The New York Giants won a methodical, if unassuming game, over the Detroit Lions, 28-20, behind an efficient performance by Eli Manning and strong running from Ahmad Bradshaw.
Manning, who joined Phil Simms as the only New York Giant passers in team history to surpass 20,000 yards, was an economical 20-of-30 for 177 yards and two touchdowns. Bradshaw, meanwhile, went for a game-high 133 yards rushing — the second consecutive time Bradshaw went over the 100-yard threshold.
New York (4-2) didn’t pile up the sacks as it did in its two previous games but it did get to starting quarterback Shaun Hill enough for knockdowns and to force errant throws.
Hill, who’s filled in admirably for the injured Matthew Stafford, left the game for good around the two-minute warning with a forearm fracture.
Hill went 9-for-15 for 91 yards and a touchdown. His fill-in, third-string quarterback Drew Stanton, had a commendable afternoon, going for 19-of-34 with 222 yards, one touchdown and one interception. New York only had two sacks on the day — both by Osi Umenyiora. They were Umenyiora’s sixth and seventh sacks of the season and all but one have been of the strip-sack variety.
Detroit (1-5) proved to be the proverbial “trap game” for New York, as they now shift their focus to the Dallas Cowboys, next Monday night. The Giants had a lackluster performance defensively — particularly in the secondary — as Terrell Thomas was the most victimized in allowing both Detroit touchdowns.
Nate Burleson had the first, while Calvin Johnson (five catches, 146 yards) registered the second. Big Blue, however, managed to fight through the malaise to put away the frisky Lions with a late-game interception by Antrel Rolle.
What went right …
1 Stopping the rush — The Giants finally got its first-team O-line back healthy with the return of C Shaun O’Hara, and were a cohesive unit for the first time all season. Although there wasn’t an offensive explosion for Big Blue, New York methodically executed. QB Eli Manning was an efficient 20-of-30 for 177 yards and two TDs, while RB Ahmad Bradshaw tallied 133 yards rushing. Even backup Brandon Jacobs (nine carries, 35 yards) looked decent.
2 King of the Hill — The Giants defense didn’t rack up the sacks against the Lions, but did batter and bruise starting QB Shaun Hill. The veteran signal caller wasn’t sacked, but was knocked down numerous times, including a hit which ended his day with under 2 minutes remaining in the first half. Hill, who was already replacing Matthew Stafford in the lineup, left the game with a fractured left forearm. Third-string QB Drew Stanton finished the game and was the victim of a strip-sack by Osi Umenyiora in the third quarter. Umenyiora had both Big Blue sacks.
3 Another big game — Deon Grant recovered the fourth Lions fumble of the day and led to the icing TD — a 6-yard run by Brandon Jacobs. Ahmad Bradshaw went over the 100-yard plateau for the second-consecutive game, as his 54-yard jaunt after the Grant recovery pushed him over the mark.
What went wrong …
1 Not so special— Although return specialist Darius Reynaud wasn’t an albatross, the Giants’ special teams as a whole still had their moments of ineptness. Rookie P Matt Dodge once again had an uneven day, as he muffed one long snap on his first punt and fumbled his own attempted recovery at his own 43-yard line, only to be recovered by Lawrence Jackson.
2 Breaking free — Lions WR Calvin Johnson (five catches, 146 yards, touchdown) broke lose for an 87-yard TD catch and run down the sideline on third-and-long.
3 Go long — Detroit return specialist Stefan Logan almost fatally exploited New York’s flaws, as he posted a 41-yard kick return average and a 14.5 punt return average.