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Instant Analysis: Giants fall to Lions, 31-26

AT A GLANCE: An early hole again proved to be too deep for the New York Giants to climb out of in a 31-26 loss on the road to the Detroit Lions. The fourth straight defeat dropped the Giants to 2-6 on the season.  A week after Arizona jumped out to a 17-0 lead on the Giants, Detroit was up 14-0 after the first quarter on Sunday.

UP NEXT: The Giants host the Cowboys on Monday Night Football. Dallas took the first leg of the season series with a 35-17 victory in the season opener.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE:

*Turnovers continued to be a problem for the Giants and specifically their rookie quarterback. On the second drive of the game, which was created by Janoris Jenkins’ interception (more on that below), rookie quarterback Daniel Jones tried to find running back Saquon Barkley as an outlet while under pressure from Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis. The attempt was ruled a backwards pass and therefore a fumble. Former Giants linebacker Devon Kennard recovered the ball and, with no whistle blown, ran it in from 13 yards for a touchdown. The turnover was Jones’ 12th in six starts and the Giants’ 19th overall, matching their entire 2018 total.

Jones, undaunted, went on to complete nine consecutive passes at one point, including six in a row on a 10-play, 88-yard scoring drive later in the first half. He capped it with a 22-yard touchdown to wide receiver Darius Slayton. With it, Jones extended a Giants record. Last week, he became the first Giants quarterback in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) to throw at least one touchdown pass in each of his first five NFL starts.

*The rookies were just getting started. Slayton, who again started in place of Sterling Shepard (concussion), made another terrific touchdown grab on a 28-yard pass from Jones in the second quarter.

*Jones, who also connected with Barkley and tight end Evan Engram for scores, finished with four touchdowns, the most of his young career. He became the first Giants rookie quarterback since Phil Simms to throw at least three touchdowns on the road. His 124.2 passer rating was also a personal best while his 322 yards were second behind only his NFL starting debut (336) in Tampa Bay.

*In his second game back from an ankle injury, Barkley carried the ball 19 times for 64 yards. He also caught eight passes for 79 yards, including a four-yard touchdown reception late in the game. It was his 16th game of 100+ scrimmage yards in 21 career outings. 

*The Giants allowed three sacks, including two on back-to-back plays by Trey Flowers in the fourth quarter. They gave up eight the week before against Arizona.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE:

*Cornerback Janoris Jenkins intercepted Matthew Stafford on the opening drive of the game. It was Jenkins’ fourth interception of the season, tying a career-high that he set as a rookie in 2012 with the Rams. It was also just the fourth interception thrown this season by Stafford, who last week became the fastest quarterback in NFL history to 40,000 yards.

*The Giants had given up the second-most passes of 20+ yards (30) in the NFL entering Week 8. Stafford added to that total with a 49-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Hall to make it a 14-0 lead for the Lions in the first quarter. He also delivered a 41-yard touchdown to Kenny Golladay on a flea flicker in the fourth quarter. It proved to be the clincher as it extended their lead to 12 points with 12 minutes to play.

*Jabrill Peppers gave late hope to the Giants when he forced a fumble on Golladay and fellow safety Antoine Bethea recovered it at the Lions 38 with five minutes left in the game. The Giants, however, turned it over on downs on the ensuing possession.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT SPECIAL TEAMS:

*Aldrick Rosas missed an extra point wide left following the Giants’ second touchdown.

*After Alec Ogletree made a nice tackle to force a punt on fourth-and-four, David Mayo was penalized five yards for running into punter Sam Martin late in the second quarter. Replay showed Martin fell on top of Mayo. Nonetheless, it gave the Lions a fresh set of downs, which they turned into a field goal to extend their lead to 17-13 before halftime.

INJURY REPORT: DET – DT Damon Harrison (groin).

INACTIVES: NYG – WR Sterling Shepard (concussion), CB Corey Ballentine (concussion), QB Alex Tanney, LB Devante Downs, LB Tae Davis, G Chad Slade, OT Eric Smith. DET – CB Darius Slay (hamstring), DT Mike Daniels (foot), CB Amani Oruwariye (knee), QB David Blough, G Beau Benzschawel, OL Oday Aboushi, DT Kevin Strong.

LINEUP CHANGES: NYG – Darius Slayton for Shepard at WR. DET – Rashaan Melvin for Slay at CB.

Giants vs. Lions Broadcast Info: TV channel, Radio Station and Live Stream.

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