detroit’s offense stopped there, and instead of attempting a 52-yarder in the windy conditions, the Lions took a penalty for delay of play and punted. Fox sent it through the end zone for a touchback.
The Giants, trailing 12, had 8:45 left to score twice and stage another comeback. And though Jones made a clutch conversion on third and fifteenth, Will Harris landed a huge hit on Isaiah Hodgins and threw the ball loose, forcing Hutchinson to fumble at the Giants’ 33-yard line.
Jackson made sure the turnover wasn’t lost as the Lions’ third-string back yanked an impressive 27-yard run-up to the Giants’ 2-yard line. Although Swift was initially stopped for a 2-yard loss, he smashed it in on the next play from 4 yards out to make it 31-12 Lions with 6:10 left.
Jones quickly drove the Giants down the field as the Lions played cover. Richie James scored and New York went for two, but it wasn’t good after a wide open drop. The left the score 31-18 Lions with 4:20 left.
St. Brown recovered the Giants’ onside kick attempt. A pair of first downs from the Lions offense ended the game.