C'mon, you didn't really think it would be easy, did you? The Giants struggled mightily at times in…
X's and O's
Eli Manning made only four errant throws, despite that he attempted 39 passes. Of his 11 incompletions, three were dropped, two were batted down, being hit caused one and he threw one away. Manning completed six-of-seven passes for 49 yards and a touchdown, and sneaked up the middle for a first down on a third-and-one play on the Giants' touchdown drive late in the first half. Bottom Line: Manning would get more respect if he played this well regularly.
RB Brandon Jacobs left the ball exposed in his right arm, which enabled MLB Paris Lenon to strip him early in the third quarter. The turnover ended a promising drive, as LDE Jared DeVries recovered the fumble at the Lions' 26. Jacobs broke through FS Gerald Alexander's tackle attempt at the Lions' 4 and crossed the plane with the ball for a 10-yard touchdown reception that helped give the Giants a 10-0 lead with 23 seconds left before halftime. Bottom Line: Jacobs started strong, but then he fumbled and pulled his hamstring.
WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
WR Plaxico Burress dropped two well-thrown Manning passes, one on first down and one on third down, during the Giants' opening drive of the second half. WR Sinorice Moss failed to properly protect the ball after an eight-yard reception across the middle, so SS Kenoy Kennedy stripped him. Kennedy recovered the fumble at Detroit's 21, with 12:11 left in the second quarter, which cost the Giants a scoring opportunity. Bottom Line: This hobbled Burress isn't much of a difference-maker.
RT Kareem McKenzie didn't recognize blitzing WLB Boss Bailey in time to prevent an easy seven-yard sack that backed the Giants into a third-and-18 predicament late in the third quarter. LG Rich Seurbert sealed off Lenon in open space to create the room Jacobs needed to run for 18 yards on the first play of the Giants' touchdown drive late in the first half. Bottom Line: Manning was protected pretty well.
LDE Michael Strahan used power and speed to get around convereted center/guard Blaine Saipaia, then came back up into the pocket to drop QB Jon Kitna for an eight-yard sack early in the third quarter. Strahan's swim move got him inside Saipaia and he dropped Kitna for an eight-yard sack just before halftime. Strahan overpowered RT George Foster, pushed him out of position and sacked Kitna for a 10-yard loss that forced Detroit into a third-and-19 situation early in the second quarter. Bottom Line: A non-tackle was often alone on Strahan.
MLB Antonio Pierce's pursuit prevented WR Shaun McDonald from gaining more than 20 yards on a reception that moved Detroit to the Giants' 33 early in the third quarter. McDonald might've had enough space to scoot into the open field had Pierce not tracked him down. Bottom Line: They're not making many plays.
RCB Sam Madison showed awareness by making a win-clinching interception of a ball McDonald should've caught at the Giants' 30 with 48 seconds left in the game. SS James Butler out-leaped McDonald for a pick in the end zone, with 1:54 to play in the game. Madison got his left hand up just in time to tip a Kitna pass intended for WR Roy Williams across the middle, and FS Gibril Wilson intercepted it at the Giants' 42 late in the third quarter. Bottom Line: They were opportunistic.
K Lawrence Tynes got plenty of distance on a 46-yard FG he drilled right down the middle for a 13-3 Giants lead with 2:47 to go in the third quarter. DT Fred Robbins leaped and got his right hand high enough to tip K Jason Hanson's failed 52-yard FG attempt, with about six minutes left in the third quarter. RB Reuben Droughns' block on CB Travis Fisher created the open lane near the sideline that sprung RB Ahmad Bradshaw for his 68-yard kickoff return early in the third quarter. Bottom Line: These units were essential to the win.
When you're nursing a six-point lead and get the ball back with 1:54 left in the game, offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride has to find ways to use more than 18 seconds before punting the ball back. But Gilbride spread the ball around all day. WR Sinorice Moss had his best day as a pro (four catches, 46 yards) and Jacobs had four first-half catches, more than he had caught in any of the six entire games he had previously played this season. Bottom Line: They won a road game against a team with a winning record.
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