Detroit Lions 35, New York Giants 14 (box score)
The new era of Detroit Lions football under Jim Caldwell couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. With all eyes of the football nation centered on the Lions hosting the New York Giant on Monday Night Football, the Lions started fast and finished strong.
With their opening possession of the 2014 season, the Lions got into the end zone after Calvin Johnson found some wide open field behind the Giants secondary while Matthew Stafford scrambled to find his star receiver for a 67-yard touchdown.
It wouldn’t be the only time the two would hook up for a Lions touchdown in the first quarter. Once again, Stafford kept the play alive by scrambling before throwing back the other way to an open spot in the end zone. It may not have looked like a pretty pass but Stafford put it in a spot in the back of the end zone where only Calvin Johnson, not a Giants defender, could get it. That 16-yard strike made it 14-0 and it looked like the rout was on.
But the rout was not on, at least not yet. The Giants were the beneficiaries of three Lions penalties that went for first downs and capitalized with an Eli Manning touchdown pass on fourth and goal from the Lions one. The Lions couldn’t move the ball quite like they had in the first and headed into the locker room but halftime up 14-7.
The third quarter would belong to the Lions with DeAndre Levy setting up the offense with great field position after intercepting Manning. The Lions didn’t pick up a first down but were well within field goal range to extend their lead to 17-7. It went to 20-7 after the Lions forced a three-and-out then drove down the field before stalling at the Giants nine.
Things were slipping away for the Giants but then came crashing down on them. On the first play following Nate Freese’s second field goal of the game, Eli Manning was picked off by Glover Quin, giving the Lions their second possession starting inside the red zone of the half. Five plays later, Stafford once again came up big with his legs, this time running it in from five yards, giving the Lions a 27-7 lead.
The Giants bounced with a touchdown drive but were let down by their defense once again. After pulling within 27-24 with about twelve minutes still to play, the Lions mounted a 12 play, 80 yard drive ending with a Joique Bell touchdown run that chewed up over seven minutes. A two point conversion got it to the 35-14 final.
The Lions were plagued by some penalties in the first half (8 for 85 yards) but cleaned it up at halftime to go penalty-free in the second half. It was really the only blemish on an otherwise perfect night as the Lions didn’t turn the ball over and out-gained the Giants 417 to 197.
It was that kind of a night for the Giants, and the Lions were the reason why.