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Giants Defeat Lions, Move Closer to Playoff Berth

Giants 17, Lions 6

(Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)

(Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Giants (10-4) won an all-important game over the NFC North leading Detroit Lions (9-5), 17-6, on a cold and rainy Sunday afternoon in the Meadowlands.

After holding a 10-6 lead thanks to their stalwart defense, and with the Lions slowly making a comeback, the Giants had to come up with a score late in the fourth quarter. On third down and 10, on their own 39 yard line, quarterback Eli Manning completed a pass to Odell Beckham Jr for a 25 yard gain. On the next play, Manning completed a pass to Sterling Shepard for a 23 yard gain, setting them up in the red zone. With third down and one, the mentality was if they couldn’t convert the third down, they can always kick a field goal. However, a touchdown was on Beckham’s mind.

After hiking the ball, Manning threw a pass that wasn’t the greatest, however, Beckham was able to haul the ball in with a spectacular one-handed catch and run it in four yards for the touchdown. Beckham pumped, the Giants were pumped, and MetLife Stadium was pumped. The Giants now had a 17-6 lead with 5:47 left in the game.

Giants’ fans had to hold their breath briefly, as the Detroit Lions had possession of the ball with 3:49 left in the game. On their own 25 yard line, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw consecutive passes to Golden Tate for a total of 36 yards. After an eight yard run by running back Zach Zenner and a 15 yard reception to receiver Marvin Jones, the Lions found themselves on the Giants own 17 yard line. On third down and ten, Stafford wanted to go for the touchdown and threw the ball towards receiver Anquan Boldin. Unfortunately for Stafford, Boldin was covered by the Giants secondary, which allowed cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to haul in the interception to seal the victory for the Giants.

“Great team win versus a very good football team,” said Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “All three phases played a part. It’s a short week, we have to enjoy this one fast.”

The Giants’ defense continues to make their presence felt this season. Even with losing Jason Pierre-Paul for the remainder of the season and cornerback Janoris Jenkins to a back injury early in this game, the defense did not crumble. One situation in particular was when Golden Tate brought in a 67 yard catch and run to the Giants own 11 yard line. On the very next play, Zenner ran for seven yards, but a hit by Leon Hall forced Zenner to fumble the ball and allowed defensive end Olivier Vernon to recover.

Another impressive play was early in the second quarter, where it looked like cornerback Eli Apple had blown coverage on Tate. Stafford noticed this, and launched the ball to Tate, in what looked like a walk in touchdown catch. However, Apple was able to catch up to Tate, dive towards him, and put his hand up to tip the ball away from Tate’s hands. An impressive defensive play that words do not do enough justice.

The Giants defense has not given up a touchdown in seven straight quarters. This is a good trend to have, especially when in the playoff hunt in the middle of December.

“The defense, they hold teams to six points, we’re going to win a lot of ball games,” said McAdoo. “That’s tough to do in this league, especially against a team like that with that many weapons. But defense played lights-out today.”

“I think that our mindset is to just always play relentless ball,” said Rodgers-Cromartie. “Play as hard as we can, for as long as we can. That has been the motto around here and I think that we have to keep going out and keep fighting.”

“It’s a mindset,” Giants safety Landon Collins. “Coach Spags told us all week that we don’t want last week to be our best defensive game. That’s our mindset now and we wanted to showcase [it] today.”

If we look at how Manning played in the previous three games, it was somewhat of a hindrance of what the Giants defense was doing. Today, Manning broke that dreadful trend, as he completed eleven passes in a row. It took until the final two minutes of the first half for Manning to throw his first incompletion. Manning finished the game with a very impressive stat line, completing 20 of 28 passes for 201 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions.

“…I am confident in every series, so I thought today was good,” said Manning. “We know that we can have that game where we score 28 or 35, so we can’t force it, we just have to wait for the opportunities, be patient with them. But eventually – I thought that guys stepped up and made some big plays today.”

“I thought Eli was very good today,” said McAdoo. “I thought he was solid in the conditions. It was a different type game to play quarterback in, but he took completions and you can’t go broke taking a profit.”

Odell Beckham Jr’s interesting and impressive season continues. Beckham has hauled in his tenth touchdown this season, now making it his third consecutive season with ten or more touchdown catches. Not only that, but Beckham is the first receiver in Giants’ history to have ten or more touchdown catches in his first three seasons. Beckham, so far, has been the most consistent part of the offense this season. With a game like today, where the offense seemed to be running on all cylinders, just what the Giants and Beckham need. Even with his play this season, Beckham is his number one critic.

“It’s just hard for me to accept being good,” said Beckham. “I need to be great. Above that, legendary. It’s got to be that way every single time.”

With the Giants victory Sunday afternoon, it prevented the division rival Dallas Cowboys from an opportunity to clinch the NFC East Title on Sunday night. The Giants have a short week of rest after their final home game of the season, as they head to Philadelphia to face the Eagles (5-9) on Thursday Night Football. If the Giants win, they will clinch a playoff berth, something Giants’ fans have waited five years for.

Team Stats:
Total Plays: 62
Total Yards: 300 Yards
Penalties: 5-46 Yards
Turnovers: 0
First Downs: 17

Player Stats:
Eli Manning: 20/28, 201 Yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 115.3 QBR
Paul Perkins: 11 Carries, 56 Yards.
Odell Beckham Jr: 6 Receptions, 64 Yards, 1 TD.
Sterling Shepard: 4 Receptions, 56 Yards, 1 TD.
Dominique Roders-Cromartie: 7 Total Tackles, 2 Assited Tackles, 1 INT.
Landon Collins: 8 Total Tackles, 1 Assisted Tackle.
Olivier Vernon: 5 Total Tackles, 2 Assisted Tackles, 0.5 Sack.
Jonathan Hankins: 5 Total Tackles, 2 Assisted Tackles, 0.5 Sack.
Eli Apple: 7 Total Tackles, 3 Assisted Tackles.
Leon Hall: 1 Total Tackle, 1 Forced Fumble.
B.J. Goodson: 2 Total Tackles, 1 Assisted Tackle, 1 Forced Fumble.

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