It would’ve been easy to shrug off the Detroit Lions’ two-game winning streak going into Week 11. Not only did they barely get by in both games, but those wins came against the lowly Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.
However, on Sunday, the Lions made a huge statement. Heading into New York for a contest against the surprisingly 7-2 Giants, Detroit dominated every aspect of the game. On offense, the Lions tallied over 150 yards on the ground and found the end zone four times. On defense, they forced a normally-sound Giants offense into three turnovers.
In the end, the final score of 31-18 wasn’t very emblematic of the actual competitiveness of the game. Detroit carried an 18-point lead into the fourth quarter and it never really got much closer than that.
Detroit has now won three in a row and at 4-6, it’s close to socially acceptable to be talking about being in the playoff race. A big opportunity awaits 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 Giants the ball first. Detroit’s defense got a quick opportunity to get off the field on third-and-7, and Alim McNeill burst through the middle of the line for the sack and quick three-and-out.
The Lions offense picked up a first down on the ground, and then moved the sticks on a roughing the passer after failing convert on third down. A Jared Goff sneak picked up the subsequent third down, pushing Detroit into field goal territory. Detroit got down inside the Giants’ 10-yard line, but on a fourth-and-2, Dan Campbell opted to kick a field goal. 3-0 Lions.
The Giants offense continued to move in no-huddle, and found themselves in a key fourth-and-1 at midfield. New York converted on a jet sweep, setting up a first down at Detroit’s 44-yard line.
On the next set of downs, Campbell made an interesting decision to decline a holding penalty, giving the Giants a third-and-8 rather than a second-and-19. New York ended up converting, and eventually moved it 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 lead after a missed extra point (deflected by John Cominsky).
Detroit’s offense looked like they were quickly going to go three-and-out after their first down quick screen was blown up for a 3-yard loss. But Kalif Raymond caught a third-and-long screen, got on his feet, and scampered for a first down. Lions starting right guard Evan Brown was injured on the play, with Dan Skipper replacing him. Brown was officially labeled as questionable to return with an ankle injury. In the second half, he was downgraded to OUT.
After Jared Goff misfired and a 1-yard run from Williams, Detroit faced a third-and-9 going into the second quarter.
Goff scrambled for a first down, but it was called back on a holding penalty on Penei Sewell. A personal foul on Jonah Jackson pushed the Lions even further back, eventually leading to a punt.
Detroit continued to bottle up Saquon Barkley—he had just 11 yards on his first eight carries—but Jones was proving to be the bigger threat, both with his legs and his arm. Jones picked up 9 yards on one run and another 7 on a third-and-3. He also nicely got the Giants out of a second-and-long with a completion to Kenny Golladay. Detroit eventually got a stop, though, after coverage forced a throwaway from Jones. The Giants punted with Raymond making a fair catch at his own 8-yard line.
On that drive, Jeff Okudah left the game with an injury, and was declared OUT shortly after his exit for the rest of the game as he entered concussion protocol.
Detroit’s offense answered with three-and-out due to a couple of critical errors from D’Andre Swift. On second down, he caught a pass and had enough yardage for a first down, but fumbled and lost an extra 2 yards even though he recovered. They gave him the ball on third-and-1 on a sweep play, but Swift took too long to cut upfield and came up 2 yards short.
But rookie Aidan Hutchinson got the Lions offense the ball back in a hurry with this impressive fingertip interception:
A few plays later, Jamaal Williams punched it in to give the Lions a 10-6 Lions lead.
Though New York was able to move the ball to midfield on the next drive, Jerry Jacobs picked up a nice third-and-5 stop with tight coverage. A shanked punt gave the ball back to Detroit at the 32-yard line with just over two minutes left.
A nice play-action shot found Amon-Ra St. Brown wide open for a 32-yard gain, and after a 15-yard run from Williams, the Lions were into the red zone. A block in the back on Sewell pushed them back, but St. Brown quickly picked up 15 yards back, and Brock Wright caught a clutch third-and-2 pass that got Detroit to the 1-yard line. Williams punched it in for his second of the game—and his 11th on the season to make it 17-6 Lions.
Cornerback Jerry Jacobs went down on the subsequent kick returned but walked off under his own power and would return in the second half.
With 44 seconds and no timeouts left, the Giants attempted to cut into Detroit’s lead. A big 19-yard pass play on third-and-10 gave them a chance, but they ultimately were sacked, ending the half.
Justin Jackson gave the Lions a nice start to the second half with a kick return all the way to the 44-yard line. Detroit missed on a big play after fullback Jason Cabinda dropped a pass that would’ve gone for at least 15 yards. But Goff converted a third-and-9 with a 13-yard pass to Tom Kennedy. Then, the Lions run game started to take over. Jackson picked up 10 yards and Swift followed it with 16 yards of his own. St. Brown got them down to the 1-yard line, and it was Jamaal Williams time yet again, for a big opening drive. 24-6 Lions.
The Giants offense tried to respond after completing a 24-yard pass to Darius Slayton on an early third-and-4. But New York went for it on a later fourth-and-5, and Jones threw it directly to Lions rookie safety Kerby Joseph, who picked it off and returned it to the Giants’ 41-yard line.
Detroit couldn’t capitalize on the ensuing possession, but a nice Jack Fox punt pinned the Giants at their own 7-yard line.
Jones dug the Giants out with an 18-yard pass to Slayton. But three straight incompletions at midfield forced another Giants punt, and the Lions would start the next drive at their own 9-yard line with three minutes left in the third quarter.
But Detroit, again, went three-and-out, giving the ball back to the Giants at their own 33-yard line with just over a minute remaining. The Lions had a chance to get an early dagger on fourth-and-1, but Jones picked up 15 yards on a QB keeper.
Jones quickly drove the Giants inside the 10-yard line with some throws over the middle and yet another QB keeper. And Matt Breida punched it in from the 3-yard line to make it 24-12 Leos just two minutes into the quarter. The extra point bounced off the upright.
Detroit avoided another three-and-out with a nice play-action pass to Kalif Raymond for 21 yards, getting the Lions to midfield. On the ensuing third-and-7, Goff scrambled and found St. Brown for an important 17-yard pickup. But Detroit’s offense stalled there, and instead of attempting a 52-yarder in the windy conditions, the Lions took a delay of game penalty and punted. Fox feels it through the end zone for a touchback.
The Giants, down 12, had 8:45 left to score twice and mount yet another comeback. And although Jones made a clutch conversion on third-and-15, Will Harris laid a huge hit on Isaiah Hodgins and jarred the ball loose, forcing a fumble that Hutchinson recovered on the Giants’ 33-yard line.
Jackson made sure the turnover didn’t go to waste as the Lions third-string back ripped off an impressive 27-yard run down to the Giants’ 2-yard line. Though Swift initially got stopped for a 2-yard loss, he punched it in on the next play from 4 yards out to make it 31-12 Lions with 6:10 left.
Jones quickly drove the Giants down the field with the Lions playing off coverage. Richie James scored, and New York went for two, but it was no good after a wide-open drop. The left the score 31-18 Leos with 4:20 left.
St. Brown recovered the Giants’ onside kick attempt. A couple of first downs from the Lions offense put the game away for good.