EAST RUTHERFORD –In a defensive struggle for most of Monday night in New Jersey, it was the Lions' defense who came up with the big plays in the fourth quarter to help secure the win.
Detroit foiled two fourth-quarter fourth-down attempts by the Giants to help preserve a 24-10 win.
In a second straight strong performance by that unit, Detroit's defense hounded Giants quarterback Eli Manning all night, allowing just 10 points and 270 total yards, while sacking him a total of five times. New York was just 4-of-12 on third down in the contest.
Rookie Jamal Agnew put an exclamation point on the victory in the fourth quarter with an 88-yard punt return to put the Lions up two scores. It was the fifth longest punt return in team history, and he became the first Lions rookie since Eddie Drummond in 2002 to return a punt for a touchdown.
The Lions had trailed in the fourth quarter in 16 of their previous 17 games, but controlled the entire second half and never trailed in this one. The win improves them to 2-0 on the season with the NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons (2-0) coming to Ford Field next week.
Matthew Stafford got the Lions on the board first with a 27-yard touchdown connection to Marvin Jones Jr. in the first quarter.
Following a weird sequence of back-to-back turnovers from each team on back-to-back plays in the second quarter, Stafford tossed his second touchdown of the game, this one to Eric Ebron, from seven yards out that gave the Lions a lead they'd never relinquish.
The Lions increased the lead to 10 right before the half on a 56-yard Matt Prater field goal that bounced off the cross bar and through.
QB Comparison: Stafford made plays with both his right arm and his legs. He completed 15-of-21 passes for just 122 yards, but threw those two scores and had no interceptions for a passer rating of 117.6. He also rushed three times for 23 yards.
Manning completed 22 of his 32 passes for 239 yards with a score and an interception. He finished with a passer rating of 87.9 as the Giants fell to 0-2 on the season.
Key stat: Ziggy Ansah recorded three sacks Monday night, which eclipsed his entire total (2.0) from an injury-plagued 2016 season. It was Ansah's first multi-sack game since Thanksgiving of 2015, when he had 3.5. It was the seventh multi-sack game of Ansah's career.
Injury report: Starting Mike linebacker Jarrad Davis left the game in the fourth quarter after taking a blow to the head making a tackle. He was evaluated for a concussion and did not return. Playing on Monday night means the Lions have a short week to Sunday. Davis' status will be monitored this week.
Running back Dwayne Washington left late in the second quarter with a quad injury. He did not return, and forced the Lions to play the rest of the way with just two healthy running backs – Abdullah and Riddick – as Zach Zenner and Tion Green were inactive.
Starting safety Tavon Wilson injured a shoulder in the third quarter and also didn't return. Miles Killebrew filled in at strong safety the second half.