New York Giants vs. Detroit Lions

NYG
14
DET
35
FINAL
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NYG 070714
DET 14013835

Matthew Stafford passed for 346 yards and connected with Calvin Johnson for two touchdowns as the Detroit Lions defeated the New York Giants.

0:32 | September 8, 2014 | Detroit Lions, Football, New York Giants, NFL

Game Information
Location: Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan
Attendance: 64,401

DETROIT (AP) Matthew Stafford was at his best when improvising - and that alone may be a sign of improvement.

Stafford threw two early touchdown passes to Calvin Johnson, and Detroit beat the New York Giants 35-14 on Monday night in Jim Caldwell's first game as Lions coach. It was a bright start for the Lions and their quarterback after the team collapsed down the stretch in 2013 - in part because of Stafford's turnovers.

"I don't work on my moves a lot during practice, but I know I have to be better with my feet this year so that we can keep plays alive," Stafford said. "On both of the touchdown passes to Calvin, the offensive line got me a lot of time, and he was able to uncover himself and find somewhere open."

The Lions intercepted Eli Manning twice in their first Monday night opener since 1971. Stafford went 22 of 32 for 346 yards, and Johnson had seven catches for 164 yards.

Manning was 18 of 33 for 163 yards and a touchdown for the Giants, who started 0-6 last season and never led in their 2014 opener.

"No excuses. We played very poorly," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "We don't have a lot to be proud of here. Couldn't move the ball, couldn't stop them, turned the ball over, got into that business again. Got a punt blocked, so you name it. It was a nightmare performance."

Stafford scrambled to his right and threw deep to Johnson on the game's first drive, and defensive backs Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Stevie Brown appeared to collide. Nobody else on the Giants was anywhere near Detroit's star receiver, who was able to jog into the end zone for a 67-yard touchdown.

Later in the first, Stafford scrambled to his left, and then threw back to his right. Johnson made a diving catch in the back of the end zone for a 16-yard TD and a 14-0 lead.

"When Matt breaks the pocket, I know I have to keep working, because he can put the ball anywhere on the field," Johnson said. "We worked out together a lot during the offseason, and we did a lot of footwork drills. You can see that it is paying off for him. He's making moves."

Stafford's two touchdown passes came on what looked like broken plays, and so did his 5-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. He scrambled up the middle on that one and cut to his left to avoid a potential tackler.

The Giants also missed the playoffs last season, thanks mostly to that terrible start. They were eager to begin on a better note against the Lions, but barely five minutes into the game, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul went down with a neck injury. He was able to walk off the field, but he was taken in for X-rays.

Pierre-Paul was back in the game in the second quarter.

The Giants revamped their secondary in the offseason, but Stafford took advantage of a couple big breakdowns. In the third quarter, he found Golden Tate for a 44-yard gain on third-and-11, which led to a field goal.

Detroit's secondary, meanwhile, looked solid despite an injury that kept newly acquired safety James Ihedigbo out of the game. Glover Quin's interception in the third helped set up Stafford's touchdown run that made it 27-7.

Johnson tied Herman Moore's team record with his 107th straight game with a catch. He was banged up down the stretch last season, and Stafford struggled with turnovers as a playoff berth slipped away. Caldwell's hiring was in many ways viewed as an attempt to help Stafford take another step forward.

The former No. 1 overall draft pick completed his first six passes Monday. Stafford went 14 of 17 for 212 yards in the first half.

Detroit led 14-7 at halftime, and Lions rookie Nate Freese made a 28-yard field goal early in the third, after an interception by DeAndre Levy gave the Lions the ball at the New York 18. Freese added a 27-yarder later that quarter.

Rashad Jennings scored on a 1-yard run for New York in the fourth, but Detroit's Joique Bell answered with a 3-yard scoring run and the Lions added a 2-point conversion.

"I thought the signature drive of the game was in the fourth quarter. They had cut into the lead, and we knew we needed to grind down the clock," said Caldwell, who took over in the offseason after Jim Schwartz was fired. "That's what we mean when we talk about embracing the grind."

NOTES: Lions offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle went down with a calf injury in the first half, and cornerback Bill Bentley hurt his knee. Giants linebacker Devon Kennard hurt his hamstring. ... There was a pregame ceremony honoring William Clay Ford, who owned the Lions until he died in March. His widow Martha - who took over control of the franchise - and their four children received a game ball after the win.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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1st Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Giants Lions
12:11 Calvin Johnson 67 yd pass from Matthew Stafford (Nate Freese kick) 0 7
05:12 Calvin Johnson 16 yd pass from Matthew Stafford (Nate Freese kick) 0 14

2nd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Giants Lions
12:54 Larry Donnell 1 yd pass from Eli Manning (Josh Brown kick) 7 14

3rd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Giants Lions
11:54 Nate Freese 28 yd FG 7 17
05:50 Nate Freese 27 yd FG 7 20
03:51 Matthew Stafford 5 yd run (Nate Freese kick) 7 27

4th Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Giants Lions
11:53 Rashad Jennings 1 yd run (Josh Brown kick) 14 27
04:39 Joique Bell 3 yd run (Joseph Fauria 2pt Pass from Matthew Stafford) 14 35

Team Stats
  New York Detroit
1st Downs 16 20
Total Yards 197 417
Passing 144 341
Passing Completions/Attempts 18-33 22-32
Yards/Pass 4.1 10.3
Rushing 53 76
Rushing Attempts 22 30
Yards/Rush 2.4 2.5
Turnovers 2 0
Fumbles Lost 0 0
Interceptions Thrown 2 0
Possession 23:56 36:04

New York Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Eli Manning 18 33 163 4.9 1 2

Detroit Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Matthew Stafford 22 32 346 10.8 2 0

New York Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Rashad Jennings 16 46 2.9 1 14
Andre Williams 5 9 1.8 0 5
Jerrel Jernigan 1 -2 -2.0 0 -2

Detroit Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Joique Bell 15 51 3.4 1 12
Reggie Bush 9 15 1.7 0 6
Golden Tate 1 4 4.0 0 4
Theo Riddick 1 4 4.0 0 4
Matthew Stafford 4 2 0.5 1 5

New York Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
Larry Donnell 5 56 11.2 1 19
Rashad Jennings 4 50 12.5 0 21
Jerrel Jernigan 4 25 6.2 0 9
Victor Cruz 2 24 12.0 0 20
Daniel Fells 1 7 7.0 0 7
Rueben Randle 2 1 0.5 0 1
Andre Williams 0 0 0.0 0
Corey Washington 0 0 0.0 0

Detroit Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
Calvin Johnson 7 164 23.4 2 67
Golden Tate 6 93 15.5 0 44
Reggie Bush 6 49 8.2 0 24
Joseph Fauria 1 26 26.0 0 26
Brandon Pettigrew 1 9 9.0 0 9
Joique Bell 1 5 5.0 0 5
Eric Ebron 0 0 0.0 0

New York Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Stevie Brown 6 3 0 0
Jacquian Williams 5 2 0 0
Prince Amukamara 4 4 0 0
Johnathan Hankins 4 1 0 0
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie 4 0 0 0
Antrel Rolle 4 0 0 0
Cullen Jenkins 2 0 0 0
Jason Pierre-Paul 2 2 0 0
Robert Ayers Jr. 1 0 1 5
Jon Beason 1 3 0 0
Nat Berhe 1 0 0 0
Mathias Kiwanuka 1 0 0 0
Jameel McClain 1 3 0 0
Mike Patterson 1 0 0 0
Daniel Fells 0 0 0 0
Mark Herzlich 0 0 0 0
Rashad Jennings 0 0 0 0
Jerrel Jernigan 0 0 0 0
Spencer Paysinger 0 0 0 0
Rueben Randle 0 0 0 0
Walter Thurmond III 0 2 0 0

Detroit Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
DeAndre Levy 9 1 0 0
Stephen Tulloch 6 2 0 0
Isa Abdul-Quddus 4 1 0 0
Glover Quin 4 1 0 0
Darius Slay 3 0 0 0
Ndamukong Suh 3 0 0 0
George Johnson 2 1 1.5 14
Jerome Couplin 2 0 0 0
Nevin Lawson 1 0 0 0
Rashean Mathis 1 0 0 0
C.J. Mosley 1 0 0 0
Ezekiel Ansah 0 1 0.5 4
Nick Fairley 0 1 0 0
Travis Lewis 0 0 0 0
Theo Riddick 0 0 0 0
Tahir Whitehead 0 0 0 0

New York Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
No interceptions.

Detroit Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
Glover Quin 1 18 0
DeAndre Levy 1 13 0

New York Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
Quintin Demps 1 14 14.0 0 14

Detroit Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
No kick return stats.

New York Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
Preston Parker 2 30 15.0 0 18

Detroit Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
Jeremy Ross 3 11 3.7 0 6

New York Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
No kicking stats.

Detroit Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Nate Freese 2 3 67.0 28

New York Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Steve Weatherford 5 201 56

Detroit Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Sam Martin 2 109 57