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Lions at Giants: 2 winners, 4 losers from Sunday’s 17-6 loss

Here are four losers and two winners from Sunday’s loss to the Giants.

NFL: Detroit Lions at New York Giants Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

After Sunday’s loss to the New York Giants, the Detroit Lions are searching for answers. Their high octane offense is averaging just 17.5 points in the past four games, while the defense continues to make opposing quarterbacks look like All-Pro’s week after week.

But it wasn’t all bad on Sunday, so let’s take a look at two winners and four losers from Sunday’s 17-6 loss.

Loser: Asa Jackson

The Lions took a bit of a risk a few weeks ago poaching Jackson from the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad. NFL rules require a team to keep a poached player on their active roster for at least three weeks. So when the Lions were awarded Corey Lemonier from waivers, they had to keep Jackson. Instead, they waived Adairius Barnes.

That turned out to be a disastrous decision because Jackson was constantly burned on Sunday. At one of the most critical moments of the game, the play he was lined up against Odell Beckham Jr. on the Giants’ final touchdown, he looked lost.

Winner: Golden Tate

Tate was on fire against the Giants. He beat the impressive Giants’ secondary deep on a few occasions, and typically made the most of those situations. With his eight catches for 122 yards, Tate now has the most receiving yards of any Lions player and is irrefutably Detroit’s No. 1 receiver now.

Loser: Zach Zenner

You don’t get many chances as a fourth-string running back, and you don’t get many chances in the red zone against the Giants’ defense. Zenner managed to blow both of those opportunities by fumbling on his first carry of the day. The turnover took at least three points off the board, and blew Detroit’s chances to take an early lead. Zenner only received two more carries the rest of the way, despite being the Lions’ backup tailback for Sunday.

Loser: Jim Bob Cooter

I hate second-guessing play calling, because it relies upon hindsight, which offensive coordinators are not awarded when they are calling the plays, but the Lions have repeatedly tried wide receiver screens on third-and-longs and have repeatedly come up short. I understand poor pass protection and a solid Giants’ secondary forces your hand, but you have Matthew Stafford. He can make a lot of tight throws. Utilizing him as a game manager on third-and-long is the wrong move.

Winner: Matthew Stafford’s finger

Speaking of Stafford, he didn’t look limited at all by his dislocated middle finger. Stafford was decisive, had zip on the ball and threw the ball deep and with accuracy all game long. There was an occasional wobbly ball, but if that’s the kind of performance the Lions can expect from Stafford the rest of the way, they’ll have a good shot at making the postseason.

Loser: The offensive guards

The Lions tried to establish the running game up the middle, but the play of Larry Warford and Laken Tomlinson made that nearly impossible. Both failed to open up running lanes—especially in the second half—and were seen driven two or three yards into the backfield. Detroit finished the game with just 59 rushing yards, averaging just 2.9 yards per carry. If you’re looking for a reason the Lions offense wasn’t putting up points, there are your culprits.