(ALLEN PARK) - As bad as the Lions were last week in their 38-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers, they were good in their surprising 28-10 road win over the New York Giants.
The Giants (4-2) came into the game riding a four-game win streak after a season opening loss to Philadelphia, but the Lions (4-2) turned it all around by winning the battle of the turnovers, combined with some stingy defense and the sensational play of quarterback Joey Harrington.
Harrington was 18-of-22 for 230 yards and 2 touchdowns passes with no interceptions. Coach Steve Mariucci was nearly breathless as he described Harrington's outstanding performance.
"He was in charge, he was making good decisions, he was throwing the ball in their confidently. They were blitzing us and we were protecting it."
"Sometimes it clicks and sometimes it doesn't," said Harrington on his stellar performance "It's the same answer I gave last week," he said jokingly. Harrington finished with a 144.1 passer rating.
The big difference in the Lions offense appeared to be the play of rookie Roy Williams, back in the lineup after missing the loss at Green Bay.
Harrington connected with Williams on an 18-yard slant route to give Detroit a 7-0 lead. New York answered when quarterback Kurt Warner connected with running back Tiki Barber on a screen play and Barber rambled through the Lions defense for a 71-yard score.
"Our defense was very good at tackling and made them earn every yard. They got the big long screen early in the game," said Mariucci, "but after that it was rough sledding."
The Giants led briefly on Steve Christie's 19 yard field goal. New York got a short field on the drive after a terrible 23-yard punt by Nick Harris gave them the ball at their own 35 yard line.
New York barely made a fourth-and-inches at the Detroit 10-yard line, so Giants head coach Tom Coughlin elected to boot the field goal after being stopped on third-and-one at the Lions one-yard line.
New York appeared to be ready to take a commanding 17-7 lead at halftime as they marched to the Detroit 11-yard line with :58 remaining, but Warner threw a floater intended for Amani Toomer that was intercepted by Chris Cash. That play turnout to be a pivotal one.
"That was a big play to keep them with no points [on the drive]. The field goals don't help like a touchdown does," said Mariucci.
Detroit quickly took charge on their first possesion after the intermission. Rookie running back Kevin Jones got going with runs of 28 and 20 yards before pounding it in from the New York two-yard line to put the Lions up 14-10.
"We got some good running from Kevin Jones," said Mariucci. "He played quite a bit until the end when he came out with a calf [injury]."
New York could only muster another 25-yard Christie field goal, but Harrington answered the score, the culmination of a nine-play, 70-yard drive when he connected with backup wideout Reggie Swinton for a two-yard TD pass giving Detroit a 21-13 lead.
When New York's Coughlin elected to go for it on fourth-and-four with 2:16 remaining and Warner's attempt to tight end Jeremy Shockey went incomplete, Pinner took advantage for an 11-yard TD run to finish the scoring. "Artose [Pinner] finished the game well," Mariucci stated.
"I'm just proud of these guys the way they rebounded," the coach continued. "It was a humbling week all week, that loss (to Green Bay) bothered us, but we practiced well on Thursday and Friday. I guess it's just a matter of making some plays and catching fire and getting some confidence early in the game."
Defense, Harrington sparkle in 28-13 win
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