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Giants’ grades: Defense shines again

Dwayne Washington of the Detroit Lions is stopped

Dwayne Washington of the Detroit Lions is stopped on a run in the second half by Andrew Adams, Kerry Wynn and Kelvin Sheppard of the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016 in East Rutherford, N.J. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac


BThere’s still no breakout, but there does seem to be an increase in efficiency. Eli Manning completed his first 11 passes and the team did not turn the ball over. Odell Beckham Jr. had a couple of drops, but he also made a one-handed touchdown catch. Justin Pugh’s return seemed to spark the running game, which had 114 yards. The Giants were 2-for-2 in the red zone and 7-for-15 on third downs. The performance ended a streak of three straight games with fewer than 300 offensive yards.


AA second straight dominant performance, this time limiting the Lions to two field goals. Two takeaways in the end zone — one a fumble caused by Leon Hall, the other a late interception by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie — made sure of that. There were some big plays and third-down conversions that need cleaning up, but overall, the group is carrying the team to the playoffs. Olivier Vernon (half-sack) put steady pressure on Matthew Stafford. They get extra marks for being so good without some of their best players (Jason Pierre-Paul, Janoris Jenkins).


C Punter Brad Wing continues to be a weapon for the Giants, twice pinning the Lions inside their 5-yard line. Dwayne Harris made a heady play on a punt return, blocking a Lions gunner and allowing the ball to roll into the end zone for a touchback. Robbie Gould had his first multi-field goal game for the Giants. There also was some bad, though. The Lions deflected one of Wing’s punts, a kickoff by Gould went out of bounds and Odell Beckham Jr. had an electrifying punt return for a touchdown negated by a penalty.


BThe Giants did a good job early of mixing up traditional personnel, going with two tight ends to start and also using Marshall Newhouse as a sixth lineman. The result was impressive and resulted in a first-strike 75-yard touchdown drive. Ben McAdoo lost a challenge when he red-flagged a catch by tight end Eric Ebron on the sideline. Considering the injuries, it was impressive for the coaches to keep that unit rolling.


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