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Breakout performance for rookie standout Eli Apple

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Rookie CB Eli Apple made a game-changing play in the secondary vs. the Lions:

Rookie cornerback Eli Apple played one of his best games of the season on Sunday in the Giants' 17-6 win over the Lions at MetLife Stadium.


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Apple tallied seven tackles, four solo, and had a pass defensed to tame the Lions' offense.

Following a back injury to Janoris Jenkins, Apple stepped up in key moments, including breaking up a critical pass play intended for Lions wide receiver Golden Tate in the end zone with 56 seconds left in the first half. The breakup forced the Lions to punt and allowed the Giants to head to the locker room with a 10-6 lead.

"It's just the next man up," Apple said. "We knew we had to execute late and had to make big plays. That's what we did."

Apple, who was flagged for a holding penalty early in the game, showed maturity as he was able to bounce back with confidence, something the defense has been able to do as a whole.

"I think everyone is stepping up and elevating their games," linebacker Jonathan Casillas said. "I think a few guys stepped up throughout the defense today."

However, there is still plenty of room for improvement.

"That penalty was big," Apple said. "There was a couple of plays that I could have made on the ball. I could have been in better position and made some better plays. There is always room for constant improvement."

Collectively, the Giants defense held the NFC North-leading Lions to just six points and was a force to be reckoned with all game.

"The defense, they hold teams to six points, we're going to win a lot of football games," coach Ben McAdoo said. "That's tough to do in this league, especially against a team like that with that many weapons. The defense played lights out today."

The ability to turn the page quickly has allowed Apple to be successful in his rookie season. Two weeks ago in Pittsburgh, Apple committed a similar penalty and then on the next play, he came up with an interception. On Sunday, he bounced back with a touchdown-saving pass breakup, which proved to be a critical play in the victory.

As the Giants head into the final two games of the season, Apple and his team know what is at stake.

"You just have to capture a groove and play your best football heading into the playoffs," Apple said. "You always have to just keep getting better."

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