It would have been easy to ignore the Detroit Lions’ two-game winning streak at the start of Week 11. Not only did they barely fare in both games, but those wins came against the lowly Green Bay Packers. and the Chicago Bears.
However, on Sunday the Lions made a huge statement. Heading to New York for a game against the surprisingly 7-2 Giants, Detroit dominated every aspect of the game. On offense, the Lions rushed for over 150 yards and found the end zone four times. On defense, they forced a normally healthy Giants offense to three turnovers.
In the end, the final score of 31-18 was not very emblematic of the true competitiveness of the game. Detroit had an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter and it never really got closer.
Detroit has now won three straight and at 4-6 it’s almost socially acceptable to talk about being in the playoff hunt. A big opportunity awaits you against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday, but for now, enjoy the win.
Here’s how it all happened.
The Lions won the toss and deferred, giving the ball to the Giants first. Detroit’s defense had a quick opportunity to get off the field in the third-and-seventh, and Alim McNeill crossed the middle of the line for the sack and a quick three-and-out.
The Lions offense landed a first down on the ground, then moved the sticks on a rough passer after failing to convert on third down. A sneaky Jared Goff picked up the next third down, pushing Detroit into field goal territory. Detroit went down inside the Giants 10-yard line, but on a fourth-and-2, Dan Campbell opted to throw a field goal. 3-0 Lions.
The Giants offense continued to move without a huddle and found themselves in a fourth-and-key in midfield. New York converted to a sweep throw, laying down a first down on Detroit’s 44-yard line.
On the next set of downs, Campbell made an interesting decision denying a waiting penalty, giving the Giants a third-and-8 rather than a second-and-19. New York eventually converted and eventually moved on inside the Lions 10-yard line. A few plays later, Giants quarterback Daniel Jones danced into the end zone on a designed run, giving New York a 6-3 Giants leads after a missed extra point (deflected by John Cominsky).
Detroit’s offense appeared to be going quick three-and-three after their first quick screen was blown for a 3-yard loss. But Kalif Raymond grabbed a third and long screen, got up and scampered off for a first down. Lions starting right guard Evan Brown was injured on the play, with Dan Skipper replacing him. Brown has been officially labeled doubtful to return with an ankle injury. In the second half, he was demoted to OUT.
After Jared Goff’s misfires and a yard run from Williams, Detroit faced a third-and-9 going into the second quarter.
Goff rushed in for a first down, but was recalled on a waiting penalty on Penei Sewell. A personal foul on Jonah Jackson pushed the Lions back even further, eventually leading to a punt.
Detroit continued to bottle Saquon Barkley — he had just 11 yards on his first eight carries — but Jones proved to be the biggest threat, both with his legs and his arm. Jones picked up 9 yards on a point and another 7 on a third-and-three. He also got the Giants well out of a second and long with a completion to Kenny Golladay. Detroit eventually got a stoppage, however, after coverage forced Jones to throw. The Giants pitched with Raymond making a good catch on his own 8-yard line.
On this record, Jeff Okudah left the game with an injury, and was declared OUT shortly after being released for the remainder of the match as he entered concussion protocol.
Detroit’s offense responded with three outs due to some critical errors by D’Andre Swift. On second down he caught a pass and had enough yardage for a first down but fumbled and lost another 2 yards even though he recovered. They gave him the ball in third-and-1 on a sweep, but Swift took too long to cut the pitch and missed 2 yards.
But rookie Aidan Hutchinson quickly recovered the ball from the Lions attack with this impressive fingertip interception:
A few plays later, Jamaal Williams hit it to give the Lions a 10-6 Lions conduct.
Although New York was able to move the ball into midfield the next practice, Jerry Jacobs had a nice third and five saves with tight coverage. A punt returned the ball to Detroit at the 32-yard line with just over two minutes left.
A nice play found Amon-Ra St. Brown wide open for a 32-yard gain, and after a 15-yard run from Williams, the Lions were in the red zone. A back block on Sewell put them back, but St. Brown quickly clawed back 15 yards, and Brock Wright caught a third-and-2 pass that brought Detroit to the 1-yard line. Williams struck for his second of the game – and his 11th of the season to do so 17-6 Lions.
Cornerback Jerry Jacobs fell on the next kick, but went off on his own and would come back in the second half.
With 44 seconds and no timeouts, the Giants tried to cut Detroit’s lead. A big 19-yard pass on third-and-10 gave them a chance, but they were eventually sacked, ending the half.
Justin Jackson gave the Lions a great start to the second half with a kick return to the 44-yard line. Detroit missed a big play after fullback Jason Cabinda dropped a pass that would have gone at least 15 yards. But Goff converted a third and a 9 with a 13-yard pass to Tom Kennedy. Then the Lions racing game started to take over. Jackson picked up 10 yards and Swift followed with 16 yards to himself. St. Brown brought them to the 1-yard line, and it was Jamaal Williams again, for a big opener. 24-6 Lions.
The Giants offense tried to respond after completing a 24-yard pass to Darius Slayton on a third-and-four first. But New York went there later on a fourth and five, and Jones threw it straight to Lions rookie safety Kerby Joseph, who scooped it up and sent it back to the Giants 41-yard line.
Detroit couldn’t capitalize on the ensuing possession, but a nice punt from Jack Fox pinned the Giants at their own 7-yard line.
Jones dug up the Giants with an 18-yard pass to Slayton. But three straight midfield incompletions forced another Giants punt, and the Lions would start the next practice at their own 9-yard line with three minutes left in the third quarter.
But Detroit, again, went to three and returned the ball to the Giants on their own 33-yard line with just over a minute left. The Lions had a chance to get an early dagger on fourth-and-first, but Jones picked up 15 yards on a QB guard.
Jones quickly led the Giants inside the 10-yard line with a few throws down the middle and yet another QB guard. And Matt Breida hit him from the 3-yard line to do it Lions 24-12 just two minutes into the quarter. The extra point bounced off the post.
Detroit avoided another three-and-out with a nice play pass to Kalif Raymond for 21 yards, bringing the Lions into midfield. On the third-and-7 that followed, Goff rushed in and found St. Brown for a major 17-yard pickup. But Detroit’s offense stalled there, and instead of going for 52 yards in windy conditions, the Lions took a late game penalty and punted. Fox sent him through the end zone for a touchback.
The Giants, down 12, had 8:45 to score twice and stage another comeback. And though Jones made a clutch conversion in third-and-15, Will Harris landed a huge jab on Isaiah Hodgins and dropped the ball, forcing a fumble that Hutchinson recovered at the Giants 33-yard line.
Jackson made sure the turnover didn’t go to waste as the Lions’ third back ripped an impressive 27-yard run to the Giants 2-yard line. Although Swift was initially stopped for a 2-yard loss, he hit it on the next play from 4 yards to do it 31-12 Lions with 6:10 left.
Jones quickly led the Giants onto the field with the Lions playing out of cover. Richie James scored and New York went for two, but it wasn’t good after a wide open drop. The left the score Lions 31-18 with 4h20 remaining.
St. Brown recovered the Giants kick attempt. A few early tries from the Lions attack ended the game for good.