Matthew Stafford threw for two touchdowns, Ameer Abdullah ran for 86 yards, and the Detroit Lions rolled over the New York Giants, 24-10, on Monday Night Football. The team didn’t really dominate in any fashion, as the yardage totals for both teams were similar and each recorded one turnover, but the Lions took advantage of some big plays on fourth down and special teams to improve to 2-0.
Final score: Lions 24, Giants 10
Lions 24, Giants 10: Another possession and another failed fourth down attempt for New York. The comeback effort isn’t looking too hot right now.
Lions 24, Giants 10: New York went for it on fourth down near midfield and completed a pass to running back Shane Vereen that fell short of a first down. The referees initially brought out the chains and ruled it was a first down, but the Lions challenged the spot of the ball and won. When the chains were brought back out for another measurement, the ball was well short of a first down, giving possession back to Detroit.
Lions 24, Giants 10: Rookie Jamal Agnew went flying through the middle of the New York special teams for an 88-yard punt return touchdown off a 60-yard punt. Once he juked out punter Brad Wing in the middle of the field, he was a goner.
Juked him unconscious. pic.twitter.com/QbqesXnTUH— The Ten-Yard Line (@TheTenYardLine) September 19, 2017
Lions 17, Giants 10: Brandon Marshall appeared to have cornerback D.J. Hayden beat near the sideline for a deep pass, but he simply dropped it. The wideout could be seen reacting in frustration after the play, which cost New York a first down. After an underwhelming season opener for Marshall, he’s continued struggling in Week 2.
Lions 17, Giants 10: Eli Manning finally got some time to make plays in the pocket, and did just that with a 38-yard deep pass to tight end Jerell Adams and a 17-yard pass that put the offense at the 1-yard line. However, things stalled from there as a pair of penalties forced the team to settle for a 25-yard field goal from Aldrick Rosas.
It’s a good sign for New York that the team was able to get its offense chugging for a couple minutes there, but this was a missed opportunity after getting so close to the end zone.
Lions 17, Giants 7: Eli Manning keeps getting sacked, and offensive tackle Ereck Flowers in particular has struggled badly. One Giants fan provided a review.
Halftime: Lions 17, Giants 7
Lions 17, Giants 7: Matt Prater needed his kick to go 56 yards for a field goal late in the second quarter. He got there, but it was as close as you could possibly imagine. The ball bounced off the crossbar and squeaked through by that much.
Somehow, he managed to do this (and hit a 58-yarder last week) without his regular holder, too.
Matt Prater's 58-yarder and 56-yarder were with two different holders, neither of whom is his regular holder. https://t.co/T803rnWhrD— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) September 19, 2017
We already knew Prater had power — he kicked the longest NFL field goal ever in 2013 — but this was an impressive and hilarious reminder. He’s now 38-of-47 on kicks of 50-plus yards in his career, including 9-of-9 since the start of the 2016 season.
Lions 14, Giants 7: Eric Ebron caught just one touchdown pass last season, but he’s already reached that total this year after hooking up with Matthew Stafford for a 7-yard score Monday night. The tight end didn’t have a great Week 1 with just two catches for nine yards on three targets, but he’s already up to five catches for 42 yards and a TD against New York.
Lions 7, Giants 7: The two teams traded turnovers early in the second quarter. First, New York stopped a Lions’ drive in its tracks when Jason Pierre-Paul knocked the ball from Matthew Stafford before he could throw it and the defense recovered it. New York gave it right back, however, with an incredible interception by linebacker Tahir Whitehead off a tipped pass on the very next play.
Lions 7, Giants 7: New York spent the final few minutes of the first quarter trekking through the Lions’ defense, then made on the first play of the second quarter with an Eli Manning touchdown pass to Evan Engram. The eight-play, 75-yard drive was all about Manning, who has already spread the ball around to five different receivers for six completions.
Engram did get busted for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the touchdown for grabbing his crotch, however. Gotta be careful out there!
Lions 7, Giants 0: Taking advantage of the good field position afforded by a three-and-out on the Giants’ opening drive, the Lions drove down the field and got on the scoreboard with a 27-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Marvin Jones.
Detroit leaned on running back Ameer Abdullah to drive inside the 30-yard line, then Stafford delivered a perfect deep pass to Jones, who used his size to jockey for inside positioning to catch the ball. The Lions QB has completed 5 of 6 passes for 61 yards and a touchdown so far.
Lions 0, Giants 0: The Lions nearly took the lead on an Eli Manning fumble that the defense returned for a touchdown on New York’s first possession of the game, but video review showed Manning’s knee hit the ground before the ball was pried loose. The Giants then ran a draw on third-and-13 and punted from deep in their own end.
Before the game
The New York Giants are on primetime for the second week in a row when they host the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN). They’ll hope to have a much better performance than their Week 1 stinker against the Dallas Cowboys, with Odell Beckham Jr. set to make his season debut.
Beckham sat out the season opener after spraining his ankle in the preseason. The Giants’ offense withered and died without him on the field, managing just 233 total yards in a 19-3 loss. The offensive line continues to be a major weak spot, letting Eli Manning get sacked three times while the running game was nonexistent. Paul Perkins and Orleans Darkwa combined for just 30 yards on 10 carries. Brandon Marshall was a non-factor with one catch on four targets.
The Lions also have problems with their run game, but it didn’t matter much in their 35-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals. Matthew Stafford picked up his fourth-quarter heroics again, hitting Kenny Golladay on two touchdown passes that pulled the Lions ahead. Stafford finished the day with four touchdowns and 292 yards on 29-of-41 passing.
Detroit’s offense looks like it’ll be a high-scoring machine again, even with the backfield struggling. Ameer Abdullah was held to 30 yards on 15 carries, getting no room against the Cardinals’ front seven. Stafford will likely have to air it out again, but he’ll have a much tougher matchup with the Giants’ defense.
New York held Dak Prescott to 268 yards and didn’t let Ezekiel Elliott find the end zone. The defense did everything it had to, making the offensive collapse even more frustrating. Beckham being back should help, but if Manning doesn’t show signs of life then the Giants’ season could go south in a hurry. Teams that start off 0-2 have an extremely slim chance of making the playoffs, so the Giants should have an increased sense of urgency in their home opener.
- The Giants’ Week 1 loss reaffirmed the obvious: They can’t win without Beckham.
“OBJ is gonna play” will be the Giants’ new slogan soon enough, if not this week then before too long. Manning will get his favorite target back, and Marshall, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, etc. should be able to get open more easily.
But Beckham’s presence won’t fix the offensive line. And that should be a legitimate concern for the Giants right now.
- Big Blue View looks at the matchup between the Lions’ running backs and Giants’ linebackers:
The Lions running backs are a different animal than the Cowboys. Abdullah and especially Riddick are open space players who take dump offs and keep the chains moving. Riddick last year had 53 catches and five touchdowns in only 10 games. Riddick challenges the edges and makes plays in the run game. Pro Football Focus calls Riddick the best receiving back in the league. Riddick is also a weapon of choice in the red zone for offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. Riddick adds a dimension to the Lions offense that was missing last year when the Giants defense stifled the Lions in New York.
- Pride of Detroit makes a case for Stafford being the best QB in the clutch:
However, 2016 proved that Stafford’s excellence in the final two minutes of the game can lead to serious wins. Not only did Stafford and the Lions have eight fourth quarter comebacks last season, but six of those included a go-ahead or game-tying score in the final two minutes of regulation or overtime.
There is a changing of the guard happening at quarterback. And while the national media may not see it yet, we do. Progress is slow, and people are still just becoming aware of Stafford’s ability in the fourth quarter, but they’ll eventually become keen to the type of player he is in high pressure situations.
- In their Week 2 preview, Pride of Detroit highlighted rookie linebacker Jarrad Davis as a player to watch:
While Davis continued his preseason struggles in coverage, he was a monster tackler against the Cardinals. His nine solo tackles was five more than anyone else on the team. If you’re going to run the ball against the Lions, you’re going to have to go through him from on now.