Friday, September 12, 2014

Lions vs. Giants

What happened: The Jim Caldwell era has gotten off to a good start in Detroit.

The Lions offense came out of the gates firing, the defense was swarming all night and the result was a dominating, 35-14 victory over the New York Giants to begin their 2014 season.

The offense had Ford Field rocking to begin the game with touchdowns on each of its first two possessions.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford showed terrific pocket presence on both drives as he eluded defenders and found Calvin Johnson for touchdown catches of 67 and 16 yards, respectively.

Stafford finished the game 22-of-32 passing for 346 yards with two touchdowns. He also rushed for a 5-yard score late in the third quarter that gave the Lions a 27-7 lead at the time.

Johnson had 164 receiving yards to go with those two touchdowns. It’s the 40th time in his career he’s recorded at least 100 yards receiving.

The Lions defense was equally as spectacular all night in limiting the Giants to just 14 points.

They forced two turnovers with interceptions by DeAndre Levy and Glover Quin and allowed just 197 total yards of offense by the Giants.

What didn’t happen: The Lions didn’t get much in the way of production from their run game, but they honestly didn’t need it.

The Lions ran 30 times for just 76 yards, which comes out to an average of just 2.5 yards per carry.

The Lions got the run game going a little bit in the fourth quarter, however, which helped milk the clock and preserve the win.

On their final scoring drive of the game, a 12-play, 80-yard drive, the Lions rushed eight times for 37 yards.

A good run game is an offense's best friend with a big lead in the fourth quarter. It wasn’t a huge weapon for the Lions for most of the night, but it was good enough to help them wrap this one up.

Critical moment: Leading 20-7 following a 27-yard Nate Freese field goal, Lions safety Glover Quin intercepted an Eli Manning pass intended for Victor Cruz on the first play of the Giants possession.

He returned in 18 yards down to the Giants 16-yard line.

Stafford scored from 5 yards out five plays later to extend the lead to 27-7 and essentially put it away.

Critical moment No. 2: Stafford orchestrated a 12-play, 80 yard drive that took nearly seven minutes off the fourth-quarter clock and helped ice the game for Detroit. The Lions completed a 3rd and 7, 3rd and 5 and 3rd and 4 on the drive.

Bell finished it off with a 3-yard touchdown.

Play of the game: Stafford’s 67-yard touchdown pass to Johnson was the perfect example of two players with great chemistry who were on the same page.

Feeling some pressure, Stafford stepped up and eluded it and then scrambled right. Johnson noticed the scramble and immediately headed down the field. The Giants lost track of him and it turned into an easy touchdown.

It’s a play we’ve seen often from the two as they continue to build one of the best quarterback/receiver relationships in the NFL.

Player of the game: Calvin Johnson, WR

Megatron was, well, very Megatron-like Monday night. He finished with 7 catches for 164 yards in another dominating performance.

It marks the 13th time in his career the eight-year pro has recorded at least 150 yards in a game.

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