By Paul Dottino
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Maybe the Giants could have used more preseason reps. Then again, maybe those would not have been enough, either, given the poor matchup against the Lions. It was ugly, as Detroit rolled to a 35-14 victory on Monday night.

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The Giants struggled on offense throughout the game, and although the defense was able to keep the score within reach for a while, the unit faded late in the third quarter after the Lions added to their momentum.

“We don’t have a lot to be proud of,” coach Tom Coughlin said. “It was a nightmare performance. I don’t think there’s anyone in that locker room that doesn’t realize that the bubble’s been burst.”

OK, so let’s get to our review:

GAME BALLS

Offense – TE Larry Donnell: He set career-highs with five catches for 56 yards and his first career TD. He also was involved in several poor plays. However, he reached over S Isa Abdul-Quddus in the left corner of the end zone for a 1-yard TD grab on a fourth-and-goal that brought the Giants within 14-7 with 12:54 left in the second quarter. It may have been the only time the Giants’ offense was able to make a play when it absolutely needed it.

Defense – LB Jon Beason: He missed training camp because of a foot injury but  was able to take all of his snaps despite being limited to less than a full week of practice. He finished with four tackles.

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Special Teams – P Steve Weatherford: He was nearly knocked out of the game on the final play of the first quarter. Giants LB Jameel McClain blocked Lions S Jerome Couplin into Weatherford’s lower left leg on a punt. Weatherford fought off the injury and finished the game (five punts for 40.2 avg) but was fitted for a boot afterward and said he has a sprained ankle, which requires an MRI. X-rays were negative.

GASSERS

Offense – QB Eli Manning: The game was still in the balance with Detroit holding a 14-7 lead and the Giants getting the ball to open the second half. Then Manning fell into the dangerous trap of trying to lift his team out of the quicksand, and it resulted in two interceptions. On the third snap of the quarter, the pressured passer threw a short dart too early to Donnell. The ball was low and behind Donnell, bouncing off the back of his leg. LB DeAndre Levy grabbed a pick that turned into a field goal. After another Detroit field goal, Manning scrambled left inside his own 20 and forced a bad throw to Victor Cruz. The ball was picked off by S Glover Quin, allowing the Lions to make it 27-7 after a 19-yard TD drive that left 3:51 on the clock in the third.

Defense – DE Damontre Moore: It may be unfair to go this way, but Moore’s failed sack of QB Matt Stafford on the fifth snap of the game lit a match for the Lions. Stafford stepped around the pressure and found WR Calvin Johnson, who split Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Stevie Brown (they collided) before he raced downfield for a 67-yard catch-and-run score.

Special Teams – LB Jameel McClain: He did not get penalized, nor was it intentional, but McClain (on the right side of the punter) blocked Couplin into Weatherford’s lower left leg on the last snap of the first period.

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