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'We have a big job': Lions' starters sloppy in lashing by Giants

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Lions' Jarrad Davis, center, is first to get to Giants running back Jonathan Stewart, with teammates Christian Jones and Nevin Lawson helping bring him in the first quarter on Friday.

Detroit — Burn the tape.

The Detroit Lions need to toss the film from Friday night’s 30-17 preseason loss to the New York Giants in the trash, douse it in gasoline, spark the match and walk away.

The Lions lost the physical battle, couldn’t move the ball with any consistency despite giving their starters three series of work, and played sloppy overall, with blown blocks, costly penalties and poor ball security.

BOX SCORE: Giants 30, Lions 17

“Overall, definitely, we have to do a better job,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said. “It starts with me. I have to do a better job coaching. We have to get these guys ready to go and we have to go, hopefully, do a better job executing out on the field.

“It’s the time of the preseason where we have to get going and we have to see some of that consistency and we have to start seeing some production. So, we have a big, big job in front of us here.”

Quarterback Matthew Stafford saw his first preseason action and was sacked as often as he completed a pass, getting dropped in the backfield twice while going 2-for-5 for 51 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. Running back Theo Riddick accounted for 42 of those yards, turning a short throw into a big gain and setting up a 44-yard field goal by Matt Prater that gave the Lions an early 3-0 lead.

The Giants didn’t bother playing their starting quarterback, Eli Manning, opting to give backup Davis Webb the reps instead. After going three-and-out with the team’s opening possession, Webb came to life on the Giants’ second series, driving the team 79 yards on 17 plays for a go-ahead touchdown.

After the Lions had a fumble recovery overturned by replay review, an illegal blindside block penalty had the Giants facing third-and-17 deep in their own territory. But Webb found wide receiver Sterling Shepard for a 24-yard gain to keep the drive alive. He did it twice more with a third-down completion to tight end Evan Engram and a successful quarterback sneak on fourth down in the red zone, before hitting Wayne Gallman for an 8-yard touchdown after the running back badly beat linebacker Jarrad Davis.

Webb completed 7 of 10 passes on the drive for 65 yards and score, and finished his night 14-for-20 for 140 yards.

The Giants extended their advantage to 10-3 when kicker Aldrick Rosas drilled a 55-yarder with 5:21 remaining in the second quarter. Prater had a chance to get the three back for the Lions, but bounced a 49-yard kick off the upright.

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Another mistake, early in second half, deepened the Lions' hole.

Wide receiver TJ Jones couldn’t handle a pass from backup quarterback Matt Cassel and the deflection was intercepted by Giants linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong. Two plays later, Giants quarterback Kyle Lauletta rolled out from play-action and juked past Lions defenders Anthony Zettel and Steve Longa for a 10-yard touchdown run.

Longa was injured on the play.

The Giants continued to pour it on in the fourth quarter.

Taking over at the Lions' 41-yard line, the Giants needed five plays to find their way back into the end zone. Two runs for 19 total yards, an 18-yard pass interference penalty against linebacker Christian Jones and an 11-yard pass from Lauletta to tight end Scott Simonson set up an 11-yard Gallman touchdown run, making it 24-3.

The Lions finally found paydirt on the ensuring series when Jake Rudock found TJ Jones for an 11-yard score. Rudock completed 6 of 8 passes on the drive for 72 yards.

What little momentum the score provided was quickly wiped out when the Giants went 78 yards in seven plays, scoring on the ground for a third time when undrafted rookie Robert Martin bounced his carry outside for a 16-yard touchdown.

Detroit managed to bumble its way to a garbage-time touchdown against New York’s third-string defense in the game’s closing seconds, taking four attempts from the 1-yard line to get across the goal line on Rudock’s sneak.

Patricia found little to be encouraged about in the game.

“I’d say for me right now, I’m going to be not overly pleased with anything at the current moment,” he said. “So, maybe in a couple days here when you ask that question I’ll find something out of the tape that we can go there with. But right now, again, it starts with me. We have to coach better, I have to coach better, and we have to do a better job getting these guys ready to go.”

The Lions will look to get on track on Friday night at Tampa Bay. It will be the team’s third preseason game, which is often considered a dress rehearsal for the regular season.