Photo Credit: Seth Wenig/ Associated Press
The stakes were high as the Giants took the field for their final home game. With just three games remaining in the season, the need for the offense to come out and play cohesively today was vital. The Giants won the coin toss and started the game with the ball. In what seems like eons, the offense proceeded to methodically move the ball down field. The attack was balanced as Jennings and Perkins rushed the ball for 32 yards and Manning spread it around to Will Tye, Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard. The 75 yard, five and a half minute drive culminated with a six yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard in the right corner of the end zone. The Lions came out on the field and the Giants defense quickly forced them to the punt after gaining just ten yards on four plays. On their second possession of the opening frame they made the Giants defense work a bit harder. The 11 play drive was capped by a 48 yard field goal early in the second quarter, cutting the Giants lead to 7-3. Following the field goal the Detroit Lions looked like they were on the verge of scoring again after Golden Tate made a catch that he took 67 yards to the Giants eleven yard line. On the next play running back Zach Zenner rushed for seven yards but safety/cornerback Leon Hall forced a fumble and Olivier Vernon recovered it in the end zone for a touchback. It was a pivotal play and on the subsequent series the Giants would tack on three points to their lead. The Giants marched down the field and appeared to score a touchdown after Shane Vereen made a catch and took it 25 yards only to fumble it and have Victor Cruz recover it in the end zone. The entire play was called back after offensive lineman Bobby Hart was called for illegal use of the hands. One play later the Giants settled for a 47 yard Robbie Gould field goal that extended the Giants lead to 10-3. The lead would remain at seven points as the Giants headed into the third quarter.
The Lions came out in the third quarter and proceeded to efficiently move the ball down field. The Giants defense came up big, stopping the Lions on third and eight from the Giants fifteen yard line. The sack shared by Jonathan Hankins and Olivier Vernon forced the Lions to settle for a 33 yard field goal. It was the second time that the Giants were able to hold the Lions to a field goal in the red zone. Though Eli Manning was 17-for-21 for 149 yards through three quarters. His efficiency as a passer did not result in points as the Giants clung to a 10-6 lead at the close of the quarter. Yet again, the Giants relied on their defense to keep it close as the fourth quarter began. They were aided by the superb punting of Brad Wing whose 57 yard punt to start the fourth quarter was downed at the Lions three yard line. It was the second consecutive punt by Wing to be downed inside the five yard line. The Giants defense held the Lions to 36 yards on 9 plays and forced them to punt again. Manning and the offense took over with nine minutes to go in the game needing to add to their lead. The offense put together their second scoring drive when they marched 71 yards downfield in just under three and a half minutes. The drive ended, on third down and one from the Lions four yard line when Manning found Odell Beckham Jr., who reached out with his left hand, made the catch and then ran it in for the score. It was a dazzling catch that Giants fans have become accustomed to seeing Beckham make on a fairly routine basis. The touchdown gave the Giants breathing room and an eleven point cushion with just over five minutes remaining. On the Lions final drive of the game they quickly moved the ball down field but an interception by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on a pass intended for Golden Tate in the end zone sealed the victory. The Giants took over with a minute and fifty eight seconds remaining and proceeded to run out most of the clock. The Lions got the ball back with enough time to run one play but the game was already over.
The 17-6 win over the Lions was yet another example of how this Giants teams seems to find ways to win, week in and week out relying on a strong defensive effort and just enough offense to get by. On Thursday night the Giants will play the Eagles in Philadelphia.
Dan Evans is Contributing Writer for PureSportsNY You can follow him on Twitter @DanEvansPSNY