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Gameday Live 6: Giants vs. Lions

FILE - Giants defensive tackle Barry Cofield.

FILE - Giants defensive tackle Barry Cofield. Credit: AP

Good afternoon Giants enthusiasts! Welcome to Week 6 in the NFL!

I'm Chris Mascaro and I'll be bringing you all of today's live game action, as the Giants (3-2, 2-1 home) take on Calvin Johnson and the rest of the lowly Detroit Lions (1-4, 0-3 road) at New Meadowlands Stadium.

What are we keeping an eye on today? Injured kickers23-game road losing streaks, and the emergence of a defensive lineman (pictured above) who was nearly dealt in the offseason. And that's the best news of the day. Why? Because it gives us an excuse to post this video (you'll thank me later).

O.K., ready to talk some football now? Yeah, me too. 

Let's start with the most amazing stat of the day. For a team that hasn't won on the road since Oct. 28, 2007, the Lions sure liked the old Giants Stadium. Detroit won its last three games in the old park dating back to a 20-0 win on Nov. 18, 1990. The Giants did win their last meeting though, a 16-10 victory in Detroit in Week 11 of the 2007 season.

If the Giants want to break that streak today, they'll have to flash the same defensive prowess they have over the last two weeks. Believe it or not, the Giants are the top ranked defense in the league in terms of yards allowed with 244.6 and they've also given up a league-low 146 passing yards per game. Their 19 sacks only trail Tennessee (22) and Green Bay (21), and last week, they held Houston to a franchise-low 24 rushing yards.

When asked what opposing offenses should think when the see the Giants' D on film, loquacious safety Antrel Rolle said: "Honestly, I would be scared."

But I wouldn't look for many shaky boots among the top scoring offense in the NFC at 25.2 points per game. That stat was padded in last week's 44-6 win over St. Louis. It was the Lions' most lopsided win in 15 years, and surprisingly, they haven't let up a touchdown in their last six quarters.

"It was a long time coming," said Detroit center Dominic Raiola earlier this week. "We know what we're capable of. Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. It's just one win, but it's sweet."

Quarterback Shaun Hill passed for 227 yards on 21-of-32 passing with three touchdowns and no interceptions. It was his fourth straight game of 225+ passing yards, but his first this season without an interception. He had a 117.6 passer rating, which was the second best mark of his career.

Clearly stopping the Lions' potent passing attack is crucial to the Giants' success, or lack thereof, this afternoon. Here are three more keys to today's game, and if you don't like them, there's always this stuff. Or this, which will make you fall out of your seat in a fit of laughter.

1. Hakeem the dream. In addressing the media, Rolle touched on plenty of topics, including Hakeem Nicks, who he believes is one of the top receivers in the game. Nicks' numbers bear that out, as he's ninth in the NFL with 409 receiving yards with six touchdowns. Last week, he had 12 catches for 130 yards and two scores. The Lions are one of the worst defenses in the league, so expect a big game out of Nicks today.

Thus far, Nicks has even outshone the Lions' Calvin Johnson, who will play today despite shoulder/knee injuries. Johnson is 29th in the league with 291 receiving yards to go along with four touchdowns. Johnson's still pretty darn good though, so the Giants' secondary better make sure not to lose track of him. And even if he isn't 100 percent, Hill can rely on impressive rookie tight end Brandon Pettigrew as a go-to receiver, and veteran Nate Burleson.

*Nicks actually had his worst game of the season with three catches for only eight yards (although he did induce a pass interference call on the Giants' third-quarter scoring drive). Smith (six catches, 70 yards) and Manningham (four catches, 51 yards, TD) picked up the slack, and the Giants also rushed for 167 yards and two scores. As for Detroit, Johnson had five catches for 146 yards, many coming on his 87-yard TD catch on a blown coverage. Hill actually looked to Pettigrew (seven catches, 12 targets) and Burleson (six, nine) more than Johnson. 

2. Who's in charge of booting the Lions out? That's more in a figurative sense than a literal one. Kicker Lawrence Tynes sprained his left ankle (on his plant foot), causing the Giants to add veteran Shayne Graham (a former Bengal), who will handle the kicking duties today. To make room, the Giants placed preseason standout Victor Cruz on injured reserve. Tynes was 5-for-8 on field-goal attempts, but hit from 45 and 42 yards with new holder Sage Ronsenfels last week. The Lions counter with one of the better kickers in the league in Jason Hanson.

*No field goal attempts for Graham, but he booted all his extra points through, so no big whoop there. Hanson nailed two 50-yarders for Detroit, one to close the half and one to bring them within a score at 28-20 with 2:50 to play. He also hit both his extra points. Nice job by the 19-year veteran.

3. Cowardly LionsDetroit hasn't shown much pride in stopping the run, as the Lions have given up 4.8 yards per rush, which is tied for third worst in the league. Ahmad Bradshaw, who will play despite a sprained left ankle, is emerging as one of the best running backs in the league. He has 91 carries for 441 yards (4.9 per attempt) with three touchdowns, but only one 100+-yard game (two weeks ago against Chicago). Pumping up the run game today serves two purposes for the Giants — first, it gives them complete control of the clock and second, it keeps the Lions' passing offense off the field.

For the Lions, Jahvid Best is averaging only 3.5 yards per carry, but the best facet of the rookie's game has been his pass catching. He's got 25 receptions for 254 yards, including nine for 154 yards Week 2 against the Eagles. He's been a great safety valve for Hill when nobody is open down field. Plus, I'm not 100 percent sure on this, but we think Jahvid is actually a distant relative of our very own Neil Best. Second cousins, Neil?

*The Lions allowed 5.6 yards per carry, and the Giants rushed 30 times for 167 yards and two scores. Bradshaw had his second 100-yard effort with 13 yards on 19 carries, including a 45-yarder. Jacobs was also effective for the third straight week as a game-of-pace guy, barreling for 35 yards and two TDs on nine carries.

Best had a poor running day (16 yards on 12 carries), but did catch six passes for 31 yards. No word on a possible relation to Neil. Where you at, Watchdog?

Here are today's inactives, courtesy of Mr. Tom Rock, who reports that center Shaun O'Hara is back in the lineup after missing three games with an ankle/Achilles injury. Linebacker Keith Bulluck remains out with a turf toe. He's missed three straight games, the same number of games he missed in his entire 10-year career with the Titans.

Here is the weather report from East Rutherford, where it's a beautiful day for football — high 60s and sunny with a slight breeze.

Finally, here are a few notes on today's game:

-The Lions, who finished last season 2-14, were 0-8 on the road. Their last win over an NFC East opponent was Week 3 of last season, a 19-14 win over Washington. They lost to the Eagles 35-32 Week 2 of this season.

-The Giants are fifth in the NFC in points scored with 106 (behind, in order, Detroit, Philly, Green Bay, and Atlanta). They've allowed 98, which is tied for 10th best in the conference (ahead of Arizona, San Francisco, Detroit, Carolina, Philly and New Orleans). The 13 points the Giants have allowed the past two weeks are the fewest they've allowed in back-to-back weeks since Weeks 7 and 8 of the 2006 season

-As we said earlier, the Lions lead the NFC in points scored 126. They've allowed 112 (14th best in the conference).

-Hill has completed 61.1 percent of his 193 passes this season for 1,218 yards, and he's averaged 6.31 yards per attempt. He has eight touchdown passes and seven interceptions, and his 78.0 passer rating is 23rd best in the NFL.

-The Lions are +3 in turnover margin (11 giveaways, 14 takeaways), while the Giants are -4, tied with the Cowboys and Panthers for the fourth worst margin in the league. Said coach Tom Coughlin on Wednesday: "It's got to stop."

-Bradshaw is fourth in the NFL with 449 rushing yards, but ran for a season-low 67 yards in Houston last week. He has scored rushing TDs in three of his first five games, and also has 83 yards receiving on 12 catches. And, good news Giants fans, Bradshaw went without a fumble for just the second time this year last week.

-Brandon Jacobs continued his strong running last week, tallying 41 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, including a 14-yard scamper.

-Today will be the Giants' first look at impressive rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. In his first five games, Suh already has 15 tackles, including four for a loss, with three sacks and an interception. 

-The Lions haven't won two straight games since a three-game streak from Weeks 7-9 in 2007. The Giants haven't won three straight since they started last season 5-0.

Okay, that's all for now. But we've got plenty more to talk about today, so keep it locked here throughout the afternoon!

I'll be back after each quarter with updates.

We're about 15 minutes from football on FOX!

 

End of the 1st Quarter: Lions 7, Giants 7

Lions' first scoring drive: 9 plays, 43 yards, 4:00

Scoring play: Burleson 14-yard pass from Hill (Hanson kick) ... it was Burleson's second TD catch of the season and Hill's ninth TD pass.

Key plays: Dodge's fumble gave the Lions possession on the Giants 43. Also, Best converted two third-and-1s in Giants' territory to keep the drive moving.

Giants' first scoring drive: 5 plays, 40 yards: 2:23

Scoring play: Jacobs 4-yard run (Graham kick) ... it is Jacobs' third straight game with a rushing TD.

Key plays: Manning hit Smith for a 20 yards from the Lions' 40 on the first play of the drive, and then hit him for 11 yards on third-and-5 from the 15. 

Players who impressed for the Giants:

-Steve Smith caught a quick curl for eight yards to convert a third-and-4.

-Bradshaw's first carry of the second drive went for 15 yards behind a huge hole off left tackle.

-Jacobs looked spry on both his carries, barreling for 10 yards, including the 4-yard TD.

-Deon Grant snuffed out an end around, tackling Burleson in the backfield for a loss of seven.

Players who struggled:

-Burleson beat Terrell Thomas on the outside on the Lions' TD. The coverage wasn't bad, but the throw by Hill was just better.

-Manning’s deep bomb to Hakeem Nicks was overthrown on third-and-8 from midfield. If nothing else, maybe it'll loosen up the Detroit defense.

-Matt Dodge's struggles continue. He couldn’t handle the snap on the Giants’ first punt, giving the Lions the ball on the Giants' 43. He later atoned by downing a punt at the Detroit 4-yard line.

-Kyle Vanden Bosch broke through the heart of the Giants' offensive line to sack Manning for a loss of five yards (Suh was given half a sack, but Vanden Bosch got to Manning first). 

What to watch for in the second quarter: Can the Giants stop being their own worst enemy?

 

End of the 2nd Quarter: Giants 14, Lions 10

Giants' second scoring drive: 11 plays, 93 yards, 6:42

Scoring play: Manningham 33-yard pass from Manning (Graham kick) ... it was Manningham's second TD catch of the season, and Manning's ninth TD throw.

Key play: Manningham 14-yard pass from Manning on third-and-2 from their own 15.

Lions' second scoring drive: 14 plays, 48 yards, 3:11

Scoring play: Hanson 50-yard FG on the last play of the half

Key play: Drew Stanton 3-yard pass to Tony Scheffler on fourth-and-1 from the Giants' 36.

Players who impressed for the Giants:

-Bear Pascoe caught a pass along the sideline for three yards. Why do I mention this? To post this picture ... duh. Later, The Bear fought for extra yardage on a seven-yard pass on second-and-6 from his own 43. That came just four plays after he was flagged for holding, however.

-Jonathan Goff tackled Kevin Smith in the backfield for a loss of two yards.

Players who struggled:

-Aaron Ross mistimed his jump, allowing Hill's third-and-12 pass to reach Calvin Johnson for a gain of 21.

-Stanton took the last six snaps for Detroit after Hill took a shot on a first-down pass late in the quarter. Hill's return for the second half is questionable.

-Suh got to Manning again for a loss of five on the first drive of the quarter.

What to watch for in the second half: Can the Giants continue to pound the run in the second half? They have 55 yards on 12 carries.

 

Here are some halftime stats for your viewing pleasure...

Giants

Manning: 12-for-17 for 118 yards, TD

Bradshaw: 8 carries, 51 yards

Jacobs: 3 carries, 14 yards, TD

Smith: 4 catches, 50 yards

Manningham: 3 receptions, 50 yards, TD

Pascoe: 2 receptions, 10 yards

Nicks: 2 catches, 6 yards

Boss: 1 catch, 2 yards

Graham: 2-for-2 on XPs

Michael Boley: 5 tackles

Lions

Hill: 9-for-15, 91 yards, TD

Stanton: 3-for-5 for 20 yards; 1 carry, 9 yards

Smith: 4 carries, 17 yards

Best: 7 carries, 8 yards; 2 catches 17 yards

Burleson: 2 catches, 16 yards, TD

Johnson: 3 catches, 54 yards

Hanson: 1-for-1 on FGs and 1-for-1 on XPs

Suh: 1 tackles, 1.5 sacks

Vanden Bosch: .5 sack

 

End of the 3rd Quarter: Giants 21, Lions 10

Giants' third scoring drive: 8 plays, 57 yards, 4:25

Scoring play: Travis Beckum 1-yard pass from Manning (Graham kick) ... it was Beckum's first career TD catch and Manning's 10th TD pass of the season.

Key play: Kevin Boss 25-yard from from Manning on first-and-10 from the Lions' 18 (more below).

Players who impressed for the Giants

-King of the Strip Sack, Mr. Osi Umenyiora, did it again on the Lions' third-and-8 from the Giants' 38, and his buddy Justin Tuck recovered for the Giants on their own 43. Osi has eight sacks and seven forced fumbles on the year. It was Tuck's first fumble recovery of the season.

-Boss' second reception of the day was a big one, a 25-yard catch over the middle that led to the Giants' third score. All three Giants tight ends have a catch today. On the next play, Nicks dropped a pass, but he drew a pass interference call, setting the Giants up with a first-and-goal.

-Bradshaw had a stupendous effort for a 3-yard gain near the goal line. It didn't lead to a touchdown, but a fabulous effort to shake a tackler.

Players who struggled for the Giants:

-It took the Giants seven plays from inside the 10 to score a touchdown. Granted, they got a holding call on one of those plays and an unsportsmanlike conduct after another.

What to watch for in the fourth quarter: Can the Giants go two games over .500 for the first time since Week 15 of last season?

 

That's the end of game, as the Giants defeat the Lions, 28-20.
Giants: 4-2 (3-1 home)
Lions: 1-5 (0-4 road)

Scores by quarter for the Giants: 7, 7, 7, 7
Scores by quarter for the Lions: 7, 3, 0, 10

Lions' third scoring drive: 3 plays, 87 yards, 1:36

Scoring play: Johnson 87-yard pass from Stanton  (Hanson kick) ... it was Johnson's fifth TD catch of the season. He beat Thomas over the top, and Rolle was late giving safety help, allowing Johnson to spring free and walk into the end zone at the end of a long run.

Key play: The TD pass was on third-and-10 from their own 13.

*Lions special-teamer Zach Follet was badly injured on the ensuing kickoff. He was carted off and did not move as he left the field.

Giants' fourth scoring drive: 3 plays, 58 yards, 1:37

Scoring play: Jacobs 6-yard run (Graham kick) ... it was his second TD run of the day.

Key play: Deon Grant's forced fumble and recovery and Bradshaw's 45-yard run (more below).

Lions' fourth scoring drive: 4 plays, 8 yards, 0:34

Scoring play: Hanson 50-yard FG

Key play: Stefan Logan 58-yard kick return to the Giants' 40.

*Grant forced and recovered a Burleson fumble on the Giants' 42. It was on a third-and-5 from midfield with the Giants leading 21-17. Bradshaw took the next carry 45 yards off right tackle down to the Lions' 13. Two plays later, Jacobs plunged into the end zone to ice the game.

Earlier in that Lions' drive, Osi had another strip-sack, but the Lions recovered.

**Rolle picked off Stanton's pass with seven seconds left to put the game on ice.

Here are your three stars for today's game:

1. Bradshaw: 19 carries, 133 yards (his second 100-yard rushing game of the season); 2 catches, 10 yards. 

2. Manning: 20-for-30, 177 yards, two TDs, no INTs. It was only his second game without an INT, and he had a season-high 104.4 passer rating.

3. Umenyiora: two sacks, two forced fumbles

*The Giants had a 32:42-27:18 advantage in time of possession, but the Lions had a 366-334 advantage in total yards.

Here are today's final stats...

Giants

Jacobs: 9 carries, 35 yards, TD

Smith: 6 catches, 70 yards

Manningham: 4 receptions, 51 yards, TD

Pascoe: 2 receptions, 10 yards

Nicks: 3 catches, 8 yards

Boss: 2 catches, 27 yards

Graham: 2-for-2 on XPs

Beckum: 1 catch, 1 yard, TD

Boley: 11 tackles

Graham: 4-for-4 on XPs 

Rolle: INT

Lions

Hill: 9-for-15, 91 yards, TD

Stanton: 19-for-34 for 222 yards, TD, INT; 3 carries, 30 yards

Smith: 4 carries, 17 yards

Best: 12 carries, 16 yards; 6 catches 31 yards

Jerome Felton: 1 carry, 8 yards

Burleson: 6 catches, 50 yards, TD

Johnson: 5 catches, 146 yards, TD

Pettigrew: 7 catches, 61 yards

Bryant Johnson: 2 receptions, 20 yards

Hanson: 2-for-2 on FGs and 2-for-2 on XPs

Palmer: 13 tackles

Suh: 3 tackles (two for a loss), 1.5 sacks

Vanden Bosch: .5 sack

Lawrence Jackson: fumble recovery

*The attendance at New Meadowlands Stadium today was 78,341.

Okay, that's all for today's game. Please check back above for updates on my pregame keys to the game. Thanks to all for coming out!

As always, it was my honor and pleasure to bring everyone all of today's live game action.

See ya'll back here in next Monday night, as the Giants visit the Dallas Cowboys at 8:30 p.m. Have a great Sunday evening everyone!  

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