Manning tosses two TDs as Giants beat Lions 17-6

The Sports Xchange

December 18, 2016 at 4:10 pm.

Dec 18, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) throws the ball during the first quarter against the Lions at MetLife Stadium. Photo Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 18, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) throws the ball during the first quarter against the Lions at MetLife Stadium. Photo Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Quarterback Eli Manning threw two touchdown passes in the first and fourth quarters as the New York Giants beat the Detroit Lions 17-6 at Met Life Stadium.

The Giants, who were nursing a slim 10-6 lead, got some much-needed breathing room on an 8-play, 71-yard scoring drive in the fourth quarter that saw Manning connect with receiver Odell Beckham Jr. on a key third-and-10 pass completion that went for 25 yards.

On the ensuing pass, Manning hit Sterling Shepard for a 23-yard completion to get the Giants into the red zone with a first-and-10 from the Lions 13.

Three plays later, Manning found Beckham again for a big touchdown to give the Giants a 17-6 lead.

The victory helped the Giants’ postseason chances by hanging on to finish off Detroit.

The Giants’ offense, which has been sluggish all season, got off to an impressive start on the opening drive, eating up a 75-yard, 10-play drive that ended with Manning connecting with receiver Sterling Shepard on a 6-yard touchdown pass on a corner faced.

On that drive, Manning also hit receiver Victor Cruz on a 29-yard reception — Manning’s 4,000th career completion, to get the Giants into the red zone. The Giants also got some solid running on the drive from rookie Paul Perkins, whose runs of 5 and 11 yards set up Manning’s touchdown pass to Shepard.

The Lions got field goals of 48 and 33 yards in the second and third quarters, respectively, from kicker Matt Prater. Detroit might have had more in the second quarter, but misfortune struck.

Quarterback Matt Stafford, playing with a special glove to protect his middle finger on his injured throwing hand, connected with receiver Golden Tate on a 67-yard strike, but on the next play, cornerback Leon Hall forced a fumble against Zach Zenner, the loose ball recovered for a touchback by Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon.

The Giants also had a chance to pad their lead in the game. On the drive ending with Gould’s 47-yard field goal, Manning, who completed his first 11 pass attempts before the streak was broken, found running back Shane Vereen on third-and-12.

Vereen fumbled the ball as he crossed into the end zone, the ball being recovered by Cruz. However, the score was wiped out when right tackle Bobby Hart was called for illegal hands to the face.

The Lions’ second scoring drive saw the offense convert three out of four third down attempts against the Giants defense, the drive ending in Prater’s 33-yarder to make it 10-6 in the third quarter.

Detroit, which had been the comeback king this season, tried one last attempt to get his team in a position to win, but Stafford’s pass from the Giants’ 17-yard line intended for receiver Anquan Boldin, was picked off by cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was picked in the end zone, sealing the Giants’ win.

The Lions (9-5) will visit the Dallas Cowboys next week and then finish the 2016 season at home against Green Bay. The Giants (10-4) will visit the Eagles on Thursday night and then close the 2016 campaign in Washington.

NOTES: Detroit P Sam Martin’s 63-yard punt on the Lions’ opening drive tied a season long. Punt was downed by Don Carry at the Giants 7-yard line. … Both teams lost a starting cornerback in the second quarter. Janoris Jenkins of the Giants was injured when he was hit in the back by teammate Trevin Wade. Lions CB Darius Slay injured his hamstring while in coverage on a pass play. Neither player returned to the game. … Giants backup QB Ryan Nassib was a surprise scratch before the game. Per a Giants spokesperson, Nassib’s elbow issue that landed him on the inactive list on Week 9 flared up during pregame warmups. … The Lions fell to 0-4 this year when trailing at halftime.