With All Eyes On The Lions vs Giants Matchup, Detroit Makes A Statement.
Detroit started the season 1-0 after another fourth-quarter comeback led by Matt Stafford. This week it wasn’t needed as Detroit was in control and never gave the Giants the lead. Detroit scored first, then the Giants tied it up at seven.
After that, it was all Detroit as they were able to generate some offense against this tough Giants defense. ODell Beckham Jr did make his season debut, but the Giants were without their best cornerback in Janoris Jenkins and their leading tackler B.J. Goodson. Detroit was able to walk out with a win and get revenge from last season.
Matt Stafford shined well under the lights as he finished going 15/21 for 122 yards and two touchdowns, along with three carries for 23 yards. Stafford faced pressure many times on the night, took a big hit, and even got poked in the eye at one point, but he kept getting up, showing his toughness.
Running the ball worked out better for Detroit against the Giants, getting a total of 138 rushing yards, up from 82 from last week. Ameer Abdullah had a better second game, getting 17 carries for 86 yards. Theo Riddick saw nine carries for 20 yards, and he had three catches for 17 yards as well. Dwayne Washington had three carries for nine yards but was banged up for most of the game and didn’t return.
Eric Ebron was the leading receiver for Detroit on Monday, showing up after having a quiet start to the season, finishing with five catches for 42 yards and a touchdown. Marvin Jones was able to get in the end zone with his only catch of the night on a 27-yard pass. Golden Tate had four catches for 25 yards, and rookie Kenny Golladay came down to earth with only one catch for eight yards.
The offensive line had a tough match-up against the Giants defensive line, but the team did well overall. Greg Robinson was the main sore spot though, getting three penalty flags and the unit allowed two sacks. Things could have been worse for the team, but Robinson will have to do better, even against good defensive ends. Luckily overall, they only allowed Stafford to get sacked three times, once ending in a fumble that New York recovered.
The defensive line feasted on the Giants offensive line. Ziggy Ansah made his presence known against left tackle Ereck Flowers, getting three sacks, one more than he had for the entire 2016 season, and six total tackles. Haloti Ngata got in on the action too, getting a sack and two total tackles. The Giants couldn’t run the ball, getting 62 yards on 18 carries as again the Lions defensive line made its presence known again.
Jarrad Davis was like WWE wrestler Brock Lesnar out there on Monday night, getting six tackles, and a sack that he tried turning into a German Suplex against Eli Manning. Davis would leave the game in the fourth quarter as he was in concussion protocol, something that the team will be keeping an eye on. Tahir Whitehead tied the team in tackles with eight, a tackle for loss and an interception that was tipped by Glover Quin.
With Odell Beckham playing, it meant that Darius Slay would be on him. Beckham didn’t play much, but he was contained well enough for only 36 yards on four catches. Slay would be on him and Brandon Marshall for a majority of the game. Slay finished the game tied as the leading tackler with eight, along with two pass deflections, and Glover Quin had six tackles and a pass deflection that turned into an interception.
Matt Prater had the golden leg again with a lucky bounce to make the 56-yard field goal as it bounced off the goal post and in. Newly signed punter Jeff Locke did well in his debut, punting five times for 209 yards, three landing inside the 20. Jamal Agnew was the main kick and punt returner, returning one kick for 15 yards and getting three punt returns for 101 yards as Agnew returned a punt for an 88-yard touchdown, something that we saw during training camp.
Agnew impresses yet again pic.twitter.com/gyZcwl5hfh
— Sean Lanigan (@Lanny1925) August 5, 2017
Week Two: What It Means
Don’t look now, but Detroit is first place in the NFC North. There are still 14 games to be played, six against divisional opponents, so take this lead with a grain of salt. Detroit had the lead late into the season last year and ended up blowing it, but it is a good thing to have the lead now as they can make it bigger with Green Bay losing this week against Atlanta.
The “wall” that Bob Quinn built got called for holding multiple times on Monday. Detroit can’t keep shooting themselves in the foot if they want to win games. Greg Robinson was the worst one of them all, getting three penalties called on him, this can’t continue if they want to be able to run and pass the football with ease.
Ziggy Ansah seemed to be the old Ansah that we saw back in 2015, getting three sacks, but it is still too early to call it a comeback for Ansah. He played against one of the worst left tackles in the NFL, Ereck Flowers. Seeing Ansah against better offensive lineman will be a telling sign if he is back 100%.
Week Two: What To Think About
Dwayne Washington was banged up and didn’t return to the game. If he needs time to heal, Detroit could make Zach Zenner or Tion Green active as they both have been a healthy inactive the past two weeks. If Washington needs time to heal, this is when having four plus running backs helps as it gives Washington time to rest and two backs that can come in as the number three running back.
Extending the lead while they have it is something that Detroit struggles with. Detroit was dominating on defense, stopping the run and putting pressure on Eli Manning with five sacks, but the offense couldn’t get anything going. The running game did improve, but besides a 34 yard run by Abdullah, the team struggled to pound the rock. When Detroit has the lead, they need to extend it as much as they can, the game was still close in the fourth quarter when Detroit was clearly the better team overall.