Giants grades: Fourth semester rebound

Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) is Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) is stopped by Ryan Mundy (21) during the first quarter. (Dec. 22, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

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OFFENSE: C

It wasn’t a glorious outing for the unit that a week ago was dubbed “pathetic” by their own coach, but they scored points and they came up big when needed. As on the fourth-and-7 conversion in overtime. That they did so without their top receiver (Victor Cruz) and a makeshift line, which included James Brewer and Dallas Reynolds for most of the game, is impressive. But five straight three-and-outs in the second half, including a safety, was a bit of a downer. And two late turnovers nearly made the improvement moot.

DEFENSE: B

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After getting on the offense for not scoring any points last week, the unit took matters into its own hands and scored a defensive touchdown for the first time since Jason Pierre-Paul’s interception return in Week 11. They had two other take-aways besides Will Hill’s pick-6. The run defense was a little suspect against Joique Bell (91 yards on 20 carries) but the Giants had a big three-and-out after the Andre Brown turnover in overtime when the Lions could have won the game.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C

Josh Brown kicked his first game-winner as a Giant and he also kicked a season-long 52-yarder. He hasn’t missed a field-goal attempt since Week 4. Michael Cox had an exciting 56-yard kickoff return to start overtime that should have resulted in points, if not the win. But it was a 50-yard punt return by Jeremy Ross early in the third quarter that sparked the Lions to a 17-point run. And Damontre Moore jumped offsides on an earlier Lions punt to give them a first down.

COACHING: B

Tom Coughlin made the decision of the game when he went for it on fourth-and-7 in overtime, and it paid off. The offense neutralized a lot of the Lions’ strength in the middle by rolling out Eli Manning for most of the game. The play calling could have been better deep in their own territory leading up to the safety, but poor blocking really was the bigger issue. The Giants decided to mark Calvin Johnson with Prince Amukamara and it paid off. 

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