Lions fall to New York Giants 17-6 to drop to 9-5

Golden Tate takes on his old team this weekend in the playoffs (Jamie McDonald/Getty Images photo)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Detroit Lions fell behind from the outset and never recovered as they lost 17-6 to the New York Giants in a battle of 9-4 combatants at MetLife Stadium at the Meadowlands Sports Complex on a rainy and windy Sunday afternoon.

Detroit entered the fray having won eight of its last nine contests.

On Sunday, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford played with a splinted and gloved middle finger on his throwing hand, after suffering a dislocation and torn ligaments in last Sunday’s 20-17 victory over the Chicago Bears.

The Giants took the opening kickoff, drove downfield and scored first on a 6-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Eli Manning to rookie Sterling Shepard for a 7-0 lead with 9:23 showing on the clock. That score held up until the end of the opening stanza.

Detroit closed to within 7-3 on Matt Prater’s 48-yard field goal with 14:02 left in the first half.

Stafford soon completed a 67-yard heave to Golden Tate to set up a first down at the 11-yard line. On the very next play, however, Zach Zenner fumbled into the end zone and New York recovered.

The Giants took advantage and upped the margin to 10-3 on a 47-yard field goal by Robbie Gould with exactly 5 minutes to go until intermission.

The Lions then blocked a punt but shortly thereafter had to punt themselves and New York’s 10-3 bulge stood at halftime.

Detroit closed to within 10-6 at the 7:40 juncture of the third period on a 33-yard field goal by Prater.

As has become customary, the Lions once again found themselves behind in the fourth quarter. With 5:47 remaining to play, the gap widened to 17-6 when Manning hit Odell Beckham Jr. with a 5-yard TD pass.

With time winding down, the Lions drove deep into Giant territory before Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie intercepted a Stafford toss in the end zone to set the final score.

The Lions will test their 9-5 record on Monday Night Football the day after Christmas when they journey to AT&T Stadium to meet the Dallas Cowboys.

The Giants, meanwhile, improved to 10-4 during their final home game of the regular season, entering Thursday’s trip to do battle with their NFC East Division rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles.

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