For the second week in a row, the Detroit Lions defense carried the team to victory. Though they didn’t create quite as many turnovers as they did against the Cardinals, they were stout when they needed to be, and helped the Lions hold an early lead throughout the game.
The Lions offense got off a solid start. After trading punts with the Giants early on, Matthew Stafford took the Lions down the field for a nine-play, 54-yard touchdown drive, ending with this impressive grab from Marvin Jones Jr., his second score of the season.
But the Giants quickly responded with a long drive of their own. The normally stout Lions’ defense blew coverage in the end zone, leaving rookie tight end Evan Engram wide open for the tying score.
For the rest of the half, however, it was all Lions. After not showing up much in the box score in Week 1, Eric Ebron showed out in the first two quarters, hauling in five catches for 42 yards and a touchdown. A 56-yard field goal from Matt Prater helped the Lions pull out to a two-score lead, one they would take into the locker room at halftime.
Both teams struggled mightily to protect their quarterback throughout the game. In the first half alone, Eli Manning was sacked four times, while Stafford was taken down twice. Lions left tackle Greg Robinson had a nightmare first half, adding a few penalties to his poor pass protection—and run blocking.
The second half started with more of the same, defensively. Ezekiel Ansah quickly picked up his third sack of the game, forcing the Giants immediately into a three-and-out.
However, the Lions’ offense couldn’t get the running game going for the entire second half, giving the Giants opportunity after opportunity to get back in the game.
New York soon connected on a big 38-yard throw to tight end Jerell Adams, putting the Giants in a position to score. But the Lions defense tightened up in the red zone, and held New York to a field goal that made it 17-10, Lions.
Just when it looked like the Lions’ offense would allow the Giants to get back in this game, rookie punt returner made the play of the game with this phenomenal 88-yard punt return, the fifth longest in Lions history:
The Lions defense took over from there. They ended the next two Giants drives with big fourth-down stops.
The Lions obviously still have some work to do. Matthew Stafford and the Lions’ offense essentially disappeared in the second half, and the running game is still very much a work in progress. But the Lions are 2-0 and have the sole lead in the NFC North.
Next up, the 2-0 Falcons.