John Fennelly, Lead Writer
The Detroit Lions had everything to play for this afternoon. They needed to beat the Giants to stay alive in the race for the NFC North title. The Giants had very little to play for but put up a fight in a game between two of the league’s sloppiest and undisciplined teams.
The Giants, the NFC leader in turnovers, met their match with the careless Lions, the NFL’s leader in dropped passes this season. Both teams made their share of mistakes and the result was a 23-20 overtime win for the Giants, a nine-point underdog coming into the game.
The victory raised the Giants’ record to 6-9 and left the 7-8 Lions on the outside looking in on the NFC Playoff picture.
The Giants struggled on offense in the second half, going three-and-out five times and giving up a safety when Eli Manning got buried by three-quarters of the Detroit defensive front with 1:01 left in the third period.
After the safety, the Lions went 61 yards on nine plays, scoring on a 2-yard run by RB Theo Riddick. Stafford connected with TE Joseph Fauria on the 2-pt conversion to make the score 20-13 Detroit.
With 5:06 left in the 4th quarter, Stafford threw the ball high for Fauria and got picked off by Giants safety Will Hill, who returned it 38 yards for the tying TD.
After each team possessed the ball twice after that game-changing play. The Giants had an opportunity for a FG attempt, but Eli threw an INT with 23 seconds remaining, his 26th of the season which set a new franchise record.
In overtime, the Giants received the football. Michael Cox had his biggest return of the year – 57 yards – giving the Giants the ball on their own 49.
On a first and ten from the Detroit 36, Andre Brown fumbled and the ball was recovered by Lions’ Willie Young on the 29. The play was reviewed and upheld. Brown was shaken up on the play, apparently suffering a blow to the head. He left the game to be evaluated and did not return.
The Giants got the ball back after holding the Lions after they took possession after the fumble. With 9:24 remaining in overtime, the Giants were facing a 4th-and-7 on the Detroit 42. Tom Coughlin decided to keep the offense on the field. He was rewarded when Eli hit Jerrel Jernigan for 15 yards to the 27.
Josh Brown sealed the deal with a 45-yarder with 7:37 on the clock. Final: Giants 23, Lions 20