The G-Men survived to win their third straight game, in which they looked unimpressive at times but found ways to win. Eleven penalties committed by the Lions helped a lot, as did the three turnovers our defense forced.
The Lions lost their 24th straight road game, amazingly tying the NFL record they set from 2001-03. Somebody help them out…
It was a lot closer than we would have liked. But as they say, a win is a win. I’ll take a 4-2 record and the No. 1 seed in the NFC right now any week.
The Giants had their best day running the football in a while. Ahmad Bradshaw had a huge game, going for 133 yards on 19 carries including a big 45-yarder that set up a much needed score late in the game. Jacobs had a great day as well, punching it in twice and continuing to run strong. The Giants had most of their success running to the right side of the line, and it seemed like just about every time there was a big play Kareem McKenzie threw a big block. As much props as possible goes to Bear Pascoe, lining up out of position at fullback instead of tight end for the injured Madison Hedgecock, paving the way for the backs.
Eli had a very nice day, going 20-for-30 for 177 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and no fumbles. There wasn’t one time the entire game when Detroit had a chance to create a turnover. This was the first time the Giants did not commit an offensive turnover since their 45-12 victory over Washington, on December 21 of last season; Eli gets a lot of credit for that. Steve Smith had six catches for 70 yards and I’d say he continues to be Eli’s most important target at wideout. Whether he’s the No. 1 or the No. 2 guy, he runs crisp routes and he’s a first-down-making machine. Mario Manningham had a nice day as well, with four catches for 51 yards including a 33-yard touchdown. The trio of Nicks-Smith-Manningham is a very dangerous arsenal for Eli. Any given week, any one of them or all three could go off.
Let me start by saying Osi Umenyiora is the MVP of this team so far this season. Recall that he led the team last year with seven sacks. He has eight through six games this season. He is the master of the “strip sack”, swatting the ball out of the quarterback’s hands on the way by. He had two “strip sacks” on Sunday, forcing fumbles both times, one of which was recovered by Justin Tuck to kill a Lions drive. Pierre-Paul had four tackles, all of the solo variety, and showed some strong penetration by getting into the Lions backfield for a tackle for a loss. Tuck had four tackles as well, and the final stat sheet has him with three quarterback hits.
The offseason signings of safeties Antrel Rolle and Deon Grant that bolstered the secondary of Kenny Phillips, Terrell Thomas, and Corey Webster have paid huge dividends so far – and that was never more evident than Sunday. Phillips had seven tackles and a huge pass breakup on a long ball to “Megatron”, a.k.a. Calvin Johnson (best nickname in the NFL is, by far, Megatron … hands down). Phillips arrived at exactly the right second, delivered a big and perfectly legal hit, and jarred the ball loose. Rolle had six total tackles, one defended pass, and one interception. Grant, however, had the biggest day out of them all. With 5:11 remaining in the game and just a 21-17 Giants lead, Lions WR Nate Burleson caught an eight yard pass and was tackled by Grant and Aaron Ross. Burleson coughed up the ball and Grant pounced on it. The Giants capitalized on another Lions miscue, as the turnover turned into a Giants touchdown, putting away the game for good at 28-17. Grant was all over the field, impressing everyone with his big time performance.
Altogether, the entire secondary combined for 36 tackles, with Grant leading the whole defense with eleven total.
As for the linebackers, Jonathan Goff deserves being mentioned first. Goff had five total tackles and two for a loss, and has shown great run instincts. He lived in Detroit’s backfield like a boss on Sunday. The middle linebacker spot was mentioned among the weak links of this defense by media and fans alike, but it is no longer the “weak” link of the chain. Goff is a key part of that chain and is now firmly established as the middle linebacker. Michael Boley, who I had called for to have a big season, had a game on Sunday: nine solo tackles, eleven total, and simply laying the lumber on plenty of those tackles.
Matt Dodge is a quintessential “help both teams” player. He’ll do some things to help the other team, but he’ll do some other things to help the Giants. He’s a nice guy, I guess. I didn’t think Dodge would live long enough to get another chance to punt after dropping a snap for the second time this season, and gift-wrapping the Lions seven points. But then Dodge, at the insistence of Lawrence Tynes, put a glove on his left hand and starting booming punts all over the place.
Zak DeOssie, the long snapper, made an absolutely fabulous play to down a punt inside the 5-yard line. The big, slow, long snapper beats everyone downfield and makes a fantastic play to pin the Lions deep.
The Giants had zero injuries to report, neither before or after the game.
Lions LB Zack Follett was apparently doing better following a scary collision with Jason Pierre-Paul in the fourth quarter of today’s game. The two collided helmet-to-helmet on a kickoff, and Follett’s head snapped back violently. He was on the ground for several minutes and didn’t appear to move at all as he was rolled onto a board and carried onto a cart. According to the Lions, he showed no evidence of a spine fracture and had feeling in all of his extremities while resting at the Hackensack University Medical Center overnight. Best wishes to Follett.
The Giants also have the No. 2 defense in the NFL and the No. 7 offense. Interestingly, the No. 1 offense and No. 1 defense in the NFL belong to the San Diego Chargers. Who are 2-4.
Eli Manning surpassed 20,000 passing yards for his young career, joining the great Phil Simms as the only Giants quarterbacks to reach that milestone.
Ahmad Bradshaw is second in the NFL in rushing with 582 yards. I’m not big on the whole “he’s on pace for…” thing. But just for fun, six weeks in and Bradshaw is on pace for more than 1,500 yards this season.
The Giants begin their NFC East slate a week from today, in what should have been a much-hyped Monday Night Football matchup against Dallas. It will be much-hyped, for much different reasons than everyone including myself expected. This will not be a battle for supremacy in the NFC East. For the last-place Cowboys, sitting at 1-4, it’s a fight for their season as every week here on out will be. How ’bout them Cowboys?
Bring ‘em on.