The New York Giants snapped a two-game losing streak, thanks to a spectacular 38-yard pick-six by safety Will Hill to tie the game, and a clutch 45-yard field goal by Josh Brown in overtime to win it 23-20 at Ford Field.
The wild and crazy game saw the Giants’ patchwork offensive line hold up fairly well against the Lions’ defensive front. Brandon Mosley filled in for David Diehl at right guard before having to leave the game with a broken hand. He was replaced by Dallas Reynolds, and the offensive line did a decent job with keeping quarterback Eli Manning on his feet.
“I thought they did a great job,” Manning said. “They competed and we knew that was going to be the case. They were competing hard and they were up to the challenge.
“Obviously, going against a good defensive front, we knew they were going to win some defensive battles and they were going to get a sack or make some plays, and that’s fine. We just had to keep competing. When we needed some protection, we got it.”
Besides the offensive line, the Giants got another solid game out of receiver Jerrel Jernigan, who, with Victor Cruz out for the rest of the season, stepped into the slot receiver role and finished as the team leader in receptions (6) and receiving yards (80) for the second week in a row.
“I was at practice every day watching (Victor) Cruz and taking tips from him and learning from him,” said Jernigan, a third-year receiver. “That’s the best thing you can do and people are always saying that my time is now or I haven’t got my time, but I just take it as I’m out there practicing and learning from the best slot receiver in the game right now.”
Besides his touchdown, Jernigan was also instrumental in setting up the game-winning drive in overtime when he was the recipient of a pass on 4th-and-7 at the Lions’ 42-yard line.
On the play, Jernigan picked up 15 yards.
“I had a little in route, pretty much read the coverage, and when I came out, I saw the linebacker, so I stopped and Eli saw me in that little hole,” he said. “He threw a great ball to me. Either I was getting it or nobody else.”
The game saw the lead change sides four times, two per half.
In the first 30 minutes, the Giants, deploying a series of short, quick passes, managed to jump out to a 13-3 advantage, thanks to 2 field goals of 41 and 52 yards by Brown, and Jernigan’s first career touchdown reception, a 20-yard catch in the second quarter.
In the second half, the Lions came roaring back with 17 unanswered points that included two rushing touchdowns, one each by Joique Bell and Theo Riddick, a successful two-point conversion, and a safety that came when defensive tackle nick Fairley beat left tackle on the inside to sack Manning in the end zone.
With the Lions now up 20-13, the game-changing play for the Giants came with 4:57 left, thanks to Hill’s huge play to send the game into overtime.
“Huge. I mean, Will is one of those guys who is always around the ball, always in the right places and that play is an example of that,” said defensive end Justin Tuck.
“It got us right back in the game. It was the biggest play of the game for us. He has been that way all year. Just in the right places at the right times.”
With the win, the third-place Giants improve to 6-9 for the year with one game remaining, that coming next week against the 3-12 Washington Redskins at home.
The Lions, who fell to 7-8, will close out their equally disappointing 2013 campaign next week at Minnesota.