4:05 PM ET, December 22, 2013
Ford Field, Detroit, MI
DETROIT -- The Detroit Lions have been eliminated from the playoff picture with another late-season collapse that might also cost coach Jim Schwartz his job.
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The Lions' meltdown in the second half of the season culminated Sunday with their elimination from playoff contention and speculation about Jim Schwartz's future, Michael Rothstein writes. Blog
But the Lions (7-8) dropped themselves out of the NFC North race by losing five of their last six games, blowing fourth-quarter leads in each setback.
"We put ourselves in a bad, bad situation," linebacker Stephen Tulloch said. "Unfortunately, we can't dig ourselves out of it now."
Schwartz's fate might have been sealed with the latest loss, his ninth straight in December or January.
"Speculation isn't my job," he said. "Coaching is enough of a job for me."
The embattled coach chose to play for overtime by running out the clock with 23 seconds and two timeouts left from the Detroit 25. When the crowd reacted with a chorus of boos, Schwartz turned his head toward the stands and angrily shouted something.
Schwartz insisted he wasn't responding to the fans.
"That's a tough situation when your players are getting booed," he said. "You want to keep them fired up and that's what I was trying to do."
Detroit needed some help to stay in postseason contention and got it when Pittsburgh won at Green Bay. The Packers' loss turned out to be moot because the lowly Lions fell to put them out of the playoffs for the 13th time in 14 years.
With nothing to lose, New York went on fourth-and-7 from the Lions 42 and Manning connected with Jerrel Jernigan on a 15-yard pass to set up the winning kick.
Schwartz didn't call a timeout that might've led to a video review that could've potentially overturned the low reception.
"I guess he made a catch," Manning said. "They called it a catch."
To avoid a potential review, the Giants quickly snapped the ball and gave tight end Bear Pascoe his first NFL rushing attempt.
"Had to make a few adjustments there," Manning recalled.
Manning was 23 of 42 for 256 yards with a TD pass to Jernigan -- his first career score -- and an NFL-high 26th interception.
Stafford threw high and wide of 6-foot-7 tight end Joseph Fauria, who had to leap just to get his hands on the errant pass.
"We have had back-to-back heartbreakers at home with games decided by field goals," said Stafford, who was also lamenting last Monday night's loss to Baltimore on Justin Tucker's 61-yard kick in the final minute.
Calvin Johnson, questionable for the game because of an injured right knee, wasn't the targeted receiver once after making three catches for 43 yards in the first half.
"His knee was bothering him, and his ankle was a problem," Schwartz said. "We were trying to use him in the red zone and on third downs, but he wasn't close to 100 percent."
Stafford's first interception and Reggie Bush's career-high fourth fumble in the first half let the offensively challenged Giants take a 13-3 lead at halftime.
Manning's 20-yard pass to Jernigan gave the Giants a 10-3 lead after Bush's fumble. Jernigan, a third-year receiver, took advantage of more playing time with Victor Cruz out after having left knee surgery Thursday. Detroit cornerback Bill Bentley was beaten by Jernigan on the play and hit by safety Louis Delmas, who gave his teammate a concussion.
Brown's season-long 52-yard field goal put New York ahead by double digits with 9 seconds left in the half. The kick came two snaps after Lions safety Don Carey got a delay-of-game penalty.
Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley sacked Manning in the end zone to pull the Lions within a point late in the third quarter.
Detroit went ahead for the first time on the ensuing possession. Rookie running back Theo Riddick ran for a 2-yard TD and Fauria caught a pass for a 2-point conversion to give the Lions a 20-13 lead.
The Lions, though, blew it -- and their chance to possibly win their first division title since 1993.
NOTES: Schwartz's skid in December and January is at least twice as long as any other active streak and is the league's longest since Herm Edwards (from 2007-08) and Jim Haslett (from 2005-08) both lost nine in a row during those months. ... Giants guard David Diehl (knee) was inactive and his replacement, rookie Brandon Mosley, left with a broken hand in the first quarter.
DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 22: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions warms up prior to the start of the game...(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||4.3||4.4|
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||1-1||2-3|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||1||0|
|FG||3:54||Josh Brown 41 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 15 plays, 69 yds, 5:42
|FG||12:41||David Akers 37 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 12 plays, 63 yds, 6:11
|TD||2:25||Jerrel Jernigan 20 Yard Pass From Eli Manning (Josh Brown Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 49 yds, 5:21
|FG||0:14||Josh Brown 52 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 5 plays, 23 yds, 0:38
|TD||9:10||Joique Bell 1 Yard Run (David Akers Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 30 yds, 4:10
|SF||1:08||Eli Manning Sacked By Nick Fairley In End Zone For -9 Yards|
Drive info: 3 plays, -12 yds, 1:27
|TD||11:53||Theo Riddick 2 Yard Run (Matthew Stafford Pass to Joseph Fauria For Two-Point Conversion )|
Drive info: 9 plays, 63 yds, 4:11
|TD||5:06||Will Hill 38 Yard Interception Return (Josh Brown Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 10 yds, 1:33
|FG||7:37||Josh Brown 45 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 11 plays, 45 yds, 5:12
Matthew Stafford was 20-of-31 for 183 yards and an interception in the first three quarters, but continued his struggles in the fourth quarter (and overtime) Sunday. Stafford finished the game 5-of-11 for 39 yards (3.5 yards per attempt) and an interception in the fourth quarter and overtime. After Week 10's win against the Bears, the Lions were 6-3 and in first place in the NFC North. The wheels have completely come off for Stafford late in games over the last six weeks of the season, and the Lions are 1-5 in that span. Sunday's results have mathematically eliminated Detroit from the playoffs.[+]
Matthew Stafford Passing by Quarter, Weeks 11-16
Lions: 3+ TO in 6 straight games (tied for longest streak by any team in a season since 2001 - 2013 Giants and 2008 Rams also did that)
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