It wasn’t pretty, but the Detroit Lions finally got back on the winning side with a 31-26 win over the New York Giants. Detroit held two-score leads for long portions of the game, but mistakes on both sides of the ball kept the Giants in the game for all four quarters. Still, The Lions made just enough plays to keep the Giants at bay.
Here’s how it happened.
The Lions defense got off to a much more promising start than last week. After allowing 10 yards on the opening play, Detroit’s defense got a quick stop.
The Lions got decent field position to start, and with Tra Carson starting at running back, their offense looked like it was humming along nicely again. However, as the Lions crossed midfield, Matthew Stafford made a completely ill-advised throw into double coverage and was picked off by Janoris Jenkins.
Detroit would quickly make amends, as a timely Jarrad Davis blitz sent rookie quarterback Daniel Jones reeling. Jones desperately heaved the ball to the flats, but it went backwards and Devon Kennard scooped and scored for a Lions touchdown.
Detroit’s defense nearly got another big play on the next possession, as safety Tracy Walker made an incredibly play on a deep pass from Jones. However, it looked like his heel just barely landed out of bounds. Still, the Lions got a three-and-out and got the offense ball back at their own 29-yard line.
Detroit, again, worked their way to midfield, and just as it looked like the Lions were going to stall again, they called Marvin Hall’s number. On a third-and-15, Hall beat his defender by a good 5 yards, and Stafford found him for the 49-yard score.
But the Giants would answer. Thanks to a big third-down conversion from a guy named Golden Tate, New York found themselves in scoring position. A few Saquon Barkley runs later, Jones found Darius Slayton for a 22-yard score with Rashaan Melvin is coverage. 14-7 Lions.
Daniel Jones to Darius Slayton. Trust. The. Process. pic.twitter.com/KIKBCemYKT— October Randazzo (@JimmyRandazzo) October 27, 2019
Detroit offense got rolling again, but a chop block penalty on T.J. Hockenson and Taylor Decker sent the Lions way back in the downs. Detroit would work their way into field goal position, but Matt Prater just missed the 53-yarder wide right, giving the Giants good field position.
New York would take advantage of the good field position, as Jones dropped a great ball to Slayton again, who made an incredibly contested catch for the 28-yard score. But Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas shaked the extra point, keeping the Lions in front. 14-13 Lions.
What a catch!— NFL (@NFL) October 27, 2019
Darius Slayton hauls in the pass from @Daniel_Jones10 for his 2nd TD of the day! @Young_Slay2 #GiantsPride #NYGvsDET
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Watch free on mobile: https://t.co/a16R5wPShJ pic.twitter.com/dVSlQOeqp1
Detroit’s running game continued to be inept, causing the offense to be in tough third down situations. A sack on Stafford also put them back in the sticks and they went three-and-out.
The Giants made a big mistake on the ensuing punt, as Sam Martin was run into, giving Detroit a first down with under two minutes remaining in the half. Let’s just call the penalty... iffy:
Still, the Lions offense struggled to get much going. Stafford missed a wide open Ty Johnson for a potential big gain, so Detroit had to attempt a 52-yard field goal. This time, Prater was true. 17-13 Lions.
The two teams would take that score into the half.
Detroit would get the ball first and after a healthy dose of Danny Amendola—who caught passes of 12 and 15 yards on this drive—the Lions were already in the red zone. Facing a third-and-2, Stafford found Kenny Golladay by the left pylong and the Lions receiver wrestled it away from the Giants defender to push the game to two scores. 24-13 Lions.
Stafford to Golladay for the score to start the 2nd half.pic.twitter.com/uhoPq71BP0— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) October 27, 2019
The Giants offense got a big play in response, as Saquon Barkley beat Christian Jones on an angle route that went for 38 yards. Detroit looked like they got a stop to hold New York to a field goal, but a holding penalty on Justin Coleman gave the Giants first-and-goal from the 5. Three plays later, Jones would find a wide open Evan Engram on a pick play for the score. Worse yet, safety Tracy Walker was injured on the play, leaving Detroit shorthanded at safety. Detroit did stop the two point conversion, though. 24-19 Lions.
Detroit, still hampered by a lack of running game, quickly went three-and-out, giving the Giants an opportunity for their first lead of the game.
Once again, a bad defensive holding penalty kept the Giants drive alive when Detroit’s defense should have gotten off the field. This time, Rashaan Melvin held on a third-and-10, erasing a Lions sack. The Giants then worked the ball to midfield before the end of the quarter.
Facing a key third down, Detroit sent a big blitz and were able to deflect Jones’ pass, knocking it harmlessly to the ground and getting a much-needed needed stop on defense.
And that’s when the Detroit Lions emptied the playbook on the Giants. Stafford pitched the ball to J.D. McKissic, who threw the ball back to Stafford, who found a wide open Kenny Golladay for a 41-yard score.
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As the Giants started to drive to draw the game back to one-score, Trey Flowers made a huge impact on the game. With back-to-back sacks, the Giants were in desperation mode and had to go for it on fourth-and-7. A big pass breakup by Justin Coleman got Detroit the turnover on downs.
But the Lions offense followed it up with the worst possession imaginable. Negative running play. Sack. And on third down, Golladay fumbled, giving New York the ball inside Detroit’s 40-yard line.
Detroit’s defense would get another stop, however. Jones challenged Mike Ford on back-to-back passes on third and fourth down. There was a lot of contact on both plays, but the refs deemed no foul—even after they originally threw a flag on fourth down.
The Lions would need to bleed 3:27 of the clock to come away with the win. Detroit would not do that. They went three and out, burning just one minute off the clock. New York would have just over two minutes to score twice with no timeouts.
The first touchdown was no problem for the Giants. After a big pass interference penalty, Jones found Barkley for an easy 4-yard score. 31-26 Lions.
It would come down to the onside kick team to put this one away for Detroit. But the Giants kicker just kicked it out of bounds to make their job easy, and the game was over.
The Lions move to 3-3-1, out of the basement of the NFC North after the Bears’ hilarious meltdown.
The Detroit Lions will try to salvage their season on Sunday as they face a New York Giants team in full rebuild.
It’s been a tough week for the Lions organization. They saw their record drop below .500 for the first time this season, had their best running back placed on injured reserve, and traded away a team leader and starting safety in Quandre Diggs.
Spirits are low in Detroit, the NFC standings are daunting, and there is some, let’s just say, discontent in the locker room.
But winning cures all, and if Detroit can string together some victories starting with the Giants, then who know where the franchise can go from there.
Here’s how you can catch Detroit’s crucial Week 8 matchup.
How to watch Lions-Giants
Date: Sunday, October 27, 2019
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Location: Ford Field — Detroit, MI
Week 8 TV Map: Courtesy of 506 Sports here
Announcers: Kenny Albert, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver
Online streaming: Yahoo Sports app
Local radio: WJR-AM NEWS TALK 760
Radio announcers: Dan Miller, Lomas Brown
Odds: Lions by 7