Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions pile up big plays in much-needed 31-26 win over Giants

Dave Birkett
Detroit Free Press
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Darrell Bevell dug deep into his bag of tricks at a time when the Detroit Lions needed it most.

Bevell, in his first season as Lions offensive coordinator, called a halfback toss-flea flicker early in the fourth quarter Sunday that Matthew Stafford heaved downfield for the game-clinching 41-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Golladay as the Lions snapped a three-game losing streak with a 31-26 win over the New York Giants at Ford Field.

Stafford completed 25 of 32 passes for 342 yards, and Golladay had six catches for 123 yards and caught two of Stafford’s three touchdown throws.

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The Lions (3-3-1) survived a scare from one of the worst teams in the NFL thanks to a slew of big plays on both sides of the ball.

Devon Kennard returned a Daniel Jones fumble 13 yards for a touchdown to open the scoring. Jones was attempting to pass on the play, but Jarrad Davis hit the rookie quarterback as he threw and the play was ruled a lateral on the field.

Kennard, who played the 2014-17 seasons for the Giants and was one of the Lions’ big free-agent additions last spring, alertly picked up the loose ball to give the Lions a 7-0 lead.

Stafford hit Marvin Hall with a 49-yard touchdown pass on third-and-15 on the Lions’ next possession, then the Lions and Giants traded scores for the next two quarters until the Lions broke the game open with some trickeration.

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Clinging to a 24-19 lead early in the fourth quarter, the Lions picked up a first down near midfield on an 18-yard Stafford pass to Kenny Golladay.

On the next play, J.D. McKissic took a toss to the right, then lateraled the ball back to Stafford, who threw to a wide-open Golladay down field.

Lions linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin celebrates a tackle against the Giants during the first half at Ford Field in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019.

Giants safety Antoine Bethea left his safety spot to play the toss to McKissic, leaving Golladay to run across the formation with no defender near him.

The Giants drove into Lions territory on their next possession, but officials waved off a fourth-down pass interference penalty on Justin Coleman in the end zone.

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Golladay fumbled on the ensuing possession, the Giants drove 50 yards in four plays for a Saquon Barkley touchdown, and after New York’s onside kick went out of bounds, Stafford took a knee twice end the game. 

Stafford has 706 yards passing and seven touchdowns over the last two games for the Lions, who lost safety Tracy Walker to a potentially serious knee injury in the second half.

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Giants wide receiver Golden Tate runs against Lions cornerback Justin Coleman during the first half at Ford Field in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019.

Walker’s injury happened five days after the Lions traded Quandre Diggs to the Seattle Seahawks for a 202 fifth-round draft choice and on the same day ESPN reported that the team was fielding calls for cornerback Darius Slay.

Jones completed 28 of 41 passes for 322 yards and four touchdowns for the Giants, Golden Tate had eight catches for 85 yards in his return to Detroit and Barkley had 143 yards from scrimmage, including 79 yards receiving.

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