The New York Giants are 4-2 after defeating the Detroit Lions, 28-20, Sunday. They know, however, that it was not easy getting there.
"We came in looking to be 4-2 and we are. Give credit to Detroit - they played hard, they played well," said Giants coach Tom Coughlin. "They're on the rise, they're physical, they have a very good front."
Giants' defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who had sacks that resulted in fumbles, echoed his coach.
"They played well. They haven't won a ton of games, but we knew coming in that it was going to be a dogfight, and a struggle," Umenyiora said. "They played an outstanding ballgame, and luckily we were able to come away with the victory."
ran for 133 yards and recorded a pair of rushing touchdowns for the Giants (4-2), who have won three in a row. Antrel Rolle's last-minute interception sealed the victory.
"It was a great feeling, a great feeling. Our team was fighting all day, and we knew it was going to be a fight going into this game," Rolle said.
New York had to battle to take the victory after the Lions staged an improbable rally.
Detroit was already without injured starting quarterback Matthew Stafford, and Shaun Hill went down late in the first half with a broken left arm. But Drew Stanton came in and passed for 222 yards, including an 87-yard touchdown to Calvin Johnson.
Jason Hanson kicked his second 50-yard field goal of the game with 2:50 left, and the Lions got the ball back with 2:18 on the clock after forcing a punt. Detroit (1-5) advanced into Giants territory inside the final minute, but Stanton's long pass was picked off by Rolle as New York took the win.
Hill completed 9-of-15 passes for 91 yards and score before leaving, while Stanton connected on 19 of his 34 passing attempts. But the Lions, who got their first win of the season last week against St. Louis, did not have much of a running attack. Stanton was the team's leading rusher with 30 yards, while Jahvid Best was limited to 16 yards on 12 carries.
Detroit entered the fourth with a 21-10 deficit and faced a 3rd-and-10 at its own 13 early in the quarter. But Stanton connected with Johnson on a deep pass on the left side of the field. Cornerback Terrell Thomas got twisted around and stumbled, while safety Antrel Rolle took a shallow containment route, allowing Johnson to easily run into the end zone with 13:17 to play.
Rolle took the blame for that touchdown.
"It was two-man coverage, and I should have definitely stayed over top of Terrell coming. I thought he had an interception on that play, so I kind of concentrated on not hitting him. As a safety, I have to stay on top of that play, and I have to make that play. When in doubt, I have to go in and go for the kill shot," Rolle said. "I thoughtwas going to make that play and I eased off and came underneath."
There was a scary moment on the ensuing kickoff, when the Giants' Jason Pierre-Paul delivered a helmet-to-helmet hit on the Lions' Zack Follett. He dropped to the ground, and play was halted as players from each team took a knee.
Trainers stabilized Follett on a backboard before he was driven off the field and transported to a local hospital. The team said that Follett has feeling and movement in all his extremities and will remain in the hospital overnight.
"Any time they bring a backboard out for a player, it's a scary situation," Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said. "Our players were very concerned. I gathered them up on the sideline to let them know what we knew so far."
After a series of punts, the Lions got the ball back and started driving, reaching midfield with a little more than five minutes left. Stanton completed a pass to Nate Burleson for an apparent first down, but Deon Grant knocked the ball loose on the tackle and recovered at the Giants' 42.
Bradshaw immediately ran for 45 yards before Jacobs carried twice to get into the end zone, giving New York a 28-17 lead with 3:24 remaining.
Stefan Logan's 58-yard kick return helped to set up Hanson's field goal and the tense finish.
Detroit got on the scoreboard on their opening possession, after Lawrence Jackson recovered a fumble on the Giants' punt attempt. It allowed the Lions to start at the New York 43, and they scored when Burleson made a 14-yard catch in a small pocket between Giants defenders and the left edge of the end zone.
A 20-yard punt return by Darius Reynaud later in the quarter set the Giants up at the Detroit 40. Five plays later, Jacobs ran through the middle for a four- yard touchdown, tying the game with 1:30 remaining.
New York forged ahead in the second quarter, going on an 11-play, 93-yard drive that took nearly seven minutes off the clock. Manning tossed a deep 33- yard strike to Mario Manningham, who made the TD catch in the middle of the field with 3:14 left in the half.
Hill was injured on the Lions' ensuing drive, when he was hit at the knees after a pass attempt. Hill was initially questionable to return, but emerged from the locker room in the third quarter out of his uniform and wearing a sling on his left arm.
Stanton took over and led the Lions into Giants territory. Hanson capped the half with a 50-yarder to make it a 14-10 game.
"We got off to a slow start," Manning said. "They did a good job mixing in some new coverages, new schemes we hadn't really seen much. They were throwing a lot of guys in the box trying to stop our run game. They got good pressure early on that prevented us from sustaining some drives."
The Lions were back on New York's side of the field to start the third quarter, but Justin Tuck recovered.forced a fumbled when he sacked Stanton, and
New York went 57 yards the other way and scored on Manning's one-yard pass to Travis Beckum.
The Giants play at Dallas next Monday.
(The Sports Network contributed to this report)