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Live blog: Stafford INT seals Lions' fate

Geoff Robinson
The Detroit News
New York Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon recovers a Zach Zenner fumble in the end zone as the Lions' Marvin Jones and the Giants' Eli Apple (24) close in during the first half.

Matthew Stafford worked a couple of big pass plays to get into Giants territory, but on a badly overthrown ball into the end zone, Stafford was intercepted by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie with two minutes remaining to preserve the 17-6 win.

It was a gamble Stafford didn't have to take, as the Lions could have just kicked the field goal to cut their deficit to a one possession game.

The Lions had quite a few opportunities to win this game, but mistakes in the red zone cost them in the end.

Stafford was 24-for-40 for 273 yards and an interception.

Golden Tate led the Lions with eight receptions for 122 yards.

Eli Manning was an efficient 20-for-28 for 201 yards and two scores, including one in the fourth quarter to Odell Beckham that gave the Giants a two possession lead.

Beckham reeled in six receptions for 64 yards and a score.

The Lions were outgained on the ground by New York, 114-56.

Lions, Giants exchange punts

The Lions went three and out, running just 27 seconds off the clock before punting the ball back to the Giants, who ran the ball three consecutive times before punting the ball back to the Lions.

Seems a little early for New York to go so conservative, just like it seems a little early for the Lions to use two timeouts with more than four minutes left on the clock.

Anyways, the Lions will get the ball back at their own 25 with 3:49 remaining, trailing 17-6.

Beckham TD grab puts Lions in a hole

Odell Beckham reached out and palmed the ball with one hand on third and one for a Giants 4-yard touchdown that gives them a 17-6 lead with 5:47 to play in the fourth quarter.

The Lions defense looked like it might get off the field on third and 10, but Eli Manning dropped a dime to Odell Beckham for 25 yards down to the Lions 36. On the next play, he hit Sterling Shepard in stride for 23 yards down to the 13.

Lions punt again

Though they weren't able to put any points on the board, the Lions were, at the very least, able to help themselves out in the battle for field position by picking up a couple of first downs.

The Lions started the drive at their own 3, but this time around, Stafford went to Anquan Boldin on third and short and completed a pass that kept the drive alive. Stafford completed another third down pass, this one to Golden Tate, to get the Lions out to their own 38.

The Giants will take over at their own 27.

Ansah puts Giants behind the chains

Ziggy Ansah notched his first sack of the year to drop Eli Manning for an 8-yard loss after the Giants took over at their own 48.

With 14:37 remaining, the Lions trail the Giants, 10-6.

The Lions were forced to punt on their previous possession after Eric Ebron came up one yard short of the sticks on third and two.

Lions D bends, but doesn't break

The Giants were able to march into Lions territory, but the defense, once again, was able to flex its muscles when threatened. Johnson Bademosi had tight coverage on a deep ball intended for Victor Cruz on third down, winning the fight and forcing a Giants punt.

Unfortunately for the Lions, this next drive starts at their own 4.

Lions open second half with field goal

Matthew Stafford and the offense were again able to get the ball deep into Giants territory, but once again, they had to settle from three points from Matt Prater, who hit from 33 yards out to cut New York's lead to 10-6 with 7:40 left to play in the third quarter.

The make was Prater's 19th consecutive made field goal.

Andre Roberts recovered the ball with his leg out of bounds to give the Lions good field position at their own 40 start the second half.

The Lions made a living on third down on this drive. Anquan Boldin fought for a ball after Stafford kept what looked to be a deal play alive near midfield. Marvin Jones made a diving catch around his defender on third down to get the Lions down to the New York 25. Eric Ebron drew a third down pass interference flag on Landon Collins that put the ball on the 12.

Lions trail at the half

After the Lions and Giants exchanged three and outs, Brandon Copeland was able to get a hand on the New York punt and set them Lions up with good field position at their own 47 with 1:53 left to play in the half.

The Lions were able to move down to the Giants 40, but an incomplete pass to Golden Tate on the sideline ended any hope of points before the half.

After a Sam Martin punt, New York wasn't in any hurry. They picked up a first down with 16 seconds left on the clock and weren't able to put anything on the board.

At the half, the Giants still lead, 10-3.

Stafford looked good in the first half, going 7-for-13 for 109 yards. It doesn't appear that his middle finger injury is having too much of an affect on his play, but the Giants coverage in the secondary certainly is.

Manning was efficient in the first half, going 14-for-16 for 127 yards and a touchdown.

Giants add three points

Robbie Gould was true from 47 yards out and the Giants now have a 10-3 lead with 5:00 left to play in the first half.

A big pass play from Eli Manning to Odell Beckham got the Giants into Lions territory, and while it looked like they were poised to drive the ball down the defense's throat, Anthony Zettel came up with a big sack on second down that forced a third and long. On the next play, Shane Vereen fumbled the ball into the end zone and the Lions had a shot to recover, but couldn't. The big gain was brought back by a Giants penalty.

Big mistake costs Lions

After the Lions defense forced a second consecutive three and out series for the Giants, the offense appeared poised to take advantage when Matthew Stafford hit Golden Tate for 64 yards down to the New York 11 on the first play of the drive.

Unfortunately, that's where the good times ended.

On the very next play, Zach Zenner appeared to have a nice gain down inside the 5, but he fumbled the ball away into the end zone and the Giants recovered.

The one good thing that Lions fans can take from this drive is that Stafford still has the ability to sling the ball down the field.

Solid drive nets field goal

The Lions moved the ball into New York territory, but Eric Ebron dropped a bullet from Matthew Stafford on third down and the Lions were forced to settle for a 48-yard Matt Prater field goal.

The score is now 7-3, Giants lead, with 14:02 to play in the second quarter.

Stafford hit his first big pass play of the day when he delivered a nice ball to Ebron for a 21-yard gain into Giants territory. The Lions ran the ball twice with no success, but they got a fresh set of downs after a holding call on the Giants. Three plays later, Stafford escaped immense pressure in the pocket and found Ebron for a sliding first down catch. New York challenged the play, but Ebron's knee appeared to be in bounds along the sidelines and the call on the field was confirmed.

All in all, Stafford looks fine. There has been no discernible difference in his throwing motion or zip on the ball, in my opinion.

Lions opening drive stalls

Dwayne Washington gained 12 yards on a first down run, but the Lions opening drive stalled after that and they were forced to punt the ball back to the Giants, who will take over at their own 7.

Matthew Stafford only threw the ball twice. Once was a quick pass to Anquan Bolding, and the second time he just threw the ball away, so it's tough to really get an early feel for how he's going to look today with that hurt middle finger.

New York marches down the field on opening drive

The Giants carved the Lions defense up on the first possession of the game, going 75 yards on 10 plays and capping the drive with a six-yard Eli Manning touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard.

It's 7-0 with 9:23 to play in the first quarter.

Manning hit Victor Cruz for a 29-yard gain down to the Detroit 22 and Paul Perkins gashed the defense for 16 yards on the ground on the next two plays to set up the score.

Rashad Jennings and the Giants offensive line established the run right away, taking two carries 12 yards on the first two plays of the game.

Lions hit New York with eyes on the prize

The Lions hit the road today to begin a brutal three-game stretch that will determine the fate of their 2016 season.

While the Lions currently sit two games ahead of the charging Packers with three left to play, they will probably find themselves as underdogs in all three of their final contests, starting with today in New York.

Matthew Stafford's finger injury will be the big question facing the Lions today. Stafford will also have to make due without his safety  net, Theo Riddick, in the backfield. Riddick will miss his second straight game with a wrist injury.

It is possible the Lions could clinch the NFC North with a win today and a Packers loss in Chicago, but their 9-4 record has fans dreaming even bigger. With a win today, the Lions would move back ahead of Seattle for the second seed in the NFC and be in the driver's seat for a bye in the playoffs.

DETROIT LIONS VS. NEW YORK GIANTS

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

TV / radio: Fox / 97.1 FM

Records: Lions 9-4, Giants 9-4

Line: Giants by 4

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