Sunday, December 22, 2013

Giants Show Heart in Detroit, Knock Lions From Playoffs

GIANTS 23
LIONS 20 

In the long miserable year that was the 2013 season, the Giants have waited all year for a signature victory. On Sunday they finally got one, upending the Detroit Lions and blowing up Detroit's playoff chances with a 23-20 overtime victory that proved Big Blue does indeed have enough heart to finish this disappointing season strong.

The Giants never gave in, never relinquished under pressure, and, played a solid football game, something we haven't seen from them this year. Even with New York blowing a 13-3 lead, they hung around and found a way to come back; kudos to them, kudos to the coaching staff.

New York found itself in charge of this game in the first half for the simple fact they didn't make any mistakes. The Giants went 59:30 without turning the football over on Sunday, with the Giants defense playing a solid role in the effort.

The Giants defense kept the Lions at bay for the most part. They forced two interceptions of Matt Stafford, sacked the quarterback twice, deflected six passes and kept the great Calvin Johnson quiet with three receptions for 43 yards. It was a total team effort.

With the game tied at three, Big Blue got its first break of the day when Antrell Rolle picked up a fumble by Reggie Bush at the Giants own 41 yard line.

From there, Eli Manning put together a solid, time consuming 5:21 drive with big completions to Andre Brown and Ruben Randle to move the ball into the red zone. Two plays later, Manning hit Jerrel Jerrnigan for a 20-yard touchdown to give New York a 10-3 lead.

The Giants built their lead to 13-3 before Detroit came back. The Lions scored on three of their next four possessions, including sacking Eli Manning in the end zone for a safety that cut the Giants lead to 13-12. The Lions took the lead on Theo Riddick's two yard touchdown run, plus the two point conversion, made it 20-13 Detroit.

At this point, it appeared that the Giants hard work would be for not. The Lions needed the game a lot more than the Giants, and no one would have been surprised if Detroit held on at this point.

But that is why Matt Stafford is ... well ... Matt Stafford. The veteran QB threw an ungodly interception to embattled Will Allen at the Lions 38 yard line. Allen brought it back to the house for the tying touchdown with less than five minutes remaining.

Logic would dictate that the Lions should have run the football to take time off the clock, but got too aggressive for their own good and it cost them.

New York was able to force overtime, and nearly got screwed when the officials incorrectly ruled that Andre Brown fumbled the football in Detroit territory when it was obvious by replay that he was down before the ball came out.

Needing a big time stand against Detroit, the Giants defense stood firm. They got a break with a holding call on the Lions, before forcing Stafford to make two errant throws to force a Detroit punt. This time the Giants wouldn't be denied.

Manning chipped away at the Lions defense, completing three monster passes including a huge 15-yard  completion to Jernigan to spot the ball at the Lions 27. Three plays later, Josh Brown kicked Big Blue to a big victory, and knocked Detroit from the postseason in the process.

At 6-9, the Giants can wrap up their season quietly against the Redskins on Sunday. A win Sunday, the Giants can finish at 7-9 -- respectable considering they started the year 0-6.

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