Skip to main content

Matthew Stafford, Lions breeze by struggling Giants

Jamal Agnew's touchdown off an 88-yard punt return put the Detroit Lions (2-0) ahead for good in a 24-10 victory over the New York Giants (0-2) on Monday night in Week 2. Here's what we learned:

  1. In his first prime-time test since receiving the most lucrative salary in NFL history, Matthew Stafford proved why he garnered the highly scrutinized $135 million deal. The stat sheet won't do Stafford's evening justice -- he finished with a near-career low 122 passing yards and two touchdowns -- but his situational awareness kept plays alive when the Detroit pocket collapsed from the left, turning big losses into small gains. The older Stafford gets and the wiser he gets in the pocket, the more he resembles his mobile gunslinger contemporaries -- Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, Russell Wilson, etc.
  1. Who's to blame for the Giants' woes in the pocket? Is it the offensive line, namely Ereck Flowers, who can't hold pass rushers at bay for more than 3.5 seconds? Or is it Eli Manning? Flowers will earn the derision of talk-show callers around the metropolitan area on Tuesday morning -- after all, the former ninth-overall pick personally surrendered three sacks to Ezekiel Ansah -- but Eli shouldn't be without blame. Often on Monday night, the veteran Giants quarterback had a clean pocket, but took too much time to get rid of the ball, instead taking avoidable sacks. With more receiving talent at his disposal than at any point in his career, Manning was projected to flourish in Ben McAdoo's second year in charge. Instead, he's floundered against two playoff-caliber teams.
  1. Detroit's young defense should not be overlooked. Paced by Ansah and strong secondary play, the Lions disrupted New York's offense from the get-go, allowing just 80 yards of total offense in the first half and 62 rushing yards on the night. Before leaving with an injury, rookie linebacker Jarrad Davis was having quite a night in the middle of the defense, tallying six tackles and one key sack. The same went for Darius Slay and Glover Quin on the outside, whose coverage kept Manning in the pocket. A key fourth-down stop by backup defensive back Quandre Diggs put this one on ice.
  1. His activation drawing most of the headlines ahead of Monday night, Odell Beckham was an afterthought once the game kicked off. Dealing with an ankle sprain, Beckham was brought back slowly by McAdoo, seeing less than 50 percent of the team's first-half snaps. It wasn't a coincidence that, when he was on the field, Big Blue moved the ball through the air with ease; Beckham attracted the attention of Slay, creating mismatches closer to the hashes. OBJ finished with four catches for 36 yards, his lowest single-game yardage total since Week 4 of 2016.

What Beckham's absence did bring attention to is that the Brandon Marshall experiment is an absolute bust in the making. The former Jets receiver was targeted five times in his return to MetLife Stadium, but reeled in just one catch and dropped two balls for potentially big gains.

  1. Against one of the league's stoutest run defenses, Ameer Abdullah was a consistent threat on the ground, collecting a career-high 86 rushing yards. After a slow start in Week 1 that saw the third-year dual-threat back average just 2 yards per clip, Abdullah gained 5.1 yards per carry, pacing Detroit's offense to a dominant performance and closing out the win in garbage time.
  1. Jim Bob Cooter is doing everything in his power to turn Kenny Golladay into the next Calvin Johnson. Stafford tossed three downfield bombs to the rookie wideout, but none were completed. This comes a week after Golladay's downfield speed and ball skills were on full display on a 45-yard touchdown grab. The first-year receiver is already the perfect complement to the vertically challenged Marvin Jones and Golden Tate.
This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content