Stat worth noting: The Giants defense only allowed Detroit to convert one third down out of 10 opportunities.
Stat worth noting II: New York controlled the ball for more than 35 minutes.
Turning point: The Giants had a 13-3 lead as the third quarter wound down. Yet the usually-dangerous Lions were on the march and looking to finally break through offensively. However, Jon Kitna’s pass bounced off the hands of Roy Williams, and Gibril Wilson picked off the pass. That set up another Giants field goal that extended New York’s lead to 16-3. Obviously, they needed every bit of that lead.
Play to remember: The Lions had finally gotten on the scoreboard, via a 42-yard Jason Hanson field goal, and had some semblance of momentum. That lasted all of about a minute or so. Ahmad Bradshaw took the ensuing kickoff and brought it back 68 yards all the way to the Lions 34. While it didn’t lead directly to points due to Brandon Jacobs’ fumble shortly thereafter, it shifted not only the field position, but the momentum squarely back in New York’s favor as well.
Play to forget: Yes, Sinorice Moss finally contributed on offense, catching two passes early in the second quarter. Yet the second grab, an eight-yard catch that was going to be a first down deep in Detroit territory, ended in terrible fashion for Moss, who coughed up the ball when he was hit by Kenoy Kennedy. The Lions safety also recovered Moss’ gaffe, giving Detroit the ball at its own 21, and thwarting a big opportunity to extend a 3-0 lead for Big Blue in the process.
By the Numbers
3 – Number of sacks for Giants defensive end Michael Strahan, who now has eight on the season.
7 – Number of wins for the Giants with six games to play. They only won eight contests all last season.
25 – Rushing yards for the Lions. Kevin Jones averaged only 2.3 yards per carry.
“It’s good after you lose a game to come back in and get a win and get our spirits back up. That was a big win for us today.” – Giants QB Eli Manning
“It’s more difficult because that is not a better football team than us. We gave them the football game today.” – Lions QB Jon Kitna
What went right
The Giants defense gave up plenty of yardage (376) but was able to hold Detroit to a mere 10 points. In their three previous home games the Lions were averaging 34.7 points per game. Antonio Pierce paced the defense with 10 tackles and a forced and recovered fumble.
Eli Manning was able to spread the ball around very well, utilizing nine different receivers and averaging 10.1 yards per completion.
James Butler and Sam Madison posted late-game INTs to put the Lions’ last-gasp comeback bid to bed. Jon Kitna’s long heave to Shaun McDonald was picked off by Butler. New York’s safety had great coverage and out-leapt McDonald for the ball at the goal line. Then, in the game’s final minute, McDonald couldn’t handle a Kitna pass, which was grabbed out of the air by Madison.
Tom Coughlin’s wise challenge late in the second quarter paid dividends for Big Blue. On a third-and-three from their own 48-yard line Lions WR Shaun McDonald caught a short pass and appeared to be down before the first-down marker. However, the official ruled that he was never down by contact. Coughlin challenged the call, the play was reversed and Detroit was forced to punt.
What went wrong
Despite the three key second-half interceptions by New York’s secondary, Big Blue was blistered by Lions receivers Shaun McDonald and Roy Williams. McDonald posted 113 yards on seven catches and Williams grabbed six passes for 106 yards. Rookie Calvin Johnson tossed in a 35-yard TD grab for good measure.
Once Brandon Jacobs went down with a hamstring injury at the end of the third quarter, the Giants running game crumbled. In Jacobs’ stead, Reuben Droughns was only able to gain 13 yards on 11 carries as the Giants offense was unsuccessful in milking the clock.
The Giants weren’t especially crisp on third downs. New York was only able to convert on four of its 14 tries.
Justin Tuck didn’t get near the quarterback – legally, at least – all game long for the first time in recent memory. He was, however, flagged for a roughing the quarterback penalty with a little more than two minutes to play.