1:00 PM ET, November 18, 2007
Ford Field, Detroit, MI
DETROIT (AP) -- Michael Strahan showed he's still got it, just days before he turns 36 and in a year he pondered retirement.Strahan had a season-high three sacks, helping the New York Giants beat the Detroit Lions 16-10 Sunday to gain the advantage in the NFC wild-card race. "From the time he got off the bus, he was very focused," said teammate Sam Madison, who had one of the victory-sealing interceptions in the final 2:04. "He was very energetic. He was the Stra of old. He's getting his legs under him. He's getting his second wind. "He's showing he can still play the game." New York (7-3) broke a third-place tie with Detroit in the conference and improved its chances of making the playoffs. In the Super Bowl era, 78.4 percent of teams that won seven of their first 10 games ended up in the postseason. The Giants lost their first two games, won six straight, then lost to Dallas for a second time before handing Detroit its first defeat at home. "We'll take the 7-3. I'm too tired to worry about how we got there," Strahan said. "Hopefully, we'll get another run going. We started one today." The Lions (6-4) dropped back-to-back games for the first time this year, and took it hard after losing their other three games by double digits. "Yeah, it's more difficult because that is not a better football team than us," quarterback Jon Kitna said. "We gave them the football game." Strahan took offense to Kitna's take on the game. "I honestly thought in the first half that was one of the worst teams we played that was 6-3," he said. "I don't quite understand why Jon would say that. "Maybe we'll see them down the road and if that's the case, we'll beat that a-- again." Detroit might need to beat the NFC North-leading Green Bay Packers at home on Thanksgiving to maintain a realistic chance at making the playoffs for the first time since 1999. "Is the season over? Absolutely not," offensive tackle Jeff Backus said. "It's one stumble in our path." The Giants leaned on their defense to block Detroit's road to success. Strahan and Co. put pressure on Kitna, forcing him out of the pocket to rush throws. When Kitna did have time late in the game, Madison and James Butler came through for the Giants with key interceptions to shut down a team that had been scoring in bunches at home. "They scored 31 points a game here," Strahan said. "The way we played today we should be very happy." The win came at a price: Jacobs was sidelined in the third quarter with a left hamstring injury and linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka broke his left leg early in the game. New York coach Tom Coughlin wasn't sure how serious Jacobs' injury was, but said Kiwanuka may be done for the season. "It's obviously a big loss for us," Coughlin said. Eli Manning threw a touchdown pass to Jacobs late in the first half and Lawrence Tynes kicked three field goals to give the Giants a 16-3 lead early in the fourth. Detroit finally put together a strong drive, ending with Calvin Johnson's 35-yard TD catch to pull within six with 4:34 left. After a three-and-out drive, Detroit drove to midfield and Kitna heaved an up-for-grabs pass to Shaun McDonald that Butler leaped to snag just inside the end zone. The Lions had one more chance, getting the ball at their 32 with 1:25 left, but a pass went off McDonald's hands in New York territory and right to Madison in the final minute. "That's the position we want to be in," McDonald said. "I didn't make the plays at the end." In the second and third quarters, New York kept the Lions in the game by fumbling twice inside their 30. But Kitna threw three interceptions, overshadowing the 28 passes he completed for 377 yards and a score. McDonald and Roy Williams both went over the 100-yard mark as the Lions were forced to throw because they could not run. Kevin Jones was limited to just 25 yards on 11 carries. Manning was 28-of-39 for 283 yards with a score, spreading the ball around to five receivers who made at least four catches.
Strahan, who missed all of training camp while deciding whether he wanted to play or retire, leads all active players with 140 1/2 sacks. ... Detroit S Idrees Bashir (knee) was injured on the opening kickoff and is scheduled for an MRI on Monday. ... Detroit fell to 0-3 vs. the NFC East and hosts division-leading Dallas next month.
A week after Detroit was criticized for running the ball just eight times in a loss to Arizona, offensive coordinator Mike Martz called just 11 running plays in this week’s home loss to New York. Martz ran the ball on the first four plays and the Lions gained 19 yards behind an offensive line that was firing off the ball and sustaining its blocks against the weak spots in the Giant’s front seven. Detroit quickly reverted to a pass-first philosophy, though, and the offensive line lost its aggressiveness and started blocking from its heels. That allowed New York's defense to take control of the line of scrimmage and the game as a whole.
-- Doug Kretz, Scouts Inc.
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||5.0||6.6|
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||1-3||0-0|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|
|FG||0:40||Lawrence Tynes 28 yd Field Goal|
Drive info: 10 plays, 81 yds, 5:11
|TD||0:30||Brandon Jacobs, 10 yd pass from Eli Manning (Lawrence Tynes kick is good)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 80 yds, 3:44
|FG||10:56||Jason Hanson 42 yd Field Goal|
Drive info: 8 plays, 43 yds, 3:40
|FG||2:47||Lawrence Tynes 46 yd Field Goal|
Drive info: 6 plays, 30 yds, 3:18
|FG||11:18||Lawrence Tynes 20 yd Field Goal|
Drive info: 9 plays, 53 yds, 4:50
|TD||4:41||Calvin Johnson, 35 yd pass from Jon Kitna (Jason Hanson kick is good)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 82 yds, 1:18