EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Odell Beckham Jr. made another one-hand touchdown catch to delight replay fanatics, the defense turned in another stifling performance and the New York Giants inched closer to their first playoff berth since 2011 with a 17-6 win over Detroit on Sunday that snapped a five-game winning for the NFC North-leading Lions.
The win was the eighth in nine games for the Giants (10-4) and it gave them their best record through 14 games since 2008, when they opened 11-3.
The formula was the one the team has followed in Ben McAdoo’s first season: Just enough offense and a tough stingy, pass-rushing defense that has now come up with big back-to-back efforts against two division leaders in Dallas (11-2) and Detroit (9-5), giving up 13 total points.
Eli Manning (20 of 28 for 201 yards) threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard on a 75-yard opening drive and then the iced the game with a 4-yard TD pass that Beckham caught with his left hand and then pranced into the end zone for a 11-point lead with 5:20 to play.
Beckham, who had six catches for 64 yards, almost wasn’t done. He reversed field about three times on a 63-yard punt return that brought the remaining fans to their seats less than a minute later. The electrifying return was nullified by an illegal block, but was simply a thrill to watch.
The Lions, who had rallied in the fourth quarter to win eight of their nine games, never came close to a comeback in this one as the Giants made them play on a long field all day.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford didn’t show any major issues playing with an injured middle finger on his throwing hand. He finished 24 of 39 for 274 yards and an interception, finding Golden Tate eight times for 122 yards.
The biggest play between the two was a 67-yard throw that gave the Lions first-and-10 at the Giants 11, trailing 7-3. On first down, Zach Zenner fumbled at the end of a 7-yard run and Olivier Vernon recovered in the end zone.
Matt Prater accounted for the Lions’ points with field goals of 48 yards in the second quarter and 33 in the third. The second cut the deficit to 10-6 — New York had gotten a 47-yard field goal from Robbie Gould late in the second quarter.
However, the Lions never got closer as New York limited Detroit to 5 of 14 on third down and 324 yards.
WINGY: Less than a week after being named the NFC special teams player of the week, Brad Wing of the Giants had a punt partially blocked by Brandon Copeland for an 18-yard net. The Lions got the ball at their own 43, but failed to convert. Wing had two punts downed inside the 5 in the second half.
INJURIES: Detroit starting CB Darius Slay left in the second quarter after aggravating a hamstring injury. Leading rusher Theo Riddick missed his second straight game with a wrist injury.
Giants shutdown cornerback Janoris Jenkins also left in the second quarter with a back injury and did not return. Backup QB Ryan Nassib was inactive because of a recurring elbow injury. LG Justin Pugh played for the first time since injuring a knee on Nov. 6
Lions: Visit Cowboys on Dec. 26
Giants: Visit Eagles on Dec. 22.