EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The New York Giants avoided a disappointing loss at home to one of the NFL's worst road teams.
Eli Manning threw two touchdown passes and the Giants barely held on for a 28-20 victory that sent the error-prone Detroit Lions to an NFL record-tying 24th straight road loss Sunday.
Safety Deon Grant preserved the third straight win for the Giants (4-2) by forcing and recovering a fumble by Lions receiver Nate Burleson at the Giants 42 with about 5 minutes to go and New York ahead by four points.
Ahmad Bradshaw, who finished with 133 yards, ran for 45 yards on the first play, setting up Brandon Jacobs' second touchdown run, a 6-yarder. Jacobs also scored from 4 yards out, helping New York avoid the trap.
Manning threw touchdown passes of 33 yards to Mario Manningham and 1 yard to Travis Beckum.
Shaun Hill left late in the first half with an injured left arm. Drew Stanton came in and had an 87-yard scoring pass to Calvin Johnson in the fourth quarter for the Lions (1-5).
Neither team played particularly well, but the Lions made a couple of more costly errors, including Burleson's fumble and 11 penalties for 91 yards, including two major calls that helped New York on touchdown drives.
The Giants, who play Dallas on the road a week from Monday — hence the trap game — also had their own blunders. Punter Matt Dodge dropped a snap to set up Detroit's first touchdown and Rolle took a horrible angle on the long touchdown pass to Johnson that basically allowed the receiver to make an uncontested catch along the right sideline.
The bottom line was that the Lions' futility on the road continued. They have not on the road since Oct. 28, 2007, and this latest setback allowed them to tie their own league record for consecutive road loss (24), set in the 2001-03 seasons.
The Lions' big mistakes were the penalties. With the game tied at 7, rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was called for a hands to the face on a second-and-20 at the New York 19. The first down allowed the Giants to continue what turned into an 11-play, 93-yard drive with Jacobs scoring the go-ahead touchdown from 4 yards out with 3:14 left in the half.
Hanson closed the gap to 14-10 with his first long field goal and the Lions squandered a chance to take the lead early in the third quarter when an illegal formation nullified a 28-yard Stanton to Burleson pass to the New York 5.
Stanton was sacked on the next play by Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck recovered at the Giants 43.
Seven plays later, Manning hit Beckum on the 1-yard TD pass on third down.
The drive was kept alive when defensive end Cliff Avril took a swing at Giants tackle Kareem McKenzie after Manning missed Hakeem Nicks on a fade pattern in the corner of the end zone.
Given a first down at the 1, the Giants eventually got into the end zone for a 21-10 lead.
The long touchdown pass to Johnson got Detroit in position again and they were driving for a go-ahead score when Burleson fumbled and New York took advantage again.
The Giants got off to a horrible start when Dodge dropped the snap and then mishandled the ball again after picking it up.
The Lions took over on the Giants 43 and scored nine plays later on a 14-yard pass from Hill to Burleson.
Dodge redeemed himself on the next series, when his 56-yard punt died at the Lions 4.
New York's defense got a three-and-out and Darius Reynaud's 20-yard punt return set the Giants up at the Lions 40. Manning hit Smith on passes of 20 and 11 yards to set up Jacobs' tying 4-yard TD run.