NEW YORK (Michigan News Source) – It took five years for the Detroit Lions to reach a milestone they met Sunday against the New York Giants. Winning three games in a row. The last time this feat took place came in 2017 and it was in November.
In the locker room after the game, head coach Dan Campbell said, “Now we are figuring it out. That’s three in a row. That’s outstanding. You earned it!”
Shutting down Saquon Barkley, Detroit’s defense only allowed him just 22 yards which was his fifth worst rushing game in his career. The defense only allowed 89 yards rushing, recorded two interceptions, and three turnovers overall. It was the first time since week three that NY had thrown any interceptions. Rookie’s Kerby Joseph and Aidan Hutchinson both grabbed the picks as it was Hutchinson’s second on the year. Hutchinson then had the fumble recovery in the fourth quarter.
Jared Goff had one of his most efficient days running the offense going 17-of-26 for 165 yards with no interceptions. Along with that, he wasn’t sacked at all. Detroit finished with 325 yards of offense as 160 came on the ground making the most of the red zone opportunities scoring four out of five times. Jamaal Williams had 64 yards rushing but landed in the end zone three times. D’Andre Swift recorded the other rushing touchdown as Michael Badgley had one field goal.
“We’re really good in the red zone, too, so we kind of were ready for the challenge. We heard all week about how good they (NY) were in the red zone, how good they were on third down – I don’t know the numbers on third down, but specifically in the red zone I thought we did a good job,” says Campbell.
The first quarter was evenly matched as NY had a 6-3 lead. Badgley gave Detroit the 3-0 lead at 7:52 on a 24-yard field goal. Five minutes later, NY scored on a Daniel Jones three-yard run, but the extra points was blocked. From that point on, it was all Detroit.
On their next two possessions, Detroit punted with one three-and-out. NY took over after the second punt at their own 27-yard line and on the second play Hutchinson read where Jones was going with the pass and picked it off taking it to the Giant’s 18-yard line. After an interference call put the ball on the five-yard line, Williams rumbled in from four-yards out after a one-yard pass to take the lead, 10-6, with 4:38 left in the half.
NY started their next drive at their own six-yard line and went to the 43-yard line before being forced to punt. Goff went to work looking at 68-yards to score. And he did just that in seven plays. One of the biggest plays in the drive came when Amon-Ra St. Brown caught a 32-yard pass on a second-and-two down to the NY 28-yard line. Two of the next three plays went to St. Brown putting the ball on the nine-yard line for a second-and-six. Two plays later, Williams captured his second touchdown of the game making it 17-6.
“We are now making the plays that are helping us win the games. Nothing has really changed from what we have done we are just figuring things out,” says head coach Dan Campbell. “The team that we have developed and the guys that we kept were all for a reason. You are going to hit hard times. We have learned from the season and not let it bury us. We learn every week and the guys continue to put in the work and we found a way to win.”
Keeping the momentum, Detroit came out to begin the second half with the ball. This time Goff took them 56-yards in nine plays. The quarter began on a Justin Jackson 36-yard kickoff return to the 44-yard line. A key play came on third-and-nine from their own 45-yard yard line when Goff found Tom Kennedy for his only reception of the day for 13-yards. Four plays later, Swift found an opening for 16 yards down to the five-yard line. Two plays later, Williams earned his third straight touchdown run of the day as Detroit took command of the game, 24-6, with 10:10 left in the third.
As NY was answering and driving into Detroit territory, the defense recorded their second interception of the day on the seventh play of the drive. Jones went deep down the right sideline where Joseph picked it off at the 21-yard line returning it to the Giant’s 41-yard line. Nothing came for Detroit after that turnover.
Both teams punted the ball before NY finally found the end zone in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 12, 24-12, as they missed the extra point. Detroit punted the ball away again after seven plays giving the ball back to the Giants. Four plays into the drive, Will Harris forced a fumble that Hutchinson recovered at the 33-yard line. After a Williams run for four yards, Jackson reeled off 27 yards setting up a first-and-goal at the two-yard line. Two straight plays to Swift led to a four-yard score in Detroit’s final touchdown, 31-12. NY did score on their next possession but it was little too late as Detroit made it three games in a row for a victory, 31-18.