The Detroit Lions put the New York Giants in a deep hole early on, scoring the game's first 14 points in their 31-26 Week 8 win. The Giants fought back, just like they did against Arizona in Week 7, but once again it wasn't enough. In a game that featured very little in the form of pass defense -- almost 700 yards passing and seven passing touchdowns combined -- Matthew Stafford outdueled Daniel Jones with the help of two 40-plus-yard touchdown passes, one on a trick play and the other on a blown coverage by the Giants on third-and-15.
The Giants went 7-for-12 on third-down conversion attempts and the Lions went 8-for-14 as both defenses struggled to get off the field. The Giants are a team that continues to beat themselves with sloppy mistakes and this week the Lions took advantage of those.
This is the story of the Giants' season as they have now committed 19 turnovers in the span of eight games. On the flip side, the Lions get back over .500 with this victory to stay alive in the NFC wild card race.
Why the Lions won
The Lions were able to make the most out of the Giants' busted coverages with touchdown passes of 41 and 49 yards. The first came on a third-and-15 blown coverage by New York. The second one came on a flea flicker play call. On both plays, the Giants were completely fooled and unprepared for the Lions' play call. When you also throw in a third key mistake -- Daniel Jones throwing a pass to Saquon Barkley that was ruled a lateral, recovered and returned for a touchdown by the Lions -- it's clear to see the Giants dug themselves a hole they couldn't get out of.
Why the Giants lost
In a game that was decided by one score, all of the mistakes outlined above played a key factor in the Giants' loss. However, there's a deeper issue that keeps creeping into every New York loss: head coach Pat Shurmur. Whether it was Shurmur's questionable clock management before halftime or his first down play-calling, the second-year Giants coach showed no in-game feel. In the second half, Shurmur called five consecutive run plays on first-and-10 that led to a combined 10 yards. He consistently put his rookie quarterback in second-and-long situations, and kudos to Jones for digging out of all but one of them. As Shurmur's overall record as a head coach in the NFL continues to plummet well below .500, the pressure will build for the Giants to replaced their second consecutive coach after just two seasons.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Lions led by just five points when they called a flea flicker just a few plays after the Giants did the same thing on offense. When the Giants tried it, they gained 26 yards but it was negated by an offensive holding call on left tackle Nate Solder. That penalty derailed the Giants' drive in an uptempo and high-scoring second half. On the flip side, the Lions' play call went unpenalized and Stafford threw to a wide-open Kenny Golladay for a 41-yard touchdown. Giants safety Antoine Bethea was completely lost in coverage.
Play of the game
The Giants were inches plus an incredible individual play from Golladay away from holding the Lions to a field goal attempt in the red zone. It would have changed the complexion of the game. Giants cornerback Deandre Baker, who has been playing much better as of late, was locked in coverage on Golladay. Baker even got his hand around to try and rip the ball out, but Golladay was simply too strong.
Quote of the game
"It wasn't his fault he got f—-in' hit," Shurmur said when asked about the botched lateral pass returned for a touchdown that spotted the Lions seven points, via Pat Leonard. "I'm sorry, I apologize, that's unprofessional of me."
The frustration is starting to boil over for the Giants.
The Giants have to regroup and will get extra time to do so. They get the Dallas Cowboys at home on Monday Night Football. It will be Jones' third game at MetLife Stadium and his first against Dallas. The Lions travel to play the Oakland Raiders on the West Coast.